Strong Fourth Period Lifts Penguins to 55-47 Victory at Bucknell

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

The Youngstown State women's basketball team shrugged off a long shooting lull by outscoring Bucknell 25-8 over the final 10:10 to escape with a 55-47 victory over the Bison on Wednesday evening at the Sojka Pavilion.

The Penguins went more than eight minutes without a point and more than 14 minutes without a field goal over the second and third periods before rallying. Kelley Wright ended the drought with a 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds of the third period to get YSU within 39-33, and the Penguins outscored Bucknell 22-8 in the fourth.

Youngstown State is now 6-0 for the second straight season and for just the third time at the Division I level, while Bucknell drops to 4-3.

Indiya Benjamin scored all 11 of her points in the fourth period, and Nikki Arbanas led all scorers with 15 points while contributing a career-best nine rebounds. Sarah Cash added 12 points and eight rebounds for YSU.

Claire DeBoer had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Jacquie Klotz finished with nine points and 11 rebounds for Bucknell. Klotz, Bucknell's leader in both categories, picked up two fouls seven minutes into the game and ended up fouling out in 22 minutes of action.

Bucknell scored the first seven points of the game, but YSU outscored the Bison 18-5 over the final seven minutes of the first period to take an 18-12 lead. Youngstown State's first field goal came on a Kelsea Newman triple with 6:36 left, and YSU took the lead for the first time at 10-9 on Arbanas' three-point play at the 3:34 mark. The Bison tied the score at 11 and 12 before the Penguins scored the final four points of the period.

YSU's lead stretched to seven three times in the second period, the final time coming on an Arbanas layup with 4:19 left that put the Penguins ahead 26-19. YSU did not score again until Newman made two free throws at the 5:59 mark of the third period, and it didn't convert another field goal until Wright's triple at the end of the period.

Youngstown State's defense kept the game close, and Bucknell was only able to get its lead to a maximum of nine at 39-30. Wright's big 3-pointer got YSU with 39-33 before the third period ended, and the Penguins opened the fourth period on a 16-3 run.

A Benjamin 3-pointer put YSU back ahead 44-42 with 4:35 left, and an Arbanas triple upped the margin to 49-42 with 2:54 remaining. That capped a 10-point spurt for the Penguins, and YSU led by at least five the remainder of the contest.

Youngstown State finished the game shooting just 27.1 percent, but it shot 57.1 percent in the fourth period. The Penguins held Bucknell to 30 percent from the field, and they outscored the Bison 18-7 at the free-throw line. YSU also had a 16-6 edge in rebounding in the fourth period.

YSU's next game will be at Penn State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN.

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