Complete Effort; Smolinski Barrage Lift Penguins to 92-67 Win Over CSU

Alison Smolinski
Alison Smolinski

The Youngstown State women's basketball team put together an impressive 40-minute peformance and sophomore Alison Smolinski sparkled offensively in a 92-67 win over Cleveland State on Monday night at the Beeghly Center.

Smolinski came off the bench to score a career-high 30 points and tie the school record by making eight 3-pointers. She joins Kelsea Newman (at Oakland on Nov. 28, 2015) and Kenya Middlebrooks (vs. Detroit on Jan. 26, 2012) as Penguins to make 8 3-pointers in a single contest.

The win was the third straight for YSU which improves to 7-10 overall and 2-3 in the Horizon League. Cleveland State falls to 9-8 and 4-2 in league play.

YSU scored at least 22 points in all four quarters and outscored CSU 69-44 in the final three periods.

In the second half, the Penguins made 14-of-27 shots from the field and 9-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc. YSU made 14 3-pointers on 31 attempts and committed just six turnovers while forcing 16 CSU miscues. The Penguins had a 27-3 points-off turnovers advantage in snapping a four-game losing streak in the series.

Indiya Benjamin had her best scoring night of the season finishing with 20 points and seven assists. Jenna Hirsch added 10 points and six assists as well. The duo each had three steals. 

YSU took control of the game late in the third period. The Penguins led 54-46 at the 4:55 mark of the third period before finishing the frame on a 15-7 run and grab a 69-53 lead. In the fourth, the lead was never under 14 points and the biggest margin was 27 with a minute left (92-65).

The Penguins had a solid second quarter outscoring the Vikings 22-15 to take a 45-38 lead at halftime.

Leading the charge in the second quarter was Benjamin who scored 10 points making 5-of-8 shots.

With the contest tied at 25, YSU went on a 10-2 spurt taking a 35-27 lead with 6:34 left in the period on a Hirsch layup that forced CSU to call timeout.

With the contest 35-29, Benjamin scored the next 10 points in a row in the final 4:05. Her layup with 1:17 left gave the Guins their biggest lead of the half at 45-35.

YSU shot 44.7 percent (17-of-38) in the first half and made five 3-pointers. CSU made 13-of-30 attempts (43.3 percent). The Vikings opened the game by going 8-of-15 in the first quarter before making just five of 15 shots in the second.

The first quarter ended with both teams deadlocked at 23. Despite not starting for YSU, Smolinski came off the bench to lead the way with eight points.

The Penguins made 8-of-15 field-goal attempts and were 3-of-8 from 3-point range with two coming from Smolinski and the third by Kelley Wright.

The first quarter featured six ties and 10 lead changes.

The Penguins head to Michigan for two games this weekend starting with a Friday night tilt at Detroit Mercy. Tipoff at Calihan Hall is set for 7 p.m. YSU then visits Oakland on Sunday afternoon.