Penguins Fall Short in Major Comeback Bid Against Wright State

Sarah Cash (Photo by Jory Baniecki)
Sarah Cash (Photo by Jory Baniecki)

The Youngstown State women's basketball team rallied from an 18-point deficit to take a lead in the fourth period but fell short of completing the big comeback in a 69-59 loss to Wright State on Saturday at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins trailed 39-23 at halftime, and they were down 18 three different times in the first five minutes of the second half before rallying. YSU went on a 15-2 run to climb to within five late in the third period and eventually took a 56-54 lead with 3:45 left in the fourth. Wright State regrouped and outscored the Penguins 15-3 down the stretch for the 10-point victory.

Sarah Cash had 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to lead Youngstown State. Nikki Arbanas scored seven of her 10 points in the third period, and 10 different Penguins scored.

YSU, which lost by 23 at Wright State 12 days ago, did a much better job on boards in this bout with the Raiders but struggled again with turnovers. The Penguins committed 19 turnovers, which led to a decisive 23-7 scoring advantage for the Raiders in points off turnovers.

Chelsea Welch had 23 points, five assists and four steals, and Emily Vogelpohl had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Wright State.

In addition to a 14-0 edge in points off turnovers in the first half, Wright State had a 12-2 run in the first period and closed the second on a 13-2 spurt to go up 39-23 at halftime.

The Penguins led 5-3 on a Cash basket at the 8:11 mark and held Wright State's high-powered offense in check for the first four minutes. But the Raiders took an 8-5 lead on the first of three Vogelpohl 3-pointers in the first half at the 5:15, and they didn't trail until YSU took the lead at 56-54 in the fourth.

Anne Secrest's basket got the Penguins to within 8-7, but Wright State scored 12 of the next 14 points to take its first double-digit lead at 20-9. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Indiya Benjamin and Natalie Myers made the score 20-15, and the Penguins were within five twice early in the second period before the Raiders started to separate.

Mary Dunn's basket at the 6:34 mark made the score 26-21, but the Penguins didn't make another field goal for the rest of the half. Chelsea Olson's two free throws at the 3:55 mark made it 30-23, and Wright State scored nine points in the final 2:08 to go up 39-23 at halftime.

Wright State's last of three 18-point advantages came at 48-30 with 5:53 left in the third period. That's when the Penguins went on a 15-2 run to climb to within 50-45 with 1:03 remaining. Melinda Trimmer had five of those points, Olson had four, and Cash and Kelley Wright both had three.

Cash's three-point play with 6:39 left in the fourth got the Penguins to within a possession at 53-50, and Benjamin tied the score at 54 with two free throws. McKenah Peters then gave Youngstown State a 56-54 lead with 3:45 left to complete what ended up being a 26-6 run going back to when the Raiders held their final 18-point advantage.

Vogelpohl hit a jumper on Wright State's next possession, and the Raiders ended up holding Youngstown State to three points the rest of the game. A Symone Simmons jumper with 1:14 left capped an 8-0 Raiders run that put them ahead 62-56, and a Cash basket with 49 second left got the Penguins back within four. After Welch split a pair of free throws, YSU turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, and Welch made two more charity tosses to extend the lead to seven. The Penguins missed two 3-point attempts on their next possession before committing their 19th turnover of the contest.

Youngstown State shot 39.2 percent for the game, which was just behind Wright State's 39.7 percent. The Raiders made three more field goals and held a five-point advantage at the free-throw line.

YSU will begin a four-game road trip at Oakland on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO.