Oakland Beats YSU in Final Minutes, 85-82

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

Rochester, Mich. -- Oakland outscored the Youngstown State women's basketball team 8-2 over the final 2:20 to defeat the Penguins 85-82 in a shootout at the Athletics Center O'Rena on Saturday afternoon.

YSU trailed by as many as 10 in the second half, but it scored 11 straight points and led by five with eight minutes left. The Penguins didn't trail again until the Golden Grizzlies hit back-to-back 3-pointers to go up 83-80 with 1:49 left. The teams traded two free throws, and Heidi Schlegel's 3-point attempt to tie the score at the buzzer hit the front of the rim.

Schlegel finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Nikki Arbanas made six 3-pointers in a 20-point effort. Latisha Walker was 7-of-8 from the field and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes, and Indiya Benjamin added 10 points.

Youngstown State dropped to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in Horizon League play, and Oakland improved to 9-9 and 3-2.

Olivia Nash led Oakland with 20 points, and all five Golden Grizzlies starters scored in double figures.

Oakland held a narrow edge in shooting at 46.5 percent to 46 percent, and both teams were 11-for-30 from 3-point range. YSU held a 13-8 edge at the free-throw line, but Oakland made four more field goals, had four more offensive rebounds and committed two fewer turnovers. There were 14 ties and eight lead changes in the game.

Arbanas had three 3-pointers in the first 3:15 of the game, and a Schlegel triple at the 12:47 mark gave the Penguins a 18-13 lead, their largest in the first half. YSU was 4-for-6 from distance at that point, but it missed the next eight attempts from beyond the arc. Still, the Penguins trailed for just 20 seconds from Arbanas' third 3-pointer to the 8:35 mark of the period.

Walker's bucket gave YSU a 23-21 lead with 10:17 left, but YSU didn't have a field goal until the 6:48 mark. That field-goal drought came during a 12-2 run for Oakland that put the Golden Grizzlies up 33-25. Oakland led 44-38 at halftime.

Oakland's largest lead of the afternoon came on a Nash 3-pointer at the 15:17 mark, but Arbanas answered with a 3-pointer 30 seconds later that started an 11-0 run for the Penguins. Oakland scored six points on its next two possessions to go up 61-56, and YSU answered with a 7-0 run to take a 63-61 lead with 10:23 remaining.

The Penguins held five-point leads at 69-64 and 71-66 with just over eight minutes left, but Oakland kept making shots to keep up. YSU's final lead came with under three minutes remaining when Schlegel drove in for a bucket, and the senior added a free throw at the 2:25 mark to put the Penguins up 80-77.

Elena Popkey hit a quick 3-pointer for Oakland to tie the score, and Schlegel was whistled for a moving screen on YSU's next possession. Nash then hit another triple for the Golden Grizzlies to put them up 83-80 with 1:49 left, and she had a big offensive rebound off a missed free throw that allowed Oakland to kill more clock with less than a minute remaining.

Schlegel drew a charge with 23.7 seconds left to keep the score within a possession, and she made two free throws with 13.6 seconds left to cut the margin to one. The Penguins fouled Amy Carlton, a fifth-year senior who played three of the first 48 minutes, and she converted both attempts of the one-and-one with 12.2 seconds remaining. Jenna Hirsch couldn't get an open look at a 3 early in YSU's possession, and Schlegel had to take a contested shot several feet beyond the arc that hit the backboard and the front of the rim.

Arbanas became the first Penguin of the season to make six 3s in a game, and she had just eight attempts from 3-point range.

Youngstown State will play two games at Beeghly Center next week, starting with a contest on Wednesday against Detroit. Tipoff against the Titans is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN and ESPN3.