Second-Half Surge Sends Women's Basketball to 76-61 Win Over Oakland

Chelsea Olson (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Chelsea Olson (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team went on a 30-6 run in the second half to fight off Oakland for a 76-61 victory on Thursday evening at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins overcame a rough shooting start from the field by sinking four of their last five attempts in the third period and 7-of-10 in the fourth as they made their run. YSU was also 32-for-36 from the free-throw line and outscored the Golden Grizzlies by 24 at the charity stripe.

Youngstown State has earned its best start through 10 Horizon League games in program history with an 8-2 record, and the Penguins also improved to 16-5 overall and 12-1 at home. Oakland dropped to 4-17 overall and 1-9 in the conference.

Chelsea Olson scored 22 points, and Melinda Trimmer and Mary Dunn both scored 15 to lead YSU. Trimmer was 10-for-10 at the free-throw line, and she had seven assists against just one turnover. Dunn scored nine of her points in the fourth period.

Kahlaijah Dean led Oakland with 29 points, the most by any player against YSU this season.

In a game where the 47 fouls inhibited a natural flow, YSU had a pair of runs in the first half and the big one in the second half that decided the contest.

Oakland made its first three attempts from the field and took a 6-1 lead on a Nikita Telesford drive at the 7:43 mark. The Penguins answered with their first of two runs in the quarter by scoring the next seven points, and their first lead came when Amara Chikwe made two free throws with 5:35 left.

Oakland countered with a 7-0 spurt to go up 13-8 and match its largest lead, but the Penguins scored the final nine points of the period to take a 17-13 lead at the break. Dunn started the run with a 3-pointer, Olson scored the next four and Chikwe finished it with two free throws.

Olson scored on the first possession of the second quarter to push the lead to six, and YSU's advantage was six twice more when Trimmer and Olson hit 3s. Olson's triple at the 3:07 mark gave the Penguins a 30-24 lead, and that was their final field goal of the period. Oakland scored the next four points to get within two, and Trimmer made two free throws for the 32-28 halftime difference.

YSU was 8-for-31 from the field in the first half, and it missed its first six shots of the second half as Dean and Autumn Kissman helped the Golden Grizzlies gain a 41-33 lead at the six-minute mark of the third period. Dean scored nine points in the first four minutes of the period as Oakland opened on a 13-1 run.

Dunn split a pair of free throws with 4:20 left to stop the run, and McKenah Peters hit a 3 on YSU's next possession for the Penguins' first field goal of the quarter. Dunn tied the score at 41, and Oakland's final lead of the night was 42-41 when Teneea Heston went 1-of-2 at the free-throw line with 1:24 left. Peters had a driving basket on YSU's next trip down the floor to give the Penguins the lead, and Trimmer scored the final four points of the period to give Youngstown State a 47-42 advantage.

Olson then hit a triple 10 seconds into the fourth period to push the lead to eight, and Dean's 3-pointer at the 9:36 mark accounted for Oakland's only points of the first three-and-a-half minutes. By the time Dean scored again with 6:15 left, YSU had built a 59-45 lead. Dunn scored seven straight points and Dunn had the other two during that stretch. The margin grew to as much as 16 at 63-47, and YSU led by double digits for the final 7:52 of the contest.

Oakland shot 47.1 percent from the field but was hurt by 20 turnovers. The Penguins shot 36.5 percent from the field, but they made 88.9 percent of their free-throw attempts. YSU was 8-for-37 from the field but made 11 of its last 15.

Youngstown State will try to wrap up a perfect record on its five-game homestand on Saturday against Detroit Mercy at 1 p.m. It will be YSU's "Pink Out" Game as the Penguins will wear pink jerseys and raise awareness and funds for breast cancer. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center locally as well as the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.