Down by two points, the Penguins missed 25 of their last 28 shots.
CLEVELAND -- Youngstown State shot 26.7 percent from the floor and let a dramatic 13-4 run to start the second half go to waste, as the Penguins fell to Cleveland State 64-58 on Wednesday at the Wolstein Center.
Kristy Gaudiose led the Penguins with a game-high 17 points, while Jen Perugini added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Youngstown State fell to 9-12 overall and 3-7 in the Horizon League while the Vikings improved to 3-17, 2-7.
Lauren Branson added eight assists and five steals for the Penguins.
Cleveland State's Jill Barnbrook hit a jumper at the 18:58 mark of the second half to put the Vikings ahead 31-21, but YSU answered with a 13-2 run to take its first lead since the 13:52 mark of the first half. Gaudiose scored nine straight points in the run on a 3-pointer, three jumpers and two free throws. Tara Fleming and Jessica Schloemp added layups to make the score 34-33 with 15:24 remaining.
Betsy Bowser then hit a 3-pointer after a timeout to give the Vikings a 36-34 lead and the Penguins never led again. From that point, the Penguins hit a cold spell where they went 3-for-28 from the floor, allowing Cleveland State to lead by as many as 10 points.
The Penguins had a chance late as they took advantage of CSU misses at the foul line, climbing to within five with 31 seconds to go, but the Vikings hit five of their six final free throws.
Cleveland State led 29-21 at the intermission by shooting 40.6 percent from the floor.
The Vikings jumped out to an 8-4 lead after Canfield native Erin Martin hit a 3-pointer with 17:08 to go, but a 7-2 run over the next 31/2 minutes gave the Penguins their first lead of the game, 11-10, with 13:52 remaining. Two free throws by Michelle Holmes with 16:47 remaining started the rally, and a Gaudiose layup tied the score at 8-all with 15:52 to go.
Martin's layup put the Vikings back up by two, but Gaudiose hit a 3 to make the score 11-10.
From there, Cleveland State outscored YSU 19-10 the rest of the half, holding the Penguins scoreless for 51/2 minutes. The Vikings scored six straight points as part of an 8-1 run to go up 18-12 with 8:07 remaining.
The Penguins got within four after a Tara Fleming jumper with 6:33 remaining, but Cleveland State answered with an 11-5 run to take a 29-19 lead with 28 seconds remaining. A Perugini jumper with nine seconds to go brought the Penguins to within eight before the break.
Youngstown State next plays at Loyola of Chicago at 2 p.m. Saturday.