The Youngstown State women's basketball team outscored Tennessee State by 16 points in the third quarter thanks to a pair of double-digit runs which helped propel the Penguins to a 69-58 win over the Tigers on Wednesday night at the Beeghly Center.
In the third period, the Penguins scored 12 straight to start the period and 10 consecutive points to end the stanza in the come-from-behind victory. With the win, YSU improves to 10-2 on the campaign while Tennessee State falls to 5-8.
Leading the way offensive for YSU was Sarah Cash who scored a career-best 22 points. Cash was 8-of-9 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. She stepped up in the second half scoring 17 of her points with eight in the third and nine in the fourth. Cash had five in the first two periods.
Indiya Benjamin finished with 11 points, all of which came in the second half. She had seven during the Penguins' third-quarter spurts. Alison Smolinski finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and made three 3-pointers.
The third quarter was all YSU as they erased an eight-point halftime deficit by opening the half with 12 consecutive points to go from down 35-27 to in front 39-35. During the 5:42 run, the Tigers missed eight shots and committed two turnovers.
YSU tied the game at 35 on a three-point play by Cash. On their next possession, the Guins took their first lead since 12-10 in the first quarter on a Janae Jackson layup. Jackson grabbed an offensive rebound, kicked it out to Benjamin who found Jackson inside for the second. The run continued when Jackson knocked down a pair of free throws putting YSU ahead 39-35.
But Tennessee State scored the next six points taking a 41-39 lead on a Brianna Lawrence jumper with 3:20 left in the period.
However, the Guins closed out the final 3:20 on a 10-0 run grabbing a 49-41 lead after three. Benjamin drained a 3-pointer, he first points of the night, to give YSU a 42-41 lead with 2:38 remaining. Cash scored on a fast-break layup as Benjamin found her to extend the advantage to 44-41. Next time down the floor, Benjamin drained a triple to make the contest 47-41. Benjamin and Kelsea Newman each made free throws in the final minute of the period as the Guins scored the final 10 points of the frame.
In the third, YSU shot 46.7 percent making 7-of-15 shots while TSU was just 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) and missed on all five of its 3-point tries. The Guins hit the glass hard outrebounding the Tigers 14-7, including five on the offensive end.
YSU dominated the second half outscoring TSU 42-23. YSU was 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) from the field in the second half while the Tigers made 11-of-33 attempts (33 percent). The Guins' biggest lead was 61-48 with 4:47 left in the contest. YSU did not commit a turnover in the third quarter.
From the free-throw line YSU was 16-of-23 and for the game shot 42.9 percent (24-of-56). Tennessee State shot 38.5 percent for the contest making 25-of-65 attempts. YSU won the battle of the boards 38-33. Jackson came on strong for YSU finishing with 10 caroms.
In the first half, YSU never got on track as the Tigers took the lead midway through the first quarter and went on top 35-27 at halftime. In the opening half, YSU shot just 32 percent making 8-of-25 from the field and were outrebounded 21-14.
The Penguins finally return to Horizon League play on Saturday when they visit Detroit. Tipoff at Calihan Hall is set for noon and is the first game of a doubleheader that features the YSU men's team against the Titans at 3 p.m.