RECAP: Colonials fall to YSU, snapping three-game winning streak

Sol+Castro+recorded+a+double-double%2C+but+the+Colonials+fell+to+YSU+on+Saturday.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

Sol Castro recorded a double-double, but the Colonials fell to YSU on Saturday. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Austin Bechtold, Assistant Sports Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP– After an impressive 61-46 victory, Robert Morris fell short in the second half after taking an 11 point lead into halftime, falling to Youngstown State 71-64.

RMU (3-9, 3-9 Horizon) looked focused from the opening tip, continuing the momentum they carried on the floor in Friday night’s win over the Penguins (6-4, 6-4).

The Colonials kept up consistent pressure early on in the first quarter. The team played a similar pace as Friday, up 9-6 with 4:52 to go in the quarter at the first media timeout.

Esther Castedo started strong with six early points for the Colonials, increasing the Robert Morris lead to 17-13 after 10 minutes of action.

Youngstown State, however, stayed with RMU for most of the first half, limiting the Penguins to only 39.3-percent shooting from the floor.

Robert Morris called time with 4:56 to play in the second quarter and RMU clinging to a 29-25 lead. The Colonials once again looked inside to find driving lanes but settled for a fair amount of jump shots.

A Natalie Villaflor steal propelled Robert Morris to a 42-31 advantage at the half. Sol Castro led all RMU scorers with eight points, while Sydney Palermo and Nina Augustin both had seven apiece after the first 20 minutes of action.

RMU shot 54.5-percent from the field and relied on their bench for solid offensive production, outscoring YSU 14-5. The Colonials were outrebounded by a noticeable 20-12 margin at the break and 7-2 on the offensive glass.

Chelsea Olson recorded a team-high nine points, with physical forward Mary Dunn contributing eight.

With the second half of play underway, Robert Morris quickly started to lose the momentum and pace they dictated for most of the first half. Physicality was a major factor in the contest, especially in the third quarter, as Sol Castro and a few others hit the floor hard halfway through the third.

Head coach Charlie Buscaglia said his team needed to keep the same intensity as Friday’s game.

“It was kind of a double-edged sword,” Buscaglia said. “We had a nice run there to end the half, but we didn’t carry over what we talked about in the locker room out onto the court. Sometimes as much as it’s fun to watch scoring and fun to watch up-tempo… we needed to be hungry like we were yesterday in the second half on the defensive end, and that didn’t happen.”

The Colonials went ice cold from the floor, shooting 27.8-percent from the floor and only 1-6 from downtown.

RMU started to lose all of their momentum in the third quarter as the Penguins took a 56-53 lead into the final 10 minutes of regulation.

Youngstown State pulled away in the fourth as Dunn took over down low and looked unstoppable in the post on numerous occasions.

“We definitely did a better job yesterday,” Buscaglia said. “Today she did a nice job of scoring in the post. She’s a redshirt senior and has a lot of experience out there. When you have that experience and that extra year, she’s played a lot of minutes and she definitely looked like a veteran today.”

The Colonials never found a way to fight back and mount a significant change offensively as the team shot a dreadful 25-percent in the second half, falling to YSU 71-64.

Buscaglia said that Youngstown state set the tone out of the locker room and into the fourth quarter, thus taking control of the game.

For the game, both teams shot an even 40 percent from the field but the Penguins crushed the Colonials on the boards, outrebounding Robert Morris 44-27 and taking advantage of numerous missed shots.

Despite only six second-half turnovers and seven total, RMU looked like an entirely different team late in the game as the defense could not hold Dunn in check.

Dunn finished with a game-high 25 points. Olson and Nneka Obiazor were also in double figures, scoring 18 and 15 points, respectively.

Castedo led Robert Morris with 15 points. Buscaglia spoke on how his players played a decent game, but not one that could amount to a victory in the second half.

“[Castedo] played hard in spurts and on the defensive end as a team and a unit we needed to be better,” Buscaglia said. “She did some good things out there and so did some of the other players on our team. It wasn’t a total negative effort out there.”

Castro posted a team-leading 12 rebounds, posting her third double-double of the year. Nina Augustin chipped in 12 points as well.

Robert Morris will return to the hardwood on for another two-game set on Friday, February 2 at Oakland with tip-off scheduled for 3 p.m. and Saturday’s contest starting at 1 p.m.