The Youngstown State women's basketball team cut a 19-point deficit down to four three different times in the fourth period but could never catch Bucknell in a 73-68 loss to the Bison on Tuesday at the Sojka Pavilion.
YSU trailed 13-2 in the first five minutes and had to play from behind the rest of the way against Bucknell, which won for the seventh straight contest. The Bison lead grew to 19 at 58-39 late in the third period, and the margin was 17 heading into the fourth.
Youngstown State scored the first eight points of the final period, and Melinda Trimmer's steal and layup at the 6:13 mark capped an 18-3 run that brought the Penguins to within 61-57.
Bucknell's Kate Walker hit a 3-pointer following three straight offensive rebounds to get the margin to 68-59 with 2:21 to play, but YSU kept the pressure on and trailed just 68-63 with 1:27 left. The Penguins ended up getting to within 70-66 and 72-68 in the final 15 seconds before the Bison hit a free throw for the final margin.
Bucknell, which was ranked 10th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, improved to 9-2 with the victory. Youngstown State dropped to 7-3 and fell for the first time in four games.
Walker finished with a game-high 22 points for Bucknell, going 9-for-14 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Kyi English added 20 points, nine of which came in the third period as Bucknell outscored the Penguins 22-13. The Bison also outscored YSU 22-12 in the first period while the Penguins held edges of 16-14 in the second and 27-15 in the fourth.
Sarah Cash scored eight of her team-high 18 points in the first period, and Chelsea Olson posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds for Youngstown State. Olson made a career-high four 3-pointers, and Mary Dunn hit two triples as part of a 14-point effort. Trimmer had a career-best nine assists without committing a turnover and scored six points in 32 minutes.
Youngstown State outscored Bucknell 18-10 at the free-throw line, but the Penguins missed nine charity tosses and finished 18-for-27 in the contest. Seven of those misses came in the second half.
Bucknell scored nine straight points over less than two minutes to take a 13-2 lead at the 5:18 mark of the first half. The Bison made five of their first six field-goal attempts and were 9-of-14 from the field in the first quarter as they built a 22-12 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Bucknell's advantage was 25-15 three minutes into the second period when Amara Chikwe's first career 3-pointer sparked an 8-0 YSU run that brought the Penguins to within a pair with 5:18 remaining. Ellie Mack hit a 3-pointer out of an ensuing timeout, and the Bison regrouped to score nine straight points as they held YSU scoreless for almost four minutes.
Bucknell led 36-28 at halftime, and it held a double-digit advantage for the final 9:29 of the third period. The largest margin of the game was 58-39 when Kaitlyn Slagus hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in the third period, and Cash scored in the final seconds to make the score 58-41 heading into the fourth.
Trimmer hit a basket to start the fourth, and Dunn scored six straight points for the Penguins to ignite the rally. Walker hit a 3 at the 7:54 mark for Bucknell's only points of the first 5:30 of the quarter, and YSU followed it with another 8-0 spurt to get within 61-57 on Trimmer's steal and layup. The Penguins didn't hit another field goal for almost five minutes as Bucknell held on.
Youngstown State finishes its non-conference game with the Fifth Annual Chick-Fil-A School Field Trip Game on Thursday against Thiel at 11 a.m. Approximately 1,300 area students are expected to be in attendance.