Down three players, short-handed YSU falls to Pittsburgh

Staff Report


With three players out with injuries and a fourth severely limited, Youngstown State’s women’s basketball team lost, 63-50, in a road contest against Pittsburgh on Monday.

The Penguins went into the season without senior Nikki Arbanas, who is done for the year with a knee injury. In last week’s season-opening loss to American, senior Kelsea Newman and junior Kelley Wright went down with knee and ankle injuries and were unavailable Monday. Sarah Cash was limited to 10 minutes of action.

The Penguins led 16-12 in the first period, and they trimmed a 22-point deficit down to 11 in the fourth period before coming up short.

Alison Smolinski led the Penguins with 14 points, and Indiya Benjamin scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth period. Mary Dunn and Jenna Hirsch added eight, and Natalie Myers scored six. YSU’s starting five accounted for 44 of the team’s 53 points.

Brenna Wise had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Pittsburgh, which outscored the Penguins 22-6 off turnovers.

YSU had just one turnover in the first seven minutes, but it had six in the next seven minutes as Pitt scored the final 10 points of the first period and grew its lead to 29-19 at the 6:15 mark of the second period.

Pittsburgh led 39-26 at halftime and opened the third period by scoring 11 of the first 13 points to take its largest lead of the day at 50-28. The margin stayed 20 at the end of the period, but YSU made a surge early in the fourth to close the gap.

The Penguins scored on their first three possessions of the final period on a Hirsch jumper, a Benjamin triple and a Smolinski bucket to make the score 52-39. Pitt called timeout and went on a 5-0 run, but YSU answered with an eight-point spurt that cut the deficit to 57-46 with 6:05 left. Youngstown State missed its next eight shots.

The Penguins will play two games in Hawaii this weekend. They’ll play Hawaii at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Sacramento State at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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