Arbanas, Schlegel Leads Penguins Past Detroit, 73-55, Advance to HL Semis

Nikki Arbanas (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Nikki Arbanas (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Youngstown, Ohio -- Nikki Arbanas and Heidi Schlegel each scored 22 points, and Latisha Walker posted a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Youngstown State women's basketball team to a 73-55 win over Detroit in the Horizon League Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday night at the Beeghly Center.

Arbanas went 7-of-12 from the floor, including five 3-pointers, while Schlegel made 9-of-10 free throw attempts and grabbed eight rebounds.

With the win, the Penguins improve to 21-9 overall and advance to the Horizon League Tournament Semifinals for the third straight year. Detroit's season comes to an end with an overall record of 12-18.

The Penguins advance to play No. 1 Green Bay on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Leading Detroit was Rosanna Reynolds with 18 points, and Darianne Seward had 17 points. Haleigh Ristovski added 11 points.

The Penguins held a significant advantage on the glass outrebounding the Titans, 44-30, and converted 23-of-26 free-throw attempts.

Arbanas made two clutch shots late in the second half to stave off any Detroit comeback attempt. The Titans trailed by as many as 13 points, 43-30, with 14:31 left, and cut the Penguins lead down to six, 47-41, with 8:19 to go. That is when Arbanas buried her fifth 3-pointer of the game to stop the Detroit 11-4 run and give the Penguins a nine-point lead, 50-41, left at the 8:03 mark. Her five 3s tied for the most by a Penguin in a Horizon League Tournament game.

Arbanas put the Penguins up by double figures for good when she converted an old-fashioned three-point play on a drive down the right side of the lane. The conversion gave the Penguins a 55-45 advantage with 5:47 left, and the Titans would not get any closer.

The Penguins made 10 of their final 12 free throws over the last 1:32 to seal the win.

The game was tied at 6-6 for nearly three minutes before the Penguins used a 10-0 to take a 16-6 lead with 11:42 left.  Newman started the surge with a 3-pointer and followed by a driving layup by Benjamin. Schlegel intercepted a Detroit pass that led to triple by Jenna Hirsch. Arbanas closed out the run with driving layup.

Youngstown State again led by 10, 21-11, before the Titans made a layup and a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half with 6:58 remaining.

Schlegel pushed the Penguins lead back to 10 with a layup and a pair of free throws with 3:06 left, and after a pair of Detroit baskets, Schlegel closed out the first-half scoring with a jumper with 16 seconds left to give YSU a 29-21 halftime lead.

Detroit made just two of its last 12 field goal attempts and shot just 29 percent from the floor. The Penguins shot 34.5 percent from the field, but made five 3-pointers.