By Nathanael Hawthorne
In a thrilling game against Eastern Michigan University, the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team overcame an 18-point deficit to win 79-77. Senior Mary Dunn also etched her name into the YSU history books by joining the 1,000 point club.
“That was awesome,” Dunn said about scoring her 1,000th point. “To me, the most important thing is that we won the game, but it was really cool to have a great individual and team win.”
Penguins coach John Barnes said Dunn’s 1,000 points is a part of her legacy.
“I’m happy for Mary,” Barnes said. “She’s our only senior so I talk about her leaving her legacy. This is her legacy year so for her to have such a great game [and] help us get another win is just part of the deal. [I’m] happy for her.”
In the first quarter, EMU lead by a staggering 17 points. The Eagles seemed to be clicking early on in the game by shooting 70.6% from the field and connected on six 3-pointers in the first quarter.
The first quarter was less than ideal for the Penguins. The second quarter fared in favor for YSU. Freshman Maddie Schires and Dunn connected on some big three’s and would help outscore the Eagles by two points.
Heading into halftime, the Penguins chipped away at the lead but were still down big at intermission. Barnes told the team to stay the course and keep playing hard.
“They were really hot in the first half and we felt like they would cool off a little bit [and] we’re just gonna try to chip away at the lead,” Barnes said. “I think that helped because at the end of the third [quarter] we were up one so that was a huge confidence boost.”
That confidence boost was the motivation the Penguins needed. Junior Chelsea Olson, along with Schires and Dunn helped bring the Penguins back and eventually on to victory. Dunn lead the way for the Penguins in scoring with a game- and career-high 30 points, along with seven rebounds.
Olson recorded a double-double with 16 points and a game high 15 rebounds. Schires also had 16 points by way of the 3-ball. She would end up four for eight from beyond the arc.
The game quickly turned into a nail-biter as time dwindled down in the fourth quarter. In the last few minutes of the game, the lead changed a handful of times, ultimately resulting in tie with 15 seconds left in the contest.
YSU quickly called a timeout and with less than a second left on the clock, EMU fouled Schires as she attempted to get off a last-second 3-pointer – sending Schires to the foul line. She would connect on two out of three attempts to seal the game for the Penguins.
The game was big for team morale following two tough losses to Kent State University and Robert Morris University.
“It definitely boosts our confidence,” Olson said. “Moving forward, we know we can do it. We know we’re a good team, and we’re able to take care of business.”
The Penguins advance to a 2-2 record early in the season. The team travels to the University of Akron next Wednesday to faceoff against the Zips. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.