Milwaukee's Jamie Reit picked up a loose ball and buried a 15-footer at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 62-61 win over the Youngstown State women's basketball team on Saturday at the Klotsche Center.
In a back-and-forth game in which Milwaukee scored nine points on buzzer-beaters in the final 10-plus minutes, the Penguins got gut-wrenching bad luck at the worst time.
YSU led 61-60 and broke up Milwaukee's primary option in the final sequence by double-teaming Steph Kostowicz. Kostowicz's pass out of traffic went to Jenny Lindner, who had the ball tipped away initially and once again after she got possession. The ball bounced sideways to Reit, who was not part of the original play, and she got the winning shot off with less than a second remaining.
Youngstown State's Sarah Cash scored a game and season-high 28 points, and her bucket with 3:28 left gave the Penguins a 61-55 lead. That was YSU's eighth straight made field-goal attempt, but the Penguins did not score again for the rest of the game. Indiya Benjamin scored 16 points, including nine straight at one point for YSU in the fourth period.
Kostowicz finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Lindner had 15 points and nine rebounds for Milwaukee.
In a game where the lead changed hands 11 times and the score was tied six times, Milwaukee's four makes to beat the buzzer loomed large.
Kostowicz made an underhand, left-handed scoop shot around Mary Dunn to beat the third-quarter buzzer and give the Panthers a 46-42 lead. Alyssa Fischer then hit a long, contested 3 to beat the shot clock on the first possession of the fourth period, and Lindner hit a basket at the end of the shot clock later in the period to tie the score at 53.
YSU led by three six different times in the first six minutes of the game, and Cash's eighth point in the first six minutes gave the Penguins a 13-10 lead. Milwaukee scored the next five points to take its first lead at 15-13, and nine of those first 15 points came from offensive rebounds. YSU held the Panthers without a field goal for the final 2:44 of the period, and a 3-pointer by Chelsea Olson and a Cash jumper allowed the Penguins to score the last five points of the period to take an 18-15 lead.
The lead changed hands five times in the opening minutes of the second period, and Cash tied the game at 24-24 with 5:41 remaining. The Penguins missed their final nine field-goal attempts and didn't score for the rest of the half, but they kept Milwaukee from pulling away. The Panthers scored just six points in that stretch and led 30-24 at halftime.
YSU scored the first five points of the third period and eventually reclaimed the lead at 33-32 on a Cash basket. A three-point play by Anne Secrest at the 5:50 mark tied the score at 36, but Fischer scored the next five points for Milwaukee. The Panthers, with the benefit of those two buzzer-beaters at the end of the third and the start of the fourth, led until Benjamin's heroics.
UWM's lead was 51-44 when YSU scored nine straight points to go up 53-51. Cash started the run with a basket, and Benjamin scored the next seven points. She scored again to put the Penguins up 55-53 with 5:26 left, and they did not trail again until after the final horn sounded. Six straight points by Cash put YSU up 61-55 with 3:28 left, and the Panthers went on to score the final seven points of the game.
Lindner made a 3 at the 1:48 mark, and Kostowicz sank two free throws with 49 seconds left for Milwaukee's 12th and 13th points of the game following offensive rebounds to make the score 61-60. Olson had a 3-pointer that would have been a dagger go halfway down before coming out on YSU's final possession.
Youngstown State will look to bounce back quickly as it plays at Wright State on Monday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO and ESPN3.