Benjamin, Defense Lead Penguins to 62-41 Win Over UIC

Benjamin, Defense Lead Penguins to 62-41 Win Over UIC

Sophomore Indiya Benjamin matched her career high with 22 points, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team held UIC under 10 points in two different periods in a 62-41 win on Sunday evening at Beeghly Center.

Benjamin outscored UIC's Ruvanna Campbell by eight for game-high honors, and Nikki Arbanas was the only other Penguin in double figures with 11 points.

Youngstown State improves to 18-9 overall and 9-7 in the Horizon League with its second 21-point victory in three days. UIC drops to 12-16 overall and 3-14 in the conference.

Youngstown State shot 40.4 percent, and it outscored the Flames 23-6 off turnovers. YSU was plus-14 in turnover margink, committing 11 to UIC's 25. Janae Jackson had five steals, and Sarah Cash had three as the Penguins denied passes to Campbell near the basket.

Caitlin Garant's jumper gave UIC a 6-2 lead at the 6:23 mark, but YSU went on a 10-2 run to go up 12-8 on two Cash free throws with 27 seconds left. Imani Moore's three-point play trimmed the deficit to one before the end of the period.

YSU scored the first five points of the second period on a Kelsea Newman 3 and an Indiya Benjamin bucket in transition to go up 17-11. The Penguins went up by double digits for the first time on a 3-pointer by Benjamin with 42 seconds left, and Benjamin beat the buzzer to give the Penguin a 29-17 lead at halftime.

YSU didn't score for the first 3:39 of the third period, which allowed UIC to score six straight points and close the gap to 29-23. But Benjamin scored five points, a 3 in the corner and a transition bucket after a Jenna Hirsch steal, in the next 19 seconds to push the lead back to 11. She then hit a 3 in the corner before the shot clock hit zero to complete her eight-point spurt that put the Penguins ahead 37-23.

UIC trimmed the margin to seven when Brittany Byrd opened the fourth with a three-point play with 8:52 left, but the Penguins didn't allow another point for almost five minutes. Arbanas hit a 3 on YSU's next possession, and the Penguins went on to score 11 consecutive points to go up 53-35 with 4:12 left.

YSU went up 21 for the first time when Benjamin got to 22 points with 2:11 left, and Marissa Brown scored with 29 seconds left for the final tally.

Youngstown State will begin its final road trip of the season at Northern Kentucky on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN and ESPN3.

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