Sarah Cash made two go-ahead free throws with five seconds remaining, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Detroit 72-70 on Saturday afternoon at Calihan Hall.
Cash scored 18 of her game and career-high 24 points in the second half as YSU improved to 11-2 overall and 2-0 in Horizon League play. Detroit dropped its Horizon League opener and fell to 4-8 for the season.
Youngstown State trailed 39-27 at halftime and 44-29 a minute into the third period. The Penguins closed the third on a 7-2 spurt, and they outscored the Titans 24-13 in the fourth.
Indiya Benjamin scored 17 points and made five of YSU's eight 3-pointers, and Janae Jackson scored a career-best 14 points with seven rebounds. Cash added nine rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal to her 24 points.
Brianne Cohen scored 19 points to lead Detroit.
Youngstown State started the fourth period on a 12-2 run to go up 60-59 with 4:39 left. The Penguins led until Brianne Cohen made two free throws with 36.7 seconds remaining to give the Titans a 68-67 edge. Benjamin answered with a 3 to put YSU up 70-68, and Brittney Jackson tied the game on a runner with 8.4 seconds left. YSU called timeout to advance the ball, and Cash was fouled after a sideline out-of-bounds feed from Nikki Arbanas. The sophomore forward made both attempts, and Rosanna Reynolds' desperation attempt from near midcourt missed at the horn.
Youngstown State led 4-0 and 7-3 before Detroit went on a 7-2 run to go up 10-9 on Haleigh Ristovski's second 3-pointer in the first five minutes. Janae Jackson's third field goal of the period came on YSU's next possession as the Penguins regained an 11-10 lead, and an Arbanas jumper gave YSU a 13-12 advantage with 3:26 left. That was the Penguins' final lead until the fourth.
Detroit scored the final five points of the first period, and the Titans scored eight straight points during a five-minute YSU scoring drought to stretch their lead to 32-20 with 3:59 left before halftime. Detroit's advantage reached 14 in the final minute before Cash scored with less than five seconds remaining to make the score 39-27 at the half.
Benjamin sat most of the final 7:30 of the half with two fouls, and Smolinski joined her for the final 6:40 with the same situation.
A 3 by Reynolds gave the Titans their largest lead of the game at the 9:04 mark of the third period, but YSU scored the next five points to keep the game from getting away. Detroit still possessed a sizable 55-41 advantage with 2:11 left in the third before YSU started to seize momentum. Benjamin hit back-to-back 3s to spark a 7-0 run and get the Penguins within 55-48 with 38 seconds remaining. The Titans scored off a block and fast break to get the lead to nine before the end of the period.
YSU scored the first six points of the fourth, and a bucket by Cash with 4:39 left capped the 12-2 run that gave the Penguins a 60-59 lead. It was their first lead since there was 3:00 left in the first. An Arbanas 3 pushed the lead to 63-59, and YSU held the upper hand until Cohen's two free throws with 36.7 seconds left.
Cash finished the game 11-of-17 from the field, and she made nine of her final 10 attempts. She helped the Penguins shoot 69 percent in the fourth period and 46.8 percent for the game.
Youngstown State will play its first Horizon League home game of the season on Thursday against Milwaukee. The game will be part of a doubleheader with the Penguins men's team, and it will tip at 5:15 p.m.