Saturday, November 24, 2007

Youngstown State Edges UAlbany, 54-52, In LIU Turkey Classic Third-Place Game

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Heather Karner scored 17 points to lead Youngstown State to a 54-52 win over UAlbany in third-place game at the Courtyard by Marriott LaGuardia Turkey Classic on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Long Island University’s Wellness Center.

Youngstown State (1-3) built a 49-41 lead with 3:19 to play with four consecutive foul shots and layup by Pendleton, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Penguins still led by eight with just over two minutes to play, when the Great Danes responded. Gia Sanders converted an offensive rebound followed with a steal that resulted in a TaNika Thrower basket to cut the deficit to 51-48 with 1:51 on the clock.

UAlbany’s Kristin Higy made a pair of free throws that closed the gap to 54-52 with 36 seconds to play. The Penguins then worked the shot clock, before Kelsey Gurganus failed to convert on a drive into the lane with eight seconds left. Higy grabbed the defensive board and UAlbany called timeout to set up an in-bounds play. But Sherri Mikus’ pass was tipped by a YSU defender and Thrower, who corralled the loose ball, was forced to launch a 25-footer that missed the mark at the buzzer.

"We are right in these games,” said Great Danes head coach Trina Patterson, whose team dropped a 61-54 decision to Holy Cross in Friday’s first round game. “They are heartbreakers, but we are in there every time and it’s just a matter of time before we break through."

Charity Iromuanya made two free throws to open the second half to give UAlbany a 29-22 margin, but YSU would cut the lead to three with 16:40 to play on a Jessica Schloemp jumper. UAlbany’s Mikus and YSU’s Nikita LaFleur exchanged a pair of jumpers to give the Great Danes a 35-31 edge with 13:04 to play.

Thrower added her fourth layup of the game to give UAlbany a 37-31 lead that they would watch dissipate over the next two minutes. Karner hit back-to-back three-pointers to knot the score at 37-all with 9:56 left. Britney McGee hit a layup to put the Great Danes up 39-37, but the Penguins made four consecutive free throws and Pendleton knocked down a jumper to give YSU a 43-39 advantage.

UAlbany took a 4-0 lead in the early minutes of the first half on a pair of made jumpers by Higy and Thrower, but YSU responded with a made trey by Karner. The two teams exchanged buckets over the next eight minutes and were all knotted at 12 apiece with 8:37 to play. Iromuanya, who had eight points off the bench, hit a pair of free throws and then a jumper to spark a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to give the Great Danes a 25-14 advantage.

UAlbany was held without a basket over the next two minutes, while the Penguins went on a 7-0 run of its own that ended with a Karner 3-point basket that cut the deficit to 25-21. Iromuanya sunk two more free-throws with 1:02 to play in the first half to extend the Great Dane lead, but Ashley Pendleton hit the back-side of a pair of free throws for the Penguins to give UAlbany a 27-22 lead heading into the intermission.

Thrower and Higy each scored 10 points for the Great Danes, who fall to 1-5 on the season. Higy, Mikus and Sanders each had a team-high six rebounds. UAlbany shot 31 percent from the field on 18-of-58 from the field.

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