Penguins Beat Point Park 84-71 in Final Non-League Contest

Tamira Ford (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Tamira Ford (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team used a key 14-2 run in the third period to fight off Point Park on Wednesday morning for an 84-71 win at Beeghly Center in the Fourth Annual Chick-Fil-A Field Trip Game.

With the score tied at 47 with 5:22 remaining in the third period, the Penguins scored 14 of the next 16 points to go up 61-49 and grab control of what was a close battle with the NAIA Pioneers.

YSU freshman Mary Dunn scored a career-high 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting, and she was joined in double figures by Kelley Wright (15), Indiya Benjamin (14) and Jenna Hirsch. Benjamin added 10 assists for her second career double-double. Wright's 15 points were a new career high, and Natalie Myers' nine points were the most of her career. Tamira Ford grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in 11 minutes.

Point Park forward Baylee Buleca countered Dunn by scoring 24 points and going 12-for-15 from the field, and four other Pioneers scored in double figures.

Dunn scored eight of YSU's first 10 points, and her basket at the 5:22 mark put the Penguins up 10-6. After a Benjamin 3-pointer gave YSU a 13-10 lead, Point Park scored the next four points to take its first lead of the contest at 14-13. Benjamin hit another triple on YSU's next possession to spark a 7-0 run, and a Morgan Brunner basket in transition gave YSU a 20-14 advantage with 38 seconds left in the period.

Point Park scored the next nine points to take a 23-20 lead at the 6:32 mark, and the Pioneers led by three again at 25-22. Jenna Hirsch hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Penguins up 28-25, and Point Park's final lead of the half was 29-28 with 3:38 left. Kelley Wright's triple with a minute left gave YSU a 40-34 lead, and Tyra James split a pair of free throws with 46 seconds left to cut the margin to five at halftime.

The Pioneers tied the score twice in the third period, at 40 and again at 47, before the Penguins were finally able to gain some cushion thanks to turning up the pressure defensively. The Penguins went on a 14-2 run with Hirsch and Wright both scoring five points in the spurt to go up 61-49 with 2:09 left. YSU led by double figures for almost all of the final 12 minutes, and its lead never sank below nine.

Youngstown State held a narrow 38-34 advantage in the paint, but it doubled Point Park in points off turnovers (16-8) and second-chance points (19-8). YSU also had a 17-4 advantage in fast-break points.

Youngstown State will have a nine-day break from competition before beginning Horizon League play on Dec. 31 at Cleveland State. Tipoff at the Wolstein Center is set for 1 p.m.