Penguins sweep Norse
Arbanas clutch with final free throws
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY.
Solid free-throw shooting by Nikki Arbanas in the final 12 seconds help the Youngstown State University’s women’s team earn a sweep against Northern Kentucky.
The Penguins used a hot start to build a big lead then held on late for the 60-59 victory on Monday.
Tthe Penguins won for the sixth straight time on the road and notched their eighth win in the last 10 games.
YSU (14-14, 10-7 Horizon League) also guaranteed itself a spot in the top six of the standings and earned a bye to the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament.
YSU made seven of its first 10 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc and led 23-9 after 13 minutes.
The Norse (8-19, 6-10) fought back to get within four at halftime and rallied to get within one with 2:54 left in the fourth.
YSU got a stop on defense, and Indiya Benjamin hit a big layup with 1:42 left to push the lead to 57-54.
After another Penguins’ stop with fewer than 40 seconds left, Benjamin drew a foul on a drive to force the Norse to extend the game by sending YSU to the free-throw line.
Arbanas split a pair of charity tosses with 11.2 seconds left to make the score 58-54.
Then, the Norse’s Mikayla Terry missed a big bonus free throw with 6.9 seconds on the clock that would have brought the Norse to within one again.
Arbanas finished with two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to give YSU a two-possession lead at 60-56.
Samari Mowbray hit an uncontested 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final tally.
Arbanas finished with a team-high 14 points, and she made three of YSU’s nine 3-pointers. She held NKU leading scorer Molly Glick to five points and helped force her into five turnovers.
Sarah Cash added 12 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. McKenah Peters had 11.
Terry matched Arbanas with 14 points in her final home game to lead NKU.
Youngstown State led from wire to wire, and its first seven field goals of the game were all from beyond the 3-point line.
YSU led 18-9 at the end of the first period, and Cash’s bucket at the 8:30 mark of the second gave the Penguins their first two-point basket and a 23-9 advantage. NKU allowed just three field goals the rest of the half, and it outscored the Penguins 6-1 over the final 3:30 to get to within 31-27.
Youngstown State scored the first seven points of the second half on two Dunn baskets and an Arbanas triple to extend the lead to 11 and force an NKU timeout. That allowed the Norse to regroup, and they scored the next five points over the next four minutes to keep the game close. YSU led 46-40 at the end of the third.
Cash put the Penguins up eight twice in the first two minutes of the fourth, but a 3-pointer by Grayson Rose brought NKU to within 51-49 with 6:23 left.
Cash scored the next four points to protect the lead, and NKU got within one at 55-54 with 2:54 left. Benjamin’s clutch drive put the Penguins up 57-54 with 1:42 left and set the stage for Arbanas to close out the win.
Youngstown State finished 9-of-26 from 3-point range, which helped offset NKU making 10 more free throws than the Penguins. YSU held a 37-28 edge in rebounding.