Young scored 20 of her 25 points in the first half and Oklahoma State beat DePaul 73-56 on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament's Norfolk Region.
The 6-foot-2 senior went 12 for 17 from the field and had 13 rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes for the seventh-seeded Cowgirls (22-10). She had a bucket during the 13-0 run that took back control after DePaul had cut a 16-point deficit to a point with about 14 minutes left.
"I had already made a plan to come out and work as hard as I can for my team in this tournament," Young said. "It's my last chance to get as far as I can, and I'm not going to waste it."
Liz Donohoe added 14 points for Oklahoma State in the program's first NCAA trip since reaching the second round in 2010. Now the Cowgirls can look ahead to Tuesday night's second-round game against No. 2 seed and site host Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Anna Martin scored 12 points for the 10th-seeded Blue Demons (21-12), who made it all the way back to 45-44 but didn't score again for 8 1/2 minutes.
That gave Oklahoma State an opening to take back momentum.
Tiffany Bias pushed the ball after a made basket for a quick score to start the run. Then Kendra Suttles scored on a stickback and added a pair of free throws, and Donohoe knocked down a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 54-44 near the 9-minute mark.
Young ended the run with a turnaround shot for her first basket since the 7:01 mark of the first half, making it 58-44 with 7:24 to play.
"I think every team gets momentum every now and then," said Bias, who scored 12. "We got kind of lackadaisical and wasn't hustling for balls or rebounding. ... You can't get it all back at once. Bucket by bucket, we started pushing the lead. We had a couple of big steals and started finishing around the bucket."
DePaul, meanwhile, missed 15 straight shots and went nearly 10 minutes without a basket during that game-turning stretch.
"We just couldn't hit a shot," Martin said. "I don't know if we just didn't get our legs under us enough. Our shot selection in the second half wasn't the greatest either. We made a good run ... but I just never thought we really had momentum."
DePaul - playing in its 11th straight NCAA tournament - never got close again. The Blue Demons shot 25 percent (20 for 80) from the field and 22 percent (8 for 37) from behind the arc.
Top scorer Brittany Hrynko, who came in averaging nearly 15 points, finished with 11 on 2-for-17 shooting, including 1 for 11 on 3s.
"When you shoot 25 percent, a lot of coaches come in here and say, `We just missed shots,"' DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "Well, we missed shots because they helped us miss shots."
Oklahoma State won the WNIT in its first year under Jim Littell, who took over following the deaths of coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna in a November 2011 plane crash. Young and fellow senior Lindsey Keller are the only players with any NCAA experience.
Maybe that's why Young looked like the veteran determined to lead the way early.
Young, who came in averaging about 16 points and 10 rebounds, hit her first eight shots. When she finally missed on a reverse layup, she grabbed a loose rebound and scored on a putback on the way to 20 points on 10-for-13 shooting to go along with seven rebounds by the break.
"She just had a great energy," Littell said. "She always jumps high but she seemed to have a little more bounce in her step today."
With Young dominating the opening half, Oklahoma State's offense hummed right along. The Cowgirls shot nearly 56 percent (20 for 36), scored 12 points off turnovers and led by 16 before taking a 42-31 halftime lead.