Olson, Obiazor Lead Penguins to 72-57 Win Over Oakland

Chelsea Olson (photo by Robert Hayes)
Chelsea Olson (photo by Robert Hayes)

Chelsea Olson and Nneka Obiazor combined for 46 points, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team beat Oakland 72-57 on Saturday evening at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins earned their first victory of the season and split the two-game weekend series with the Golden Grizzlies. The win snapped a seven-game skid that included the final four games of 2019-20 and the first three contests of this COVID-19-affected start to 2020-21.

Olson scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, and Obiazor set new career highs with 22 points and 11 rebounds. McKenah Peters added nine points and nine rebounds, and Mary Dunn scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting.

The Penguins led 31-30 at halftime and outscored the Golden Grizzlies 41-27 in the second half. Youngstown State shot 51.7 percent overall and went 5-for-11 from beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes. Defensively, YSU held Oakland to 35.1 percent from the field for the game and limited leading scorer Kahlaijah Dean to six points.

Youngstown State missed its first seven field-goal attempts of the first quarter and its first eight of the second quarter and still shot 47.5 percent for the game. The Penguins also trimmed their turnovers down to 13 from 22 in Friday's loss, and YSU had a 40-26 scoring edge in the paint.

After its slow start to the game, the Penguins made nine of their last 11 attempts of the first quarter. Obiazor's putback at the 7:05 mark put the Penguins on the board for the first time, and Oakland had just three points at the time. Breanne Beatty's 3-pointer on the next possession gave the Golden Grizzlies a 6-2 advantage, but the Penguins controlled the rest of the quarter. The Penguins scored 10 straight points as part of a 16-2 run to take an 18-8 lead with 1:20 left in the quarter. Olson had seven points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal during the run.

The Penguins' field-goal drought to start the second period allowed Oakland to score nine straight points as part of an overall 14-4 spurt that put the Golden Grizzlies ahead 25-24. Following a 3-pointer by Beatty that gave Oakland the lead, Olson's three-point play started a 7-2 run that helped the Penguins regain the lead at 31-27. YSU led 31-30 at halftime, and it held the upper hand the entire second half.

The margin ranged between one and six points over the first four-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter before the Penguins started to pull away. After Sydney Gouard's 3-pointer at the 5:37 mark made the score 41-37, Malia Magestro countered with a 3 to spark an 8-2 run that got the Penguins back up by double digits at 49-39. The lead reached a dozen at the end of the quarter at 55-43, and YSU led by at least 12 the entire fourth period.

YSU's lead grew to as high as 20 at 71-51 when Olson made a free throw with 2:40 remaining in the fourth.

Youngstown State will play its first road contests of the season next weekend at UIC. The Penguins and Flames will play on Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern and on Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern. Both contests will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO and ESPN+.