Big Third Quarter Carries Penguins to 72-61 Win Over Akron

Melinda Trimmer (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Melinda Trimmer (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team scored the final 18 points of the third period and had four players score in double figures in a 72-61 victory over Akron on Wednesday at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins led 40-35 at halftime and outscored the Zips 22-7 in the third to push the lead to 20 heading into the final period. The margin was 19 before Akron scored eight points over the final 80 seconds for the final margin.

Chelsea Olson scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the first half, and Melinda Trimmer matched her career-high with 14 points. Mary Dunn was a rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Sarah Cash posted 11 points to go along with four rebounds.

McKenah Peters shadowed Akron leading scorer Megan Sefcik all night and held her to seven points on 2-for-8 shooting and five turnovers. Sefcik came into the contest averaging 21 points and had made 15 3-pointers in Akron's first three games.

Haliegh Reinoehl led the Zips with 18 points, and Caitlin Vari finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Youngstown State improved to 5-2 win the victory and bounced back to beat the previously unbeaten Zips after a disappointing loss to Yale last Friday. Akron dropped to 3-1 with the loss.

Akron made seven of its first eight shots and each of its first four attempts from 3-point range, and the Zips led by five three times in the opening period. Olson scored nine of YSU's first 14 points as Akron led 19-14, but a 3 by Alison Smolinski and a layup by Cash allowed the Penguins to tie the game at 19.

Akron led 21-19 at the end of the first period, but YSU scored the first six points of the second and led 26-21 following a Dunn basket at the 7:11 mark. That capped a 12-2 run going back to Akron's 19-14 lead in the first period. Akron scored the next six points to lead 27-26, but that ended up being the Zips' final advantage of the night. Peters hit a 3-pointer on YSU's next possession, and Olson's 18th point of the opening half gave YSU a 40-34 lead in the final minute. Akron hit a free throw in the final 15 seconds to make it 40-35.

Shayna Harmon hit a 3-pointer at the 6:21 mark of the third period to get the Zips within 44-42, but they didn't score for the rest of the quarter. Peters hit a layup on YSU's next possession, and the Penguins went on to score on eight of their next 10 trips down the floor as they scored 18 consecutive points to close out the period. Olson followed Peters' layup with a 3, and Trimmer hit back-to-back treys to push the lead to 13. Dunn had two baskets in the back half of the run, including one to beat the buzzer that put the Penguins up 62-42.

The lead grew to 21 twice in the first five minutes of the fourth, and a 3-pointer by Cash at the 1:43 mark had the Penguins ahead 72-53. Akron scored the final eight points of the game for the final tally.

Youngstown State shot 47.2 percent from the field and hit at least 50 percent in each of the first three periods. The Penguins were 10-for-24 from 3-point range and 12-of-15 from the free-throw line. Akron finished 19-of-53 from the field, but the Zips went 8-for-39 between making seven of their first eight and four of their last six.

Youngstown State will have its first overnight road trip of the season as it travels to Canisius for a Saturday contest. Tipoff at the Koessler Athletic Center is set for 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on 1390 WNIO and ESPN+.