Women’s basketball squeaks past Penguins in overtime

By Jake Allen, Sports Editor

The University of Akron women’s basketball team beat the Youngstown State Penguins on Tuesday night, 76-74 in overtime, at the Beeghly Center in Youngstown. Akron improved its record to 4-2 on the season while the Penguins fell to 3-5.

Senior guard Alex Ricketts led the Zips with 20 points off 5-13 shooting. Ricketts also grabbed 10 rebounds and made eight of 10 free throws. She also played excellent defense, recording two steals and one block. Fellow senior guard added 18 points and 11 points, as both players recorded double-doubles. Plybon also dished out three assists and had one steal in 39 minutes.

Also for Akron, Shaunay Edmonds scored 12 points with five steals and two assists. Guard Megan Sefcik also scored 12 points with one 3-pointer on two attempts. Forward Alli Ball added five points and six rebounds and Greta Burry and Brittany Gordon each scored three points.

Indiya Benjamin led the Penguins with 21 points in only 21 minutes after she fouled out of the game. Mary Dunn scored 19 points and had five rebounds, two steals, and one block. Finally, Alison Smolinski scored eight points off the bench in 35 minutes.

This game was close from start to finish. The Penguins led 21-14 after one quarter after finishing on a 6-2 run. Benjamin recorded 10 of her points in the second quarter. The Zips fought back hard in the second quarter, as a Sefcik trey tied the game with 31 seconds remaining, but Youngstown’s Kelley Wright’s jumper gave the Penguins a 31-29 lead going into halftime.

Akron would lead by as many as five points in the third quarter, but Youngstown once again fought back to take a one-point lead going into the final frame, 47-46. Each team battled back-and-forth in the fourth quarter, until Benjamin fouled out with 2:45 left in regulation, with the Penguins holding a three-point lead.

After one Edmonds free throw, Ricketts made two huge foul shots with 1:25 left to tie the game. Neither team could score after that, and the game went to overtime.

Each team made one basket in the first minute, and the Penguins’ Dunn made a jumper in the second minute. Then, the Zips got a huge 3-pointer from Ricketts, and on the next possession Edmonds made the biggest play of the game, as she made a jumper and got fouled, then made the free throw. This gave the Zips a four-point lead.

Youngstown State could never tie the game or take the lead, and a Smolinski triple made the score 76-74 in favor of the Zips.

The Zips picked up the win despite shooting an uncharacteristic 26.3 percent from 3-point range. However, the Zips did better from the foul line (73 percent) and only committed 15 turnovers. There were 11 ties and eight lead changes in the game.

The 4-2 Zips will now turn their attention to Eastern Kentucky University, which is whom they will play on Saturday. Tipoff against the 2-5 Colonels is set for 2 p.m. in Richmond, Kentucky.