Cleveland State Rallies To Beat YSU, 73-62

Jenna Hirsch (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Jenna Hirsch (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Cleveland State had an 11-0 run and closed the game on an 18-5 spurt to rally for a 73-62 victory over the Youngstown State women's basketball team on Wednesday evening at the Wolstein Center.

The victory allowed the Vikings to move a game ahead of the Penguins in the Horizon League standings with one game remaining. Cleveland State improved to 17-11 overall and 9-6 in league play, while YSU dropped to 19-9 and 8-7.

Youngstown State made 10 3-pointers in the first half to build a 40-34 lead at halftime, and the Penguins led 52-44 with 14:13 left. Cleveland State turned up the defensive pressure and scored the next 11 points to go up 55-52, and it outscored YSU 18-5 over the final seven minutes.

Heidi Schlegel led the Penguins with 18 points and eight rebounds, and she scored 14 of those points in the second half as Cleveland State tightened its perimeter defense. Kelsea Newman scored all 12 of her points in the first half, and Jenna Hirsch tied her season high with 12 points off the bench.

Imani Gordon scored 14 of her game-high 25 points in the second half to lead Cleveland State's rally.

Youngstown State trailed by as many as seven in the first half before starting its barrage of 3-pointers over the final nine minutes of the period. The Penguins made nine of their final 11 attempts from beyond the arc in the period.

Cleveland State scored eight of the first 10 points of the game, and Nikki Arbanas made YSU's first triple of the evening at the 16:56 mark to make the score 8-5. That was YSU's only trey in the first 11 minutes of the half.

Arbanas' second triple with 8:39 left came right after the Vikings took their largest lead of the half on a Gordon bucket. Newman followed with another triple on YSU's next possession, and her trey at the 5:04 mark gave the Penguins their first lead of the night at 23-21.

Hirsch's 3-pointer at the 3:29 mark sparked a 14-7 run for the Penguins over the final 3:29 of the half. Indiya Benjamin put the Penguins ahead by six for the first time on a 3-pointer with 2:01 left, and Hirsch's third triple of the period in the final five seconds made the score 40-34 at halftime.

YSU led by eight in the first minute of the second half and again at 52-44. Gordon had eight of Cleveland State's points during the 11-0 run that put it up 55-52 with 9:26 remaining. Schlegel scored the next five points to give YSU a 57-55 lead with 7:03 left, but Cleveland State held the Penguins to five points the rest of the way. YSU missed five free throws in the final 3:26.

Cleveland State outscored YSU 26-8 off turnovers and 17-4 on offensive rebounds.

Youngstown State will play its regular season finale at Beeghly Center on Saturday against Valparaiso. Tipoff will be at 2:05 p.m., and seniors Heidi Schlegel and Latisha Walker will be recognized prior to the game.

Additionally, the first 300 fans will receive a replica t-shirt of Schlegel's jersey.