Women’s basketball stuns first place Youngstown State


Anna Drumm

Breanne Beatty goes for a layup against Youngstown State.

Brock Heilig, Sports Editor

The Oakland women’s basketball team knocked off the league-leading Youngstown State Penguins on Sunday afternoon in a 56-52 thriller.

The Grizzlies jumped out to an early 11-2 lead as Kendall Folley and Kayla Luchenbach each notched four points in the opening minutes, with Breanne Beatty adding three as well. The Penguins fought back quickly, however, and came within three before a media timeout.

Scoring halted for both teams in the following minutes, but Oakland continued to hold off Youngstown State. A Breanna Perry last-second jump shot extended the Grizzlies’ lead to five at the end of the first quarter.

Turnovers plagued both teams in the second quarter, and the Penguins came within two — however, big shots by Beatty and Brianna Breedy extended the Grizzlies’ lead to seven just before the media timeout.

The Penguins clawed their way back to tie the game at 23 with just over a minute to play in the half. Youngstown State continued to find its groove, finishing the half with a slim 27-26 lead over Oakland. The Grizzlies finished the half with seven players in the scoring column, highlighted by Folley [7] and Beatty [6].

Both teams struggled mightily from behind the arc in the first half. The Grizzlies connected on just 2-10 from deep, and the Penguins were an abysmal 3-16.  

Scoring slowed down once again to start the second half, with both teams combining to score just six points in the first five minutes of the third quarter. The Penguins boasted a 31-28 lead over the Grizzlies at the third quarter media timeout.

In the ensuing minutes, Youngstown State began to extend its lead. The Penguins strung together many successful possessions, as they quickly found themselves leading the Grizzlies by 10 with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter.

The Grizzlies were unable to do much on the offensive end, and they suffered the consequences as the Penguins continued to make shot after shot. Sydney Gouard and Breedy connected on crucial shots to trim the Penguin lead to six at the end of the third quarter. 

Oakland stepped up on the defensive end of the floor in the fourth quarter, holding the Penguins to just two points in the first five minutes of the final quarter. 

Led by five straight points by Breedy to open the quarter — along with clutch baskets by Beatty, Kahlaijah Dean and C’Erra Maholmes — the Grizzlies found themselves up by four with just three minutes to play.

Youngstown State would not go away, however.  The league-leading Penguins clawed their way back to take a one point lead with 1:45 left to play.

Dean hit three free throws with 1:26 remaining to give the Grizzlies a two point lead that they would not give up. Clutch free throw shooting sealed the game for the Grizzlies, who gave the Penguins their third loss of the season.

Breedy led the way for the Grizzlies with 14 points off the bench, and Beatty tallied 11 of her own. Dean added 10 to help Oakland claim the victory.

With the win, the Grizzlies improve to 10-9 overall, and 8-4 in the Horizon League. Oakland — now fifth place in the Horizon League — trails Cleveland State and Northern Kentucky by half a game in the league standings.

After a tough loss to Robert Morris earlier in the week, Oakland is now 1-1 in the first half of its four game road trip. The team will now look ahead to IUPUI on Friday, Feb. 4, and UIC on Sunday, Feb. 6.