Women's Basketball Starts New Streak, Rallies from 18 Down to Beat Ohio, 60-52

Tieara Jones
Tieara Jones

Youngstown -- The Youngstown State women's basketball team outscored Ohio 41-18 in the second half and overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat the Bobcats 60-52 on Saturday evening at Beeghly Center.

YSU shot 53.8 percent in the final 20 minutes and held Ohio to 23.3 percent. Tieara Jones scored all 14 of her points in the second while posting five rebounds and three blocks in the second half. Brandi Brown scored a game-high 17 points to go along with two blocks and two assists.

The Penguins, who had lost 34 consecutive contests before beating Bucknell on Wednesday, have now won back-to-back games for the first time since March 8 and March 10 in the 2007-08 season.

YSU improves to 2-3 overall while Ohio drops to 2-2. The Bobcats had defeated Memphis and Marshall heading into Saturday's game.

The game was a complete tale of two halves. In the first half, Ohio outscored the Penguins 34-19, outshot them 40.6 percent to 30.4 percent, forced 13 turnovers and outscored them 14-4 in the paint, 23-0 off turnovers and 7-0 in second-chance points.

In the second half, YSU outscored the Bobcats 41-18, outshot them 53.8 percent to 23.8 percent, committed just six turnovers and held scoring margins of 22-6 in the paint, 10-5 off turnovers and 7-4 in second-chance points.

The Bobcats led 34-16 with 1:27 left in the first half and seemed in control of cruising to a victory. Kenya Middlebrooks had an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:08 remaining to cut the deficit to 15, and the Penguins forced two Bobcats turnovers in the final minute to build some momentum heading into the locker room.

YSU then opened the second half by scoring 10 out of the first 11 points and trailed just 35-29 following a Maryum Jenkins lay-up at the 15:38 mark. The Bobcats did not have a field goal until there was 13:25 left in the period.

The margin shifted between 10 and six points until Heidi Schlegel's jumper made the score 45-40 with 8:37 left. Two Jones free throws cut the deficit to 48-44 with 7:35 left, but an Ashley Fowler triple upped the margin back to seven at 51-44 for Ohio with 6:33 remaining. That was Ohio's last field goal, and the Bobcats managed just one more point the rest of the way.

After three points from Brown, and two blocks and two points from Jones, the Penguins trimmed the margin to 51-49 with 2:48 left. Brown made two free throws to tie the score at the 1:25 mark, and her long pass off a rebound set up Macey Nortey for a break-away lay-up that gave the Penguins their first lead since there was 13:11 left in the first half.

Symone Lyles missed a 3-point attempt for Ohio on its next possession, and Nortey hit two free throws with 21 seconds left to up the margin to five. Bojana Dimitrov hit a free throw with 10 seconds left following another Ohio miss, and she beat the buzzer with a fast-break lay-up for the final margin.

Jones was 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line in the second half.

Ohio scored 23 points off of Youngstown State's 13 turnovers in the first half. YSU had just six turnovers in the final 20 minutes, and Ohio scored five points off of them.

Nortey's jumper gave the Penguins a 6-2 lead with 15:06 remaining in the first half, but that was their last bucket for more than four minutes. YSU still led 8-5 after two Schlegel free throws at the 14:12 mark, but Ohio scored 11 straight points to go up 16-8 with 11:39 remaining.

A Middlebrooks triple cut YSU's deficit to seven at 21-14, but Ohio scored eight straight points to go up 29-14 with 2:35 left on a Lyles fast-break bucket. The Bobcats led by as many as 18 in the period before Middlebrooks scored the final three points with 1:09 left on a bucket and free throw.

YSU did not score from 7:51 to 2:11 as the Bobcats started to distance themselves in the opening period.

Ohio dominated the boards early before YSU shrunk the margin to 19-15 before halftime. The Bobcats had eight offensive rebounds in the first 13 minutes, which kept YSU from building any rhythm offensively.

Youngstown State will play at Kent State on Wednesday at 7 p.m.