Brown Pours in 31 Points As Penguins Advance With 69-62 Win
Brandi Brown returned from an ankle injury to score 31 points and help lead the Youngstown State women's basketball team to a 69-62 win over Cleveland State in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday night at the Beeghly Center.
With the victory, YSU (22-8) advances to the semifinals for the first time since joining the league in 2000-01. The Penguins will play against third-seeded Loyola on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time in Green Bay, Wis. Cleveland State ends the year at 13-17.
The Penguins built a 62-46 lead late in the contest before the Vikings went on a frantic 14-2 run to over the next 3:22 to make things tense. After Shar'Rae Davis split a pair of free throws, the Vikings were able to get within 65-62 on a putback by Haley Schmitt with 18.2 seconds left.
From that point, the Guins converted four straight free throws while the Vikings missed a jumper and had a turnover. YSU ended the contest making 16-of-21 attempts from the free-throw line - all of which came in the second half. YSU did not make a field goal the final 4:17.
For the game, Brown was 11-of-23 from the field, 4-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc and went 5-of-8 from the free-throw line. She finished with 13 rebounds for her 21st double-double of the campaign.
The second-seeded Penguins could not shake the seventh-seed Vikings until the nine-minute mark of the second half.
Leading 48-43 with 8:36 remaining, the Guins poured in 10 consecutive points to go on top 58-43 with 5:21 left. Davis capped the run with a nifty three-point play following a sweet pass from Melissa Thompson.
YSU was able to push the advantage out to 16 points at 3:47 before the Vikings couldn't miss. CSU struggled the entire second half before finding its shooting touch the last four minutes.
Davis scored 18 points and dished out eight assists for the Guins. She was 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. YSU shot 39.3 percent (24-of-61) from the field while Cleveland State finished shooting 37.5 percent. The Vikings made 11-of-39 shots in the second half (28.2 percent) and committed 22 turnovers in the contest. Karen Flagg also returned to the lineup for the Penguins scoring eight key points while grabbing six rebounds.
In the first half, the lead changed hands five times before the Penguins were able to wrestle it away for good at the 9:39 mark on a 3-pointer by Brown. Brown's 3-pointer sparked a 10-3 spurt that gave the Guins their biggest lead of the first half.
CSU scored the next six points creeping back with 28-27 on a basket by Winton and following a Flagg jumper for YSU, Kiersten Green made the margin one again. But the Penguins closed the half by scoring seven of the final nine points to take a 37-31 lead at the break.
Cleveland State was giveaway happy committing 13 turnovers. Both teams shot well as the Penguins connected on 45.7 percent (16-of-35) while the Vikings converted 13-of-25 attempts (52 percent). In the first half, Brown had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and drained 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc.