CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Cincinnati outscored the Youngstown State women's basketball team 13-2 over the final two-and-a-half minutes to close out a 57-46 victory over the Penguins on Wednesday evening at Fifth Third Arena.
The Penguins found themselves down 13-3 after a slow start but fought their way back and led 33-28 with just over 13 minutes left. Cincinnati went on a 14-1 run as Youngstown State went without a field goal for eight minutes to go up 42-34, but YSU battled back and trailed just 45-44 with 2:44 left.
Cincinnati scored on its next possession to go up 47-44, and YSU had a shot blocked and a shot clock violation on its next possession. The Bearcats got an old-fashioned three-point play on their end of the floor, and UC made 8-of-9 from the free throw line in the final 1:20.
Brandi Brown fought through an off night shooting with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but the senior forward was 7-for-24 from the field. She wasn't the only one who struggled, though. Liz Hornberger was the only other player to score in double figures, and she was the lone Penguin to shoot above 50 percent at 5-for-9. YSU's top three scorers coming into the night combined to go 11-for-41.
The taller Bearcats had two players post a double-double. Tiffany Turner had 15 points and 12 rebounds while Lesha Dunn finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Alexis Durley added 12 points in her first career start filling in for leading scorer Dayeesha Hollins. The Bearcats finished with six blocks, held a 30-14 edge in the paint and out-rebounded the Penguins 39-30.
YSU missed its first five shots and didn't score until Brown's 3 with 15:42 left made the score 5-3. Cincinnati scored the next eight points to go up 13-3, which was its largest lead until the final minute of the contest. YSU scored the next eight points on a Heidi Schlegel steal and lay-up and two Hornberger 3-pointers to get within 13-11 with 8:28 remaining.
Two free throws by Durley stopped a scoring drought of nearly four-and-a-half minutes for Cincinnati to put the Bearcats up 15-11. Another Hornberger triple ended a drought of equal length for YSU at the 3:50 mark to make the score 15-14, and a Karen Flagg 3-pointer tied the score at 17 with 2:53 left.
Cincinnati scored on three of its final four possessions of the period to offset a finger-roll basket by Shar'Rae Davis for its 23-19 lead at halftime.
Brown was 1-for-10 in the first half, but she scored nine points in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the second half to give YSU a 30-26 lead. She tied the score with two free throws at the 16:39 mark, and she had a deuce and a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to put YSU up four with 14:37 remaining.
Schlegel then hit a trey at the 13:40 mark to give the Penguins their largest lead at 33-28, but that's when Cincinnati made its big run. Kayla Cook made two free throws on the Bearcats' next possession, and Turner gave them a 34-33 lead off an offensive rebound with 10:49 left. A Schlegel free throw knotted the score at 34-34 with 9:48 remaining, but Cincinnati scored the next eight points and led 42-34 at the 5:53 mark.
YSU closed the gap to two points quickly when a Brown trey and a Davis bucket made the score 43-41 with 4:32 remaining, and Brown hit a triple at the 2:44 mark to make the score 45-44. Cincinnati scored the next 10 points, six of which came from the foul line, to separate.
YSU started the contest making one of its first nine attempts from 3-point range but made six of its next 10 as it took the lead. The Penguins finished 9-for-25 from beyond the arc for 36 percent. They finished making 30.4 percent overall. Cincinnati shot 40.4 percent from the field and was 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Bearcats outscored YSU by 16 from the free-throw line, going 19-for-23 while the Penguins were 3-for-4.
Youngstown State will return home to host Wilmington College at Beeghly Center on Sunday at 3:05 p.m.