Bench Comes Up Big in 70-62 YSU’s Victory at Milwaukee

Jenna Hirsch (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Jenna Hirsch (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team got 30 points from its bench and shot 50 percent from the field in a big 70-62 victory at Milwaukee on Saturday at the Klotsche Center.

Sarah Cash scored a team-high 18 points, and Nikki Arbanas scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth period for the Penguins, who improved to 16-8 overall and 7-6 in Horizon League play. YSU beat Milwaukee for the eighth straight time and earned an important sweep of the season series.

Jenny Lindner scored a game-high 23 points for the Panthers, who are now 13-10 overall and 7-5 in the conference.

While Cash was YSU's top scorer, Jenna Hirsch and Alison Smolinski combined to score 28 points off the bench. Hirsch scored a season-high 15 points, and Smolinski had her highest-scoring Horizon League game with 13 points. They combined for 11 points in the first half when Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin were held scoreless and were limited with foul trouble.

After being held to four points in YSU's loss at Green Bay on Thursday, Cash scored the Penguins' first six points to put them ahead 6-4. Milwaukee scored the next five points, and YSU's next lead didn't come until Kelley Wright hit her second 3-pointer of the half to put the Penguins ahead 18-16 with 7:46 left in the second.

YSU's largest lead of the half came when Smolinski's 3-pointer put it up 28-25 with 2:58 left. Milwaukee scored the next six points, and Hirsch hit a bucket in the final 40 seconds to get YSU within 31-30 at halftime.

The game flipped in the third period as YSU outscored the Panthers 26-16 and had runs of 8-0 and 11-0. Milwaukee led 40-37 with 6:55 remaining before a Cash basket kick-started the 8-0 run. A Hirsch 3-pointer put YSU up 42-40 at the 5:25 mark, and the Penguins never trailed again.

After the 8-0 run put the Penguins ahead 45-40, Milwaukee tied the score at 45 on two Emma Roennburg free throws. Kelsea Newman hit a 3-pointer on YSU's next possession, and the Penguins went on to score 11 straight points. Smolinski had two of her four 3-pointers in that spurt, and her second put YSU ahead 56-45 with 1:18 left.

Milwaukee got within four, 59-55, in the fourth period on two free throws by Lindner with 5:27 left, but it got no closer. Arbanas' only 3 put YSU back up by seven, and Hirsch banked in a 3-pointer to put the Penguins up 65-57 with 2:28 remaining. The Penguins went 5-of-6 at the free-throw line in the final minute to help hold off the Panthers.

Youngstown State was 25-for-50 from the field and made 12-of-26 from 3-point range. Milwaukee shot 35.6 percent and went 5-for-23 from beyond the arc.

Youngstown State begins a three-game home stand on Saturday when it hosts Cleveland State at 1 p.m.

Get to Know Kelley Wright
November 6, 2015 Get to Know Kelley Wright
Get to Know Melinda Trimmer
November 5, 2015 Get to Know Melinda Trimmer
Get to Know Alison Smolinski
November 4, 2015 Get to Know Alison Smolinski
Get to Know Morgan Olson
November 3, 2015 Get to Know Morgan Olson
Get to Know Kelsea Newman
November 2, 2015 Get to Know Kelsea Newman
Get to Know Janae Jackson
October 30, 2015 Get to Know Janae Jackson
Get to Know Jenna Hirsch
October 29, 2015 Get to Know Jenna Hirsch
Get to Know Sarah Cash
October 28, 2015 Get to Know Sarah Cash
Get to Know Marissa Brown
October 27, 2015 Get to Know Marissa Brown
Get to Know Jill Blacksten
October 26, 2015 Get to Know Jill Blacksten
Get to Know Indiya Benjamin
October 23, 2015 Get to Know Indiya Benjamin
Get to Know Nikki Arbanas
October 22, 2015 Get to Know Nikki Arbanas