Morgan Olson scored a career-high 20 points, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team made a late charge before falling 78-74 to Milwaukee on Saturday evening at Beeghly Center.
Olson, making her first career start in place of leading scorer and injured Mary Dunn, was 9-for-13 from the field and scored her 20 points in 22 minutes. Alison Smolinski matched her with 20 points, and nine of those came in YSU's 31-point fourth period.
Milwaukee led by 12 in the second period and four different times in the fourth before YSU rallied with 21 points in the final two minutes. Steph Kostowicz's two free throws put the Panthers ahead 67-55 with 1:44 remaining when Olson hit a 3-pointer to start an 11-4 run that got the Penguins within 71-66 with 47 seconds remaining.
Smolinski made free throws to made the score 74-71 with 17 seconds left, and a Melinda Trimmer 3-pointer got the Penguins within 76-74 with seven seconds remaining. Sierra Ford-Washington made two free throws with 5.4 seconds left to put MIlwaukee up by four, and Kelley Wright's 3-pointer on YSU's possession was no good.
Indiya Benjamin added 10 points and nine assists without committing a turnover for the Penguins. She registered the 400th assist of her career in the contest.
Kostowicz scored a game-high 22 points and added 12 rebounds for the Panthers, who improved to 15-6 overall and 7-3 in Horizon League play. Jenny Lindner had 20 points, and Ford-Washington finished with 18.
Milwaukee scored the first four points of the game, and it led by six twice in the first period. The Panthers held a 13-7 lead on a Bailey Fairley basket at the 4:04 mark, and the margin was six again at 15-9 less than a minute later. Olson beat the buzzer for YSU to get the Penguins to within 18-15, and she scored again on the first possession of the second period to cut the deficit to one.
YSU's only lead of the game came at 21-20 on a Benjamin basket with 7:44 left in the second period. That basket capped an 8-2 run going back to Olson's basket at the end of the first period. The Penguins didn't score again until Jenna Hirsch's two free throws at the 1:32 mark, and Milwaukee scored 13 straight points during that stretch. A Smolinski 3-pointer with 51 seconds left in the half got the Penguins within 33-26 at halftime.
Olson's three-point play got the Penguins within four early in the third, and she hit a jumper less than a minute later to make the score 37-33 with 7:51 remaining. Farley hit a 3 on the next possession, and the Panthers went on a 7-2 run to go up 44-35. The Panthers extended their lead to 47-37 after a three-point play by Kostowicz at the 3:38 mark.
YSU scored the next six points to get within 47-43 when Tamira Ford split a pair of free throws with 37 seconds left in the third. Milwaukee scored the final four points of the third and the first two of the fourth to go back up by 10. A Smolinski 3-pointer and two Benjamin free throws made the score 53-48, but Milwaukee scored the next seven points to match its largest lead at 60-48 with 6:02 left. UWM led by 12 three more times before YSU's late run.
Youngstown State will at Valparaiso on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern.