The Youngstown State women's basketball continued its run of strong performances at home this year with a solid 69-51 win over Bucknell on Saturday afternoon at the Beeghly Center.
Brandi Brown led the Penguins with 20 points while Shar'Rae Davis had 15 and Karen Flagg had a career-best 12. The win improves YSU to 9-3 on the season while Bucknell drops to 7-5. The Guins improve to a perfect 5-0 at home this season.
In the second half, YSU shot 51.9 percent making 14-of-27 shots and connecting on 12-of-18 from inside the 3-point arc. YSU scored 38 points in the paint in the contest, including 24 in the second half. The Guins also scored 20 points off 19 Bison turnovers in the contest.
After scoring the first five points of the second half to build on an eight-point lead, YSU only allowed the Bison to cut the deficit under double digits once - 39-30 at the 14:41 mark. However, Monica Touvelle's 100th 3-pointer of her career gave Guins a 42-30 lead and YSU never looked back.
The lead reached 16 points, 52-36, for the first time at the 9:23 mark. Bucknell tried to make things interesting creeping within 58-47, but a nifty feed from Flagg found Davis under the hoop for the layup and a foul to push the lead back up to 14 at the 6:01 mark.
For the game, YSU shot 47.3 percent making 26-of-55 shots while the Bison finished at 38.6 percent (17-of-44).
Youngstown State bolted out of the gate by connecting on its first four field-goal attempts as Brown, Davis and Flagg hit consecutive 3-pointers to open the contest. Just 3:03 into the game, Flagg's second 3-pointer of the afternoon gave the Guins a 14-3 advantage.
Bucknell recovered and battled back to go ahead 20-19 at the 7:22 mark on a Audrey Dotson layup. On the ensuing possession, YSU hit the offensive glass hard and on its third attempt Schlegel converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to go in front 22-20.
Following Heidi Schlegel's basket, the Penguins scored seven of the next nine points to push their advantage to 29-22 when Davis canned another three with 3:25 left.
Bucknell cut the deficit to 29-24 just 24 seconds later, but it did not score the remainder of the half coming up empty on five possessions. Davis added another bucket and a Touvelle free throw with 30 seconds left gae the Penguins a 32-24 advantage at halftime.
In the opening half, YSU shot 42.9 percent making 12-of-28 shots from the field, five of which were 3-pointers. The Bison made 10-of-25 attempts (40 perecent), but outrebounded YSU 22-13. YSU had only two turnovers while Bucknell had eight giveaways.
The Penguins conclude non-league play on Friday, Jan. 4 when they visit VCU. Tipoff against the Rams in Richmond, Va., is set for 7 p.m.