Cash Comes Through Again as YSU Grinds Out 54-53 Win Over Radford

Janae Jackson (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Janae Jackson (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Sarah Cash made two free throws in the final seconds for the second straight home game to lift the Youngstown State women's basketball team to a 54-53 victory over Radford on Friday night.

A week after Cash broke a 51-51 tie with 0.6 seconds left in YSU's win over Canisius, the sophomore forward came through again in the clutch as YSU battled to beat the Highlanders.

Youngstown State didn't lead until late in the third period, but it didn't trail in the fourth until Radford's Jayda Worthy hit a bucket with 4.4 seconds left to put the Highlanders ahead 53-52. The Penguins called timeout to advance to ball, and Nikki Arbanas found Cash open under the basket. Cash fumbled the initial catch, but she recovered and was fouled by Lydia Rivers with 2.9 seconds left. Cash deposited both free throws, and Aisha Foy didn't get a quality look from 35 feet in her winning attempt.

Cash finished with 13 points, and Janae Jackson had a huge second half for YSU with 10 points and eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes. Arbanas added 11 points for Youngstown State, which is 3-0 for the third time in the last four years.

Alexis Jackson came off the bench to score a game-high 15 points for the Highlanders, and Worthy finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Radford blocked 10 shots as a team, which played a big part in YSU shooting 30.8 percent.

Radford's strong perimeter defense held YSU to just 4-for-12 shooting from 3-point range, but the Penguins' driving to combat it resulted in 27 free-throw attempts. YSU was just 18-for-27 for the game and 16-for-25 in the second half, but Cash made the two that counted.

The Highlanders led for 24 minutes, and their lead stretched to nine at 20-11 when Alexis Jackson made a layup with 4:54 left in the second period. Arbanas and Alison Smolinski hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions before halftime to get YSU within 27-24 at the break.

YSU tied the score at 27 on a Janae Jackson jumper 90 seconds into the second half, and the Penguins tied the score at 31 and 33 before a Smolinski free throw with 2:44 left in the third period gave them their first advantage of the game at 34-33.

Jackson's basket in the final seconds of the third period gave YSU a 38-36 lead, and the Penguins were ahead until Foy hit a 3 to tie the game at 46 with 4:38 left. YSU scored the next five points to take its largest lead of the night at 51-46 with 2:55 left, but it went without a field goal for the final 3:36 of the night. Alexis Jackson's three-point play and Worthy's jumper in the final seconds set up the Cash free throws.

Youngstown State will play host to Robert Morris on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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