Benjamin's Career-High Leads Penguins Past Wright State, 75-70

Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Youngstown, Ohio – Freshman Indiya Benjamin scored a career-high 22 points and senior Heidi Schlegel posted her seventh double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Youngstown State women's basketball team to a 75-70 win over Wright State on Thursday evening at the Beeghly Center.

Freshman Nikki Arbanas scored 12 points, including 10 in the second half, and freshman Sarah Cash scored nine points with five blocks to aide the Penguins, who improve to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the Horizon League.

Wright State, who falls to 14-5 overall and 3-2 in the Horizon League, was led by Tay'ler Mingo with 30 points and Courtney Boyd with 13 points.

After shooting just 38.5 percent in the first half, the Penguins caught fire after halftime shooting 60.7 percent from the floor, including connecting on 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

Trailing 43-38 with 14:09 left, the Penguins went on a 7-0 run that was capped by a three-point play by Latisha Walker with 12:26 left to take their first lead since the 12:56 mark of the first half. Wright State regained the lead 50-48, but back-to-back 3's by Arbanas and Benjamin, who scored 16 in the second half, put the Penguins up 54-50 with 7:35 left. They never trailed again.

The Raiders hung tough and trailed by three, 64-61, after a jumper by Mingo, but a driving layup by Benjamin and a 3-pointer by Cash at the 3:10 mark gave the Penguins an eight-point lead, 69-61. Benjamin and Schlegel each hit a pair of free throws in the final 38 seconds to seal the win.

For the game, the Penguins shot 50 percent from the field, and 75 percent from the free throw line. 

In the first half, the Penguins made four of their first six field-goal attempts and led by as many as six points early in the game. However, the Penguins made just three of their next 16 shots, including missing their first seven 3-pointers, and went without a field goal for nearly eight minutes.

The Raiders, who shot just 30.3 percent in the first half, used a decisive advantage on the offensive glass scoring 10 second-chance points and used an 11-4 run late in the stanza to take an eight-point lead, 29-21, with 3:23 to go.

A driving layup by Janae Jackson with 1:53 left and a 3-pointer by Kelsea Newman, the Penguins' first of the game, with 50 seconds left cut the deficit to three, 29-26.

The Penguins forced a shot clock violation, and, after a turnover, denied the Raiders a good last-second shot.

The Penguins jumped out to an 8-2 on two layups by Schlegel, a jumper by Benjamin and another by Walker. WSU scored seven straight to take a 9-8 lead and after ties at 10-10 and 13-13, the Raiders scored five straight to take five point lead 18-13.

The Penguins visit Oakland, Saturday, Jan. 24, at 3 p.m. at the Athletics Center O'Rena.