Fourth-Quarter Rally Leads Penguins to 67-63 Win Over Oakland

Sarah Cash
Sarah Cash

Sarah Cash scored 18 second-half points, and Nikki Arbanas made six 3-pointers to help the Youngstown State women's basketball team rally for a 67-63 victory over Oakland on Thursday at Beeghly Center.

Oakland led 44-30 with 2:30 left in the third period as Youngstown State missed 19 consecutive shots during a field-goal drought of 12:27. The Penguins outscored the Golden Grizzlies 8-1 the rest of the period to trim the deficit to seven, and YSU shot 69 percent in the fourth to outscore Oakland 29-18 in the final 10 minutes.

Cash finished the game with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and she added a career-high 14 rebounds. Arbanas scored 18 points, and Kelsea Newman added 15 off the bench. Indiya Benjamin offset a cold shooting night with eight assists.

Taylor Gleason led Oakland with 14 points, but the Penguins held her to two points in the second half.

Eight of YSU's 10 field goals in the first half were from beyond the arc, and the shooting woes that stretched into the third period allowed Oakland to take a 36-29 lead at halftime.

YSU scored the first six points of the game on 3-pointers by Kelley Wright and Benjamin, and Oakland's first lead came at 9-8 on a Sinclair Russell basket. Arbanas tied the score at 11 and 17 on 3-pointers, and Youngstown State regained the lead when her fourth triple of the contest put it ahead 23-22 at the 7:57 mark of the second period.

YSU led 25-24 when Cash was whistled for her second foul at the 6:29 mark of the second period, and Oakland outscored the Penguins 12-4 the rest of the half. The Penguins made just one of their final 12 attempts from the field in the half, a Newman 3-pointer that put them ahead 29-28 with 3:48 left. Oakland scored the final eight points of the period, with five of those coming at the free-throw line.

Arbanas made four of YSU's eight first-half 3-pointers, and the Penguins were 8-of-19 from beyond the arc as a team in the first 20 minutes. They were just 2-for-14 inside it, though, which allowed Oakland to hold a 16-4 scoring edge in the paint. Gleason matched Arbanas with 12 first-half points, and she made Oakland's only two field goals in the final five minutes.

Cash made a free-throw on YSU's first possession of the second half, but the Penguins didn't score again for more than eight minutes. Oakland was only able to go up 44-30, though, and YSU scored eight straight points to close the gap to six with 57 seconds left. Cash and Newman started the run with free throws, and Cash's putback with 1:21 remaining gave YSU its first field goal of the second half.

Cash tied the score at 45 with 8:14 remaining in the fourth, capping a 15-1 run, and her two free throws with 7:19 left gave the Penguins their first lead of the second half at 49-47. A 3 by Newman put YSU up again at 52-51, and the Penguins did not trail after Arbanas' trey with 4:55 remaining put them ahead 55-53. Her sixth 3 of the night put YSU up 64-57, and Oakland scored the next six points before YSU held off the Golden Grizzlies by making 3-of-4 at the free-throw line.

Youngstown State finished the game shooting 33 percent from the field, and it went 11-of-31 from beyond the arc. The Penguins made eight more 3s than their opponents, and they outscored Oakland by four at the free-throw line. YSU was 15-of-17 from the charity stripe in the second half.

Youngstown State will conclude its four-game home stand against Detroit on Saturday. Tipoff against the Titans is set for 4:30 p.m. at Beeghly Center.

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