Offense Ignites for Record-Setting Performance in Win at Oakland

Kelsea Newman (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Kelsea Newman (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team's offense turned in a record-setting performance from the 3-point line on Saturday as the Penguins beat Oakland 96-77 in the Horizon League opener for both teams.

The Penguins tied the school record for 3-pointers in a game with 16, and Kelsea Newman matched the previous individual record with eight on her own. That helped Youngstown State score its most points ever in a Horizon League game and the most in any contest since Jan. 18, 2005.

Newman wasn't the only one with individual highlights. Indiya Benjamin had 21 points and 13 assists while committing just two turnovers. She became the first Penguin to have at least 20 points and 10 assists in a game since Danielle Carson on Feb. 22, 1986. In addition to Newman's eight triples, Benjamin and Nikki Arbanas both had three, and Jill Blacksten and Alison Smolinski each had one.

Youngstown State is now 5-0 for the second straight year and the fourth time as a Division I program. The game was much different than YSU's first four victories. YSU had not allowed more than 54 points in its first four games, and it had scored above 55 just once.

Olivia Nash scored 15 points, and Elena Popkey added 14 for Oakland, which is now 3-2 overall.

Popkey scored the first four points of the game, but two 3-pointers by Newman were part of an 8-0 YSU run that put it ahead 8-4. Oakland led again briefly at 13-11 after a Nash 3, but Morgan Olson scored six points in the final 2:18 to help YSU lead 17-15 after a period. The Penguins then proceeded to have their three highest-scoring periods of the season.

The lead changed hands six times in the second period before Youngstown State started to pull away. Nash put Oakland up 33-32 at the 5:11 mark before Benjamin hit two free throws to spark a 9-0 Penguins run. Newman hit a stepback 3-pointer for her fourth triple of the half to put YSU up 46-38 in the final minute, and the Penguins led 46-37 at the break. Benjamin had 13 points on her own in the second period.

YSU went ahead by double digits for the first time at 52-42 when Smolinski banked in a 3, the Penguins' 10th of the contest. The lead stretched to 16 with 1:12 in the third when Blacksten made YSU's sixth trey of the period to put the Penguins up 72-56.

The lead was at least a dozen throughout the final period, and it stretched to as much as 26 when an Olson jumper made the score 94-68 with 3:15 left.

Newman's eighth 3 came with 5:57 left, and the team record was tied on Arbanas' make at the 4:16 mark of the fourth.

YSU shot 51.6 percent from the field overall and 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from 3-point range. Oakland shot 46 percent from the floor and made nine 3-pointers of its own.

Youngstown State will return to non-conference action when it plays at Bucknell on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

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