In a season full of late wins and big rallies, the Youngstown State women's basketball team finally came up on the short end of a major comeback bid in a 69-68 loss to Detroit on Saturday afternoon at Beeghly Center.
The Penguins, who tried to rally from a deficit of at least 14 for the fifth time this season, trailed Detroit by 17 late in the third period before mounting what could have been another memorable fourth period. YSU scored 13 straight points to trim the lead to four and eventually took a 68-65 lead with a minute left on an Indiya Benjamin 3-pointer. But Detroit scored on its final two possessions and got two defensive stops to escape with the win.
Detroit improved to 7-4 in the Horizon League and moved up to third in the standings, and YSU dropped into a tie for fifth at 6-5. YSU is 15-7 overall, while Detroit evened its record at 11-11.
Brianne Cohen came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points for Detroit, and Nicole Urbanick added 16. Benjamin and Kelsea Newman scored 15 points for YSU, and Sarah Cash posted her third straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Detroit led 36-31 at halftime, and Cash scored the first four points of the third period to cut YSU's deficit to 36-35. Detroit scored the next 10 to go up 46-35 at the 5:36 mark in the period, and the Titans went on a 9-1 spurt to take a 58-41 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the third.
Alison Smolinski made two free throws before the end of the period, and YSU scored the first 11 points of the fourth to get within four at 58-54 with 7:41 left. A Newman 3-pointer got the Penguins to within two with 5:04 left, and YSU tied the game at 65-65 on two Benjamin free throws with 1:57 remaining. Benjamin then hit the go-ahead 3-pointer after Cash came up with a big offensive rebound to give the Penguins their first lead since late in the second period.
Rosanna Reynolds made a driving basket on Detroit's next possession to make the score 68-67, and the Titans forced a shot-clock violation on YSU's next possession. UDM got a second chance after a rebound on a Reynolds miss went out of bounds, and Haleigh Ristovski made a jumper in traffic with 1.6 seconds left for the game winner. YSU's inbounds play from by its bench resulted in a turnover when Cash didn't make it to the block in time for Jenna Hirsch's quick pass.
Youngstown State went 5-of-11 from 3-point range in the final period, but it struggled from behind the arc for the first 30 minutes, starting 5-for-27 from distance. YSU shot 53 percent from the field in the final period but was 2-for-5 from the free-throw line.
The teams traded five-point runs to open the game, and YSU's first lead came when Cash hit a 3-pointer in transition to put the Penguins ahead 8-7. That was part of an overall 15-4 run by YSU that saw it take a 15-9 advantage on a Janae Jackson bucket with 3:26 left in the first period.
YSU did not score the rest of the period with Cash and Nikki Arbanas out with two fouls apiece, and Detroit ended the first by scoring the final eight points. The Titans extended the run to 10 to go up 19-15, and Detroit's largest lead of the first half came at 25-19 with 6:25 left. YSU went on a 10-2 run to take its only lead of the period, 29-27 on a Jill Blacksten basket. Detroit concluded the half on a 9-2 run to go up 36-31 at halftime.
Youngstown State will have a challenging Wisconsin road wing next week, starting with a contest at league-leading Green Bay on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern.