YSU’s 3-point record broken twice
By Greg Gulas
Youngstown State’s Nikki Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin dueled one another for the top spot in career three-pointers during Saturday’s 76-69 victory over Cleveland State at Beeghly Center.
Arbanas led the Penguins with a game-high 24 points while Benjamin scored 14.
YSU (15-14, 11-7 Horizon League) concluded the regular season with nine wins in their last 11 outings, sweeping the season series with the Vikings (19-10, 11-7).
The Penguins’ seven wins in February was the most since posting seven during the 1997-98 campaign.
Benjamin entered the game needing just two triples to break the record set by Liz Hornberger (199 from 2010-14). Arbanas needed six.
Arbanas nailed a triple from the right corner with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter for a 61-47 lead and the record.
“It’s fun that Indiya and I could do this together and on the same day,” said Arbanas, who wears a brace after knee surgery last season. “It has taken a whole season to feel normal, but I feel really good right now.”
The Penguins raced to the early 22-15 lead after one period of play, registering six of their buckets from beyond the arc. They finished with a game-high 12 three-pointers.
Arbanas and McKenah Peters each connected twice from downtown, but it was Benjamin’s triple at the 4:27 mark that gave her 199 for her career, tying Hornberger.
Back-to-back triples by Benjamin in the fourth quarter keyed a 10-0 for YSU as they opened a 75-55 advantage. Those baskets gave the senior guard from Lima the new mark with 201.
“It’s a very special night because Nikki and I came in together and were able accomplish this on the same day,” Benjamin said. “Playing hard brings out the best in us and we played that way the entire game.”
YSU opened their largest lead of the opening half, 36-23 on a Mary Dunn three-point play with 2:50 remaining, but Cleveland State (19-9, 11-6) closed the half on an 11-4 run to close to within 40-34 heading to the locker room.
A bucket by Chelsea Olson with 4:00 remaining gave YSU their largest lead of the game, 75-55 before Cleveland State finished the game on a 14-1 in order to make the game respectable.
“It’s pretty special when you have two three-point shooters like Indiya and Nikki,” head coach John Barnes said. “Indiya is the all-time leader in three-point goals, games started, games played and assists, and I am so proud of her.
“Nikki is still recovering, but is getting better every week and has more bounce in her step each game.”