Benjamin's Late Basket, Olson's Double-Double Lead Penguins to 54-51 Win Over NKU

Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Trevor Parks)
Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Trevor Parks)

Indiya Benjamin hit a go-ahead floater with 24.7 seconds left, and the Youngstown State women's basketball team shook off a rough start to beat Northern Kentucky 54-51 on Thursday evening at Beeghly Center.

NKU led by 12 in the first quarter after scoring 21 points in the first seven minutes, but the Penguins got within one at halftime and led for most of the second half. They held a 49-46 lead after Chelsea Olson hit a pair of free throws with 7:03 left, but YSU went scoreless for more than five minutes as the Norse took a 51-49 lead.

Sarah Cash tied the score with 1:35 left, and Benjamin's basket following a Cash offensive rebound put the Penguins ahead 53-51. Cash played solid defense in the post to force a miss on NKU's possession, and Benjamin was fouled with 2.3 seconds left. She made the first of two free throws but missed the second, and she stole an NKU pass near half court to seal the win.

Olson collected her first career double-double with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Cash finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Benjamin finished with seven points and six assists.

Molly Glick scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Norse.

After Cash scored on the opening possession of the game, Northern Kentucky scored the next 11 points and went on to take a 21-9 lead seven minutes into the game. The Norse made eight of their first 11 attempts from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range, as they took their 12-point lead.

YSU started to clamp down on defense and held the Norse scoreless for the final 3:11 of the first period. That allowed the Penguins to get within 21-17 at the break, and Mikayla Terry's 3-pointer at the 7:38 mark was NKU's only field goal for the first nine minutes of the second.

The Penguins tied the game at 24 on an Anne Secrest basket with 4:16 left in the second period, and they regained the lead on a Mary Dunn jumper with 1:58 left. That was their last field goal of the half, and NKU scored from an offensive rebound and a turnover in the final minute to take a 28-27 lead at halftime.

Olson hit a 3-pointerat the 7:43 mark of the third period to put the Penguins up 30-28, and YSU led by five three different times in the quarter. NKU used a 6-0 run to go up 43-42 with 55 seconds left, and Nikki Arbanas answered with a triple to put YSU back on top 45-43. The Penguins led until Taryn Taugher's layup gave the Norse their 51-49 lead with 2:57 left in the fourth.

After starting 8-for-11, NKU finished the half making just three of its final 21 attempts from the field. The Norse were 3-for-16 in the fourth period and finished the game making 33.9 percent. They stayed in the game by forcing YSU into 22 turnovers, which led to 24 NKU points.

Youngstown State shot 48.8 percent overall, including 65.2 percent inside the 3-point arc. While the Penguins were outscored by 17 off turnovers, they were plus-10 in the paint and had a 9-0 edge on free throws.

Youngstown State will remain home to host Wright State on Saturday at 1 p.m. Fans in attendance will receive a YSU Water Bottle courtesy of State Farm, Mercy Health and TV-21 WFMJ.