Gritty All-Around Effort Helps Penguins Zip By Akron 80-71

YSU vs. Akron
YSU vs. Akron

Senior forward Brandi Brown scored a game-high 25 points and freshman guard Shar'Rae Davis added 17 as the Youngstown State women's basketball team knocked off Akron 80-71 in a spirited contest on Thursday night at the Beeghly Center.

The victory improves the Penguins to 8-3 on the season and is their second straight win over the Zips, who fall to 8-4 on the campaign.

Brown had 25 points and 15 rebounds in the game and in the process grabbed the 1,000th rebound of her YSU career. With her 25 points, Brown moved into fourth in school history in career scoring ahead of Ann Marie Martin. She joins Wanda Grant and Dorothy Bowers as the only Penguins to eclipse the 1,000-rebound mark in a career. She is also just the third player in HL history to score 1,600 points while grabbing 1,000 rebounds.

Neither team was willing to back down, but the Penguins never trailed after the 11:22 mark of the first half despite Zips' best effort.

YSU held a six-point halftime lead before the Zips closed within 43-42 just 4:44 into the second half. But the Penguins didn't crack scoring the next seven points to grab a 50-42 lead on a layup by Heidi Schlegel.

Momentum went back to the Zips as they scored seven straight pulling within 51-49 on Carly Young's 3-pointer at the 12:23 mark. Melissa Thompson answered with a 3-pointer, but the Zips answered with a layup by Hanna Luburgh to make the contest 54-51.

The Penguins scored the next six points building a 60-51 lead following two Brown baskets and two Schlegel free throws. The Zips scored three straight to get within six at 60-54, but that was as close as they were the rest of the night.

YSU scored the next seven points extending the lead to 67-54 in a span of 2:25 and never looked back. The Penguins led by as many as 14, 73-59 with 4:41 left, while the Zips pulled within seven with 1:17 remaining at 74-67.

For the game, YSU shot 41.9 percent making 26-of-62 shots while the Zips connected on 49.1 percent (27-of-55). The Penguins made 17 free throws to Akron's seven and forced the Zips into 22 turnovers.

Davis was 6-of-8 from the field and knocked down a career-best three 3-pointers. She also had six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Brown was 8-of-16 from the field and 7-of-11 from the free-throw line. She finished with half of the Guins' 30 rebounds. Schlegel added 12 points and five rebounds. Luburgh had to lead Akron.

YSU is now 4-0 at home this season and has scored 80-plus points in each of its last two contests.

Trailing 17-15, the Penguins scored eight consecutive points to go ahead 23-17. Brown converted an and-one situation, Schlegel made two free throws and Brown connected on a 3-pointer in span of 1:15.

Akron closed to within four on two occasions after the that, trailing just 25-21 with 7:45 left in the half. YSU went on another run scoring seven consecutive points. Davis scored all seven points of the run. The first two buckets came on layups before the third came from behind the 3-point line at the 6:27 mark giving the Penguins a 32-21 cushion.

YSU's biggest lead of the half was 38-26 on another 3-pointer by Davis with 1:53 left before the Zips closed on a 6-0 run following triples by Luburgh and Young to make the score 38-32 at the break.

The Guins made 14-of-34 shots (41.2 percent) while Akron converted 12-of-27 attempts (44.4 percent). The Penguins forced the Zips into 13 turnovers while committing just six. Brown had 13 points and seven rebounds while Davis had 12 in the opening frame.

YSU returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 29 when it plays host to Bucknell at the Beeghly Center. Tipoff is set for 4:35 p.m. following the men's contest against Marygrove. Both games can be heard on 570 WKBN and will be carried on the Horizon League Network.