Big Fourth Quarter Pushes Penguins Past Hornets, 102-94

Indiya Benjamin
Indiya Benjamin

Youngstown State outscored Sacramento State by 15 in the fourth period and had its highest scoring game in 18 years in a 102-94 win over the Hornets on Sunday at Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center.

Sacramento State led by as many as 12 in the second half, and the Hornets had a 76-67 advantage entering the fourth. The Penguins scored 35 points in the final 10 minutes, 13 of which came from the free-throw line.

The Penguins had their highest-scoring game since scoring 106 points against Chicago State on Jan. 5, 1998. YSU also had six players score in double figures since March 4, 2000.

Indiya Benjamin scored a game-high 21 points, and Mailee Jones finished with 18. Also scoring in double figures were Jenna Hirsch with 17, Mary Dunn with 15, Sarah Cash with 14 and Alison Smolinski with 10.

The Penguins shot 52.9 percent from the field, and they were 6-for-14 from 3-point range. YSU was 24-for-30 from the free-throw line for the game.

Sacramento State, which had allowed at least 91 points in each of their first four games, was led by Maranne Johnson's 13 points. The Hornets, who led the country in 3-pointers and steals last season, went 9-for-41 from 3-point range.

Youngstown State led by as many as 10 in the first period when Cash scored to put the Penguins up 26-16 with 1:22 left. YSU still led by eight at 32-24 at the 7:37 mark, and the Penguins didn't trail until Johnson scored with 51 seconds left to put Sacramento State up 44-42 at halftime.

The Hornets went on an 11-2 run in the third period to go up 59-49 at the 6:11 mark, and they extended their lead to a dozen with 3:50 remaining. Justyce Dawson scored on the final possession of the period to make the score 76-67 heading into the final 10 minutes.

The Hornets' lead was 85-76 with 7:43 remaining, and that's when YSU made its run. The Penguins scored 13 consecutive points over the next three minutes to go up 89-85. Benjamin hit a 3-pointer for the go-ahead bucket at the 4:59 mark, and Cash put the Penguins up 89-85 on the next possession.

Hirsch had six points on one trip down the floor two minutes later to put the Penguins up 97-88. She made two free throws, and Sacramento State's Emily Easom was whistled for a technical after the second free throw went in. Hirsch then hit the two technical free throws, and she scored on a jumper at the 2:23 mark. The margin was never closer than eight the rest of the way.

Hirsch scored 10 of her 17 points, and Benjamin and Smolinski both had seven.

Youngstown State will host Tiffin on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.