Penguins Fall to UIC in Overtime, 66-63

Heidi Schlegel
Heidi Schlegel

Youngstown -- Senior Heidi Schlegel posted a double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds, and four other players scored in double figures, but the Youngstown State women's basketball dropped a 66-63 overtime decision to UIC on Saturday afternoon at the Beeghly Center.

Freshman Nikki Arbanas scored 13 points, sophomore Kelsea Newman had 11 points and senior Latisha Walker and freshman Indiya Benjamin each had 10 points for the Penguins, who fall to 15-7 overall and 4-5 in the Horizon League.

The Flames, who improve to 14-8 overall and 4-5 in the league, were led by Ruvanna Campbell with a game-high 23 points. Terri Bender also reached double-figures for UIC with 12 points.

The Flames scored the first eight points of the second half to cut the Penguins' 12-point halftime lead down to four, 33-29, with 16:08 left in the game.

The Penguins, who shot 44.4 percent in the first half, went 0-for-5 from the field and committed eight turnovers in the first six and a half minutes of the second half. For the second half, Youngstown State made just 5-of-19 field-goal attempts for just 26.3 percent.

Newman's 3-pointer at the 12:53 mark was the Penguins' first field goal of the second half and pushed their lead to nine, 38-29. Schlegel added a pair of free throws to extend the YSU advantage to 11, 40-29, with just over 12 minutes to go.

The Flames, who shot 50 percent in the second half, closed the gap to one three different times and tied the game at 49-49 on a jumper by Campbell with 5:32 to go.

A rare five-point play by Newman (3-pointer) and Schlegel (two free throws) gave the Penguins a 56-55 lead after another jumper by Campbell pushed the UIC lead to four. Benjamin's 3-pointer as the shot clock expired gave the Penguins a 59-57 with 1:11 left, but Campbell made a pair of free throws with 52 seconds left to tie the game.

The Penguins turned it over on the next possession, but the Walker blocked Campbell's attempt to take the lead. Arbanas' shot with 23 seconds left was knocked out of bounds and the Penguins, again, denied the Flames on two last-second shots.

In overtime, UIC scored the first five points to take a 64-59 lead, before free throws by Benjamin and Schlegel put the Penguins within one, 64-63, with 2:01 left.

The Penguins missed a 3-pointer and committed a turnover before Bender made two free throws to put UIC up three, 66-63, with 22 seconds left. YSU's final two 3-point attempts to tie the game were short.

The Penguins used two big runs in the first half and overcame 11 UIC offensive rebounds to turn a deficit into a 12-point halftime lead, 33-21.

Down 8-6, the Penguins scored eight straight and 11 of the next 13 points to take a 17-10 lead with 11:36 to go. A jumper by Schlegel and a free throw by Arbanas gave the Penguins the lead, and another jumper by Arbanas, a layup by Sarah Cash and a 3-pointer by Newman capped the 11-2 run.

The Flames cut the YSU lead to two, 17-15, after jumpers by Kendyl Nunn and Imani Moore and a free throw by Campbell.

A pair of 3-pointers by Arbanas pushed the Penguins' edge to six, and Walker gave the Guins an eight-point lead, 25-17, with two free throws.

Benjamin hit a 3-pointer, Arbanas hit a jumper and Walker made another free throw to extend the Penguins lead to a first-half high 12 points, 31-19.

The Penguins host Oakland, Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the Beeghly Center at 5:15 p.m. The game is part of a women's and men's basketball doubleheader.