By Dan Hiner
Things didn’t go as planned for the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team during its final regular season game against Wright State University.
The Penguins went through stretches where their shots didn’t fall and continued to struggle holding onto the ball, committing 17 turnovers.
Wright State University started the game on a 6-0 run during the first three minutes of the game; YSU committed four turnovers during that span. But YSU guard Indiya Benjamin got the Penguins back into the game after she scored YSU’s first seven points, helping cut the lead to 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.
YSU couldn’t find its shot until there was 5:15 left in the first half. The Raiders started the second quarter on a 10-4 run, and yet again, the Penguins committed three turnovers.
But the Penguins responded with a 9-0 run of their own. The Penguins started taking higher percentage shots and cut the Wright State lead down to 34-28 at halftime. YSU shot 57 percent from the field in the second quarter and forced three steals — leading to eight points off turnovers.
The third quarter was the problem for Penguins. YSU forward Janae Jackson scored on a layup, cutting the Wright State lead to 53-44, but the Penguins offense completely stalled after Jackson
and Sarah Cash started getting into foul trouble.
YSU was held without a field goal for the last 3:46 of the third quarter. Wright State went on a 7-2 run to extend its lead to 60-46 going into the fourth quarter. YSU was unable to get back into the game in the final quarter.
With Cash and Jackson on the bench with foul trouble, YSU guards Nikki Arbanas and Benjamin had to carry the Penguins’ offense. Arbanas scored seven points and Benjamin scored nine in the fourth quarter.
Benjamin finished with a team-high 22 points and four assists, and Arbanas was second on the team with 15 points. Jackson was third on the team with 12 points and seven rebounds, but fouled out with 2:19 left in the game.
With the loss, YSU will enter the Horizon League tournament as the sixth seed. The Penguins will play Oakland University on Thursday.
YSU 66, Wright State 77
YSU (18-11, 9-9) — Indiya Benjamin 9-2-22, Nikki Arbanas 5-1-15, Janae Jackson 5-2-12, Sarah Cash 2-5-9, Kelsea Newman 1-1-4, Melinda Trimmer 1-0-2, Jenna Hirsch 1-0-2. Totals: 24-11-66.
Wright State (21-9, 12-6) — Lexi Smith 7-1-15, Riche Van Der Keijl 6-2-14, Antania Hayes 5-3-13, Symone Denham 4-2-11, Kim Demmings 4-2-10, Mackenzie Taylor 2-2-8, Symone Simmons 2-2-6. Totals: 30-14-77.
YSU 9 19 18 20 — 66
WSU 16 18 26 17 — 77
3-point field goals: YSU 7 (Arbanas 4, Benjamin 2, Newman); WSU 3 (Taylor 2, Denham).
Rebounds: YSU 27 (Jackson 7, Cash 5, Newman 3, Trimmer 2, Kelley Wright 2, Hirsch 2, Alison Smolinski, Benjamin, Arbanas, Team 3); WSU 41 (Demmings 8, Hayes 6, Van Der Keijl 5, Smith 5, Simmons 4, Taylor 3, Denham 3, Team 7).
Assists: YSU 10 (Benjamin 4, Arbanas 2, Cash, Jill Blacksten, Newman, Trimmer); WSU 13 (Denham 5, Simmons 4, Demmings 2, Hayes, Van Der Keijl).