Youngstown State senior point guard Indiya Benjamin joined the 1,000-point club, but the Penguins struggled to make shots in a 55-44 loss to Kent State on Tuesday at Beeghly Center.
Benjamin scored a team-high 12 points to finish the night with exactly 1,000 points. Her 10th point put Youngstown State ahead 25-18 just over a minute into the third period, but Kent State went on an 18-2 run over the next six minutes to go up 36-27. Benjamin's final bucket that allowed her to reach the milestone came with 12.5 seconds left.
In addition to Benjamin's 12 points, Sarah Cash had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. She was the only Penguin to attempt more than four shots and shoot at least 50 percent. YSU shot 30.4 percent as a team, including 28.6 percent in the second half as it was outscored 37-24.
Alexa Golden had 17 points, and McKenna Stephens had 16 points on just 10 field goal attempts to lead the Golden Flashes.
Youngstown State limited the Golden Flashes to two points in the opening period and led 11-2 after 10 minutes. The Golden Flashes were 1-for-8 from the field with eight turnovers, which YSU turned into five points.
The lead grew to 14-4 when Anne Secrest scored on a drive and added a free throw with 8:03 left. Kent State scored the next seven points as part of a 14-3 run that gave the Golden Flashes their first lead at 18-17 with 1:55 left. McKenah Peters hit a 3-pointer on YSU's next possession to make the score 20-18, and the score remained that way for the final 90 seconds of the half.
Secrest and Benjamin both had five points in the opening half, and Secrest added four rebounds.
Benjamin scored the first five points of the second half to push YSU's lead to 25-18, but Kent State scored the next 13 points as part of its 18-2 run. The lone YSU basket in the stretch was by Mary Dunn at the 3:28 mark. Alison Smolinski's 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer made the score 38-32, and YSU got within four three times early in the fourth period before another cold stretch allowed Kent State to pull away.
A Cash basket cut the deficit to 42-38 at the 8:18 mark, but YSU did not score again until Smolinski had a steal and layup with 1:36 left. By that time, Kent State had built an insurmountable 49-38 advantage.
In addition to shooting 30.4 percent from the field, YSU also committed 19 turnovers. The Penguins forced Kent State into 18 turnovers, and the Golden Flashes shot below 50 percent in three of the four periods.
Youngstown State will play at Loyola Chicago on Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern.