Richmond, Va. -- Senior Brandi Brown scored 28 points, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team held VCU to 18 second-half points in a 58-43 win on Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Penguins improved to 10-3 with the victory, matching their win total from all of last season. They also became the first Horizon League team to reach double digits in wins this season in what was the final non-conference bout of the campaign. VCU dropped to 7-8 with the loss.
Brown scored 18 of her points in the first half, and she was the lone Penguin in double figures. She was 13-of-20 from the field while adding 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. VCU's Robyn Parks scored 16 points.
The Rams were held to a season low with their 45 points, and they scored 37 fewer points than in their 82-47 win over Maine on New Year's Day.
YSU trailed for just 20 seconds in the contest.
The Penguins shot 47.1 percent overall and were 7-for-22 from 3-point range. They out-rebounded the Rams 35-31 and held them to 34.7 percent shooting, including 1-for-14 from 3-point range.
YSU scored the first 13 points of the game, but VCU fought back and had its only lead of the contest at 27-26 with 21 seconds left in the first half. YSU's Karen Flagg hit a bucket just before the buzzer to put the Penguins up at the break, and Melissa Thompson scored the first six points of the second half to give YSU a 34-27 lead. Her trey on YSU's first possession of the period gave her 200 points for her career.
After Thompson's old-fashioned three-point play at the 18:24 mark put YSU up seven, the Rams inched back to within three as the Penguins scored just two points over the next five-and-a-half minutes. Monica Touvelle hit a triple to spark a nine-point run for YSU that put it up 45-33 with 9:03 left, and the Penguins led by double digits the rest of the contest.
Touvelle hit another 3-pointer at the 7:22 mark that gave YSU its largest lead at 50-35, and the Penguins matched that margin two more times. VCU did not score its 10th point of the second half until there was 6:45 left.
Flagg filled up the box score with seven assists, four points, four rebounds and four steals before exiting with an injury with just over 11 minutes left. The Penguins also played without Shar'Rae Davis for much of the second half as she picked up her fourth foul with 14 minutes remaining, and second-leading scorer Heidi Schlegel stayed in Youngstown with the flu. VCU's second-leading scorer, Jessica Pellechio, also sat out with an illness.
Brown had three of YSU's first four buckets, and a Liz Hornberger 3-pointer with 16:06 left gave the Penguins their 13-0 lead and a 5-for-5 start from the floor. The Rams missed their first seven shots, but a bucket by Adaeze Alaeze just before the first media timeout started a 7-0 run.
VCU trimmed the deficit to 21-20 with 6:27 left and tied the game at 23 on a three-point play by Alaeze. A Parks basket gave the Rams their first lead at 27-26 with 21 ticks remaining before halftime, and Flagg scored on a put-back just before the buzzer to put YSU up 28-27.
Brown was 8-of-11 for 18 points in the period, and she added seven first-half rebounds. She scored 11 consecutive points for YSU from the 9:52 mark until Flagg's bucket just before the first-half buzzer.
Youngstown State's next game will be its Horizon League opener at Valparaiso on Jan. 12 at 2:35 p.m. Eastern.