Sarah Cash made two free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining to cap a memorable 53-51 comeback victory for the Youngstown State women's basketball team over Canisius on Friday at the Beeghly Center in the season opener for both teams.
Youngstown State trailed by 20 at halftime and by as many as 22 before mounting a second-half rally. With the score tied at 51-51, Youngstown State made a defensive stop and called timeout to advance the ball to the its side of the court with 1.7 seconds left. Nikki Arbanas inbounded the ball to Cash, who went to the right-side of the rim before being fouled on the shot attempt. With 0.6 seconds left, Cash's two free throws were money to give YSU a 53-51 victory.
Youngstown State led for just 23 seconds in the game.
Cash, a sophomore making her first career start, finished with 19 points, six more than her previous career high, while going 7-for-10 from the field and 5-for-8 from the free-throw line. She scored 11 of those points in the fourth period as YSU outscored the Golden Griffins 21-7 over the final 10 minutes.
The Penguins had a nightmarish start offensively, making just one field goal in the first 10 minutes of the contest. That allowed Canisius to take an 18-4 lead at the end of the first period, and the Golden Griffins led 36-16 at halftime.
But Youngstown State rebounded offensively by shooting 41.7 percent in the second half, and the defense forced 15 turnovers in the final 20 minutes to allow the offense a chance. YSU outscored the Golden Griffins 21-0 off turnovers in the final two periods.
Canisius' largest lead was at 38-16 at the 9:22 mark of the third period on a layup by Abby Schwenk. Youngstown State scored the next 11 points to get within 38-27 on a Benjamin basket, and the Penguins cut the deficit to under 10, 44-36, on a Morgan Olson bucket with 8:46 left in the 4th quarter.
After Sarah Cooley put Canisius ahead 48-38 with 7:46 left, the Golden Griffins went scoreless for more than seven minutes. Starting with a Cash goal with 5:11 left, YSU scored on four straight trips down the floor to get within a pair with 3:36 remaining. An Arbanas basket with 1:47 remaining gave the Penguins their first lead of the night at 49-48, but Canisius regained the lead on a Tamara Miskovic 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining.
Cash tied the game on a pass from Benjamin with 23 seconds left, which set up YSU's defensive stop and Cash's final heroics.
Youngstown State will play its first road game of the season at Niagara on Tuesday at 7 p.m.