The Youngstown State women's basketball team used a frantic rally to trim a 20-point deficit down to four but couldn't overcome a poor third period in an 80-75 loss to Cornell on Saturday afternoon at Beeghly Center.
The Penguins trailed just 36-34 at halftime, but Cornell scored 14 of the first 16 points in the third period to go up 50-36. The Big Red worked its lead up to 62-42 by the end of the period and outscored YSU 26-8 in the 10-minute session.
Youngstown State turned up the intensity in the fourth and shaved 11 points off the deficit in the first three minutes when Jenna Hirsch's 3-pointer made the score 66-57. A Jen Oduho basket trimmed the difference all the way down to five with 4:04 left, capping a 21-6 run that made the score 68-63. The margin was five three times, but Cornell answered with free throws each time to hold off the charge.
Oduho scored again with 53 seconds remaining as YSU got within 76-72. Cornell's Nicholle Aston scored to push the lead back to six, and YSU missed a triple try on its next possession that would have cut the lead to one possession. Kerri Moran made two free throws to up the Big Red lead to 80-72, and Mary Dunn's three-point play with 22 seconds left was the final scoring play of the contest.
Dunn led four Penguins in double figures and tied her career high with 19 points in just 21 minutes. Hirsch had 11 points and five assists, Alison Smolinski scored 11 points to go along with three steals, and Mailee Jones scored 10.
Cornell's Nia Marshall scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the third period. She was 6-for-7 from the field in the third, and Cornell was 11-for-14 as a squad.
YSU led 16-15 at the end of the first period, and Hirsch scored off a pass from Natalie Myers to make the score 18-15 40 seconds into the second. Cornell scored the next eight points to go up 23-18, and the Penguins did not lead again. Youngstown State went on a 10-3 run to tie the score at 34 in the final minute of the second period, but its 10th turnover of the opening half led to a Cornell basket just before the buzzer to give the Big Red its 36-34 lead.
For the game, Youngstown State shot 48.2 percent from the field and 93.8 percent from the free-throw line, and the Penguins had 22 assists on 27 field goals. Cornell was even better, though, making 53.4 percent from the field overall and going 8-for-16 from 3-point range.
Youngstown State will host Point Park to close out its non-conference schedule on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The contest will be the Fourth Annual Chick-Fil-A School Field Trip Game.