Four players scored in double figures to lead the Youngstown State women's basketball team to an 87-66 victory over Valparaiso on Friday night at the Beeghly Center.
Sarah Cash scored a game-high 21 points, Nikki Arbanas and Janae Jackson had 15 while Indiya Benjamin added 12 as the Penguins split the season series with the Crusaders. Cash also had 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the year.
With the win, YSU improves to 17-9 overall and 8-7 in Horizon League play while Valpo falls to 8-19 and 4-12.
The Penguins led by 10 after the first quarter, by 15 at halftime and increased its lead to 22 points (60-38) after three periods. YSU outscored the Crusaders 21-14 in the third. A high-scoring fourth period say the team's combine for 55 points. The Guins's largest lead of the night was 28 which came on three occasions in the fourth period.
For the game, YSU shot 52.6 percent making 30-of-57 shots while making 9-of-24 3-point attempts (37.5 percent). The Guins were also 18-of-23 from the free-throw line. Valpo shot 35.6 percent making 21-of-59 attempts. YSU also outrebouned Valpo 38-28.
Cash, one of the nation's top field-goal shooters, was 9-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line on the night. Arabanas knocked down three 3-pointers on the evening while Jackson was 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
The Penguins did not make a field goal for the first 3:40, which allowed Valparaiso to take a 4-1 lead, but Benjamin and Cash scored the next eight points as the Penguins went up 9-4. Cash's eighth point of the period put the Penguins up 18-8, and Marissa Brown's basket at the 1:31 mark completed an 11-2 run that gave YSU a 20-8 edge.
Valparaiso cut the deficit down to five at 29-24 when Imani Scott-Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 5:13 left before in the period. The Penguins held the Crusaders scoreless the rest of the half, and they scored the final 10 points of the half to go up 39-24 at halftime. Valpo's final eight possessions of the half resulted in five missed field goals and three turnovers.
A 3-pointer by Arbanas at the 2:52 mark pushed the lead back to double digits at 35-24, and Jenna Hirsch's triple 90 seconds later put the Penguins up 14. Cash split two free throws with 38 seconds remaining to make the score 39-24 at halftime.
Youngstown State will play its final home game of the regular season against UIC on Sunday at 5 p.m. There will be free admission as part of Sponsor Appreciation weekend.