Penguins Make 12 3s to Beat Detroit Mercy 76-59 in League Opener

Chelsea Olson (Photo by David Dermer)
Chelsea Olson (Photo by David Dermer)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team opened Horizon League play with a 76-59 win over Detroit Mercy on Thursday night at the Beeghly Center. The Penguins surged out to a 10-point lead by the end of the first period and never looked back on their way to the 17-point victory.

For the second straight game, the Penguins had a solid effort from beyond the 3-point arc connecting on 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) from long range against the Titans. Last time out, YSU drained a season-high 13 treys in a win over Penn State-Beaver.

The win improves YSU to 5-7 on the season and 1-0 in the Horizon League. Detroit remains winless falling to 0-12 and 0-1.

Nikki Arbanas had the hot had from long range knocking down five 3-pointers in just six attempts from beyond the arc. Arbanas finished with 17 points to pace four Penguins who finished in double figures.

Freshman Chelsea Olson was impressive in her second career start scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Sarah Cash was 5-of-7 from the field and made five free throws scoring 16 points. McKenah Peters had 11 points in her first career start for the Penguins.

Indiya Benjamin dished out a team-high nine assists and added nine rebounds and four points. On YSU's first basket of the night, Benjamin was credited with her 500th career assist.

Arbanas hit a triple on YSU's first possession of the game to put the Penguins ahead 3-2. Detroit Mercy's final lead came at 4-3, and YSU went on 11-0 run to take its first double-digit lead of the evening at 14-4. McKenah Peters and Sarah Cash started the run with treys on back-to-back possessions, and Arbanas ended it with another one at the 4:59 mark.

The lead grew to 12 three different times in the period, the final time at 25-13 on Chelsea Olson's 3-pointer that was YSU's sixth in the period.

Arbanas started the second period with a 3-pointer to put the Penguins up 28-15, and YSU's lead was at least a dozen for all but a minute of the quarter. A layup by Anne Secrest gave the Penguins a 37-22 advantage, and Benjamin's jumper in the final seconds made the margin 43-26 at halftime.

A 3-pointer by Peters pushed the lead to 21 at 49-28 just over a minute into the third period, and her three-point play at the 6:21 mark made the score 53-33 at the 6:21 mark. After a Benjamin basket gave YSU another 20-point advantage, Detroit went on an 8-0 run to get back within 55-43. But the Guins responded with the next eight points to go ahead 63-43 with 34 seconds left in the third.

In the fourth, the Titans pulled within 67-53 with 6:56 left, but that was as close as the game would get the remainder of the contest.

For the game, YSU shot 49 percent making 25-of-51 attempts while Detroit Mercy made 24-of-64 shots (37.5 percent).

The Penguins continue their homestand on Saturday when they play host to Oakland. Tipoff at the Beeghly Center is set for 1 p.m.