Welch hits milestone while leading WSU women to win

Chelsea Welch scored 23 points, including the 1,000th of her Wright State career, to help the Raiders beat Youngstown State for their fifth consecutive win Monday afternoon at the Nutter Center.

Welch came into the game needing one point for the milestone, and she got it on a free throw in the first quarter of a 73-50 triumph of Youngstown State.

“I didn’t even know until someone mentioned me in a tweet before the game and said I was one point away,” said Welch, who made 7 of 18 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 from the free throw line to lead four WSU players in double figures.

“When it comes to personal accolades and stuff like that, I try not to pay attention,” Welch added. “If it happens, it happens.”

Emily Vogelpohl added 13 points to go along with game highs in rebounds (12) and assists (four), while Lexi Smith also recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Symone Simmons added 10 points as WSU improved to 14-4 overall and 5-1 in the Horizon League.

The game came less than 48 hours after the Raiders went to overtime in a 68-63 win Saturday at Northern Kentucky, but they sized control early against YSU (6-12, 2-5) and continued to build onto the lead.

“Those (quick turnarounds) were much tougher a year ago when we didn’t have the bench that we have,” WSU coach Katrina Merriweather said. “But 12 points and seven rebounds out of them and being able to put them in here and there throughout the game really, really makes a difference.”

Merriweather had to go to bench even earlier than expected when starting guard MacKenzie Taylor went down after a collision with teammate Dasia Evans as the two were going after a rebound with 9:25 left in the second quarter.

But after trainers looked at her ankle on the court and worked on it in the locker room, Taylor was back on the bench by the 5:03 mark. And she checked into the game with 3:42 left before halftime.

“She’s got some loose ligaments in her ankle, and she’s hurt it a few times,” Merriweather said. “She tweaks it and then she usually gets back up. She’s pretty tough.”

Taylor (696 career points) and Vogelpohl (899) could be joining Welch in the WSU 1,000-point club later this year.

Welch became the 21st player in program history to score 1,000 points for the Raiders and moved into 19th place at 1,022. She trails No. 18 Jeanne Biermann by 17 points.

Welch, a Fairmont High grad who scored 259 points in two seasons at Pittsburgh before transferring to WSU, topped 1,000 career points earlier this season and now has 1,281.

The Raiders return to action Friday at the Nutter Center against last place UIC before playing host to first-place IUPUI on Saturday.

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