Lilly Ritz scores career-high 31 points, OU embarrassed by Youngstown State in blowout loss


The Oakland women’s basketball team kicked off a two-game road trip with a game against the 10-4 Youngstown State Penguins. Unfortunately for Oakland, YSU’s Lilly Ritz had a career-high 31 points as she led her team to an 85-62 blowout victory over the Golden Grizzlies.

Oakland never led in this contest, and a poor defensive showing in the first quarter gave the Golden Grizzlies a steep hill to climb for the remainder of the game.

Ritz got the scoring started early for the Penguins. She scored the first bucket of the game on a fastbreak layup.

Oakland seemed to be the inferior team throughout much of the first quarter, but with 1:30 to play in the game’s opening quarter, the Golden Grizzlies found themselves down by only five points, 19-14.

However, Youngstown State scored eight points in the final minute and a half to extend its lead from five points to 13 after 10 minutes of play.

Coach Jeff Tungate’s team was able to soften the blow in the second quarter, but the Golden Grizzlies were unable to make up any ground. The two teams traded buckets for the entirety of the second quarter.

The Youngstown State lead never grew to more than 15 points, but Oakland wasn’t able to trim the deficit to single digits.

Miriam Ibezim committed a foul with almost no time left in the first half, and Paige Shy made both free throws to give the Penguins a 14-point lead going into halftime.

Youngstown State began to stretch its lead in the third quarter, thanks to Ritz’s outstanding performance. The fifth-year senior scored 10 of her 31 points in the third quarter, and the Penguins’ lead grew to 20 points by the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Oakland struggled to make up any ground in the fourth quarter, and the Golden Grizzlies lost, 85-62. The 23-point loss was one of the worst margins of defeat of the season for Oakland.

Earlier this season, the Golden Grizzlies lost by 46 to Michigan State, 30 to Toledo, 29 to Illinois and 23 to Cleveland State.

Oakland now holds a 11-13 overall record and a 6-9 record in the conference. The 6-9 Horizon League record currently has Oakland in the eighth spot of the conference standings. 

It’s been a rough season for the Golden Grizzlies so far, but not all hope should be lost just yet. Three of Oakland’s five remaining regular-season games are against teams below it in the standings.

Robert Morris, Detroit Mercy and Wright State all remain on Oakland’s schedule. The three aforementioned teams currently combine for just eight conference wins all season, so the Golden Grizzlies may be able to catch fire and gain some momentum heading into the conference tournament. 

Oakland’s other two remaining games are against IUPUI and Northern Kentucky. The Golden Grizzlies lost to IUPUI on the road in January, but there could be a different outcome when the teams meet at the O’rena. 

Tungate’s team also bested Northern Kentucky once already this season, so it’s safe to say there are some very winnable games for Oakland down the home stretch of the regular season.