Penguins Lose Regular-Season Finale, Will Be Tournament's Sixth Seed

Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Youngstown State's Indiya Benjamin tied her career high with 22 points, but Wright State led for 38 minutes to defeat the Penguins 77-66 on Sunday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Penguins finish the regular season with an 18-11 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Horizon League play. Youngstown State will be No. 6 seed in the Horizon League Tournament and will play No. 7 Oakland on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Wright State finishes the regular season 22-9 overall and 12-6 in conference play, and the Raiders will be the tournament's third seed.

Wright State scored the first six points of the game and never trailed, and five Raiders scored in double figures. The Raiders controlled the inside with a 44-22 scoring edge in the paint, and Wright State turned 12 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.

Benjamin led all players with her 22 points, and she was 9-of-14 from the field. Nikki Arbanas scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half, and Janae Jackson scored 12. Sarah Cash scored seven of her nine points in the second half, but no other Penguin had more than four points.

Benjamin scored seven of Youngstown State's nine points in the first period as the Raiders led 16-9 after 10 minutes, and Wright State scored six straight to go up 26-13 on a Lexi Smith jumper at the 5:29 mark of the second period. YSU scored next seven points on a 3-pointer by Kelsea Newman and back-to-back jumpers by Benjamin to cut the margin to four, and an Arbanas triple got the Penguins within 30-27 with 2:23 left in the half. That was YSU's final field goal of the half, and the Raiders led 34-28 at halftime.

A three-point play by Cash on the first possession of the second half made the score 34-31, but Wright State scored the next 10 points to get its lead back to 13 with 7:44 left in the period. The difference increased to 15 on a Kim Demmings bucket at the 6:30 mark, but YSU fought back again with a 9-2 run to get within 50-42 on an Arbanas trey. That's as close as the Penguins would get.

Wright State upped its lead back to 14 by the end of the period, and YSU didn't cut the margin to single digits until the final minute.

Smith led the Raiders with 15 points off the bench, and Richelle van der Keijl finished with 14 in 20 minutes. That duo combined to go 13-for-16 from the field. Demmings, the Horizon League's all-time scoring leader, finished with 10 points in the final regular-season game of her career.

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