YSU ousted from WBI

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems YSU coach John Barnes, left, argues a call with a referee Wednesday at the Beeghly Center. The Penguins lost their first-round matchup in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

YOUNGSTOWN — The postseason didn’t last long for the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team.

YSU hosted Binghamton University in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational, and the Bearcats’ press was a little too much for the Penguins in a 70-59 defeat.

“You never want to lose in the first round. I think that they (Binghamton) went on a run and we weren’t able to stop them,” YSU guard Nikki Arbanas said. “We had some open looks, but they didn’t go in at crucial moments. I thought we played hard to the end and that’s what matters.”

YSU (16-16) started the game well as the Penguins got out to a 9-6 before the media timeout with 3:06 left. Binghamton (20-11) didn’t have an answer for most of what the Penguins did offensively. The Bearcats needed a timeout just two minutes later as YSU was up 17-9. YSU led after one quarter, 19-8.

Binghamton started to slowly claw back into the game to begin the second quarter.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Youngstown State’s Nikki Arbanas (4) shoots over a Binghamton player Wednesday in Youngstown. The Penguins lost their first-round Women's Basketball Invitational matchup.

YSU got out to a 33-22 lead midway through the quarter before the Bearcats’ pressure began a 12-0 run by Binghamton. They took the lead on an Imani Watkins and-1 with 1:14 left in the half.

A Nikki Arbanas 3-pointer went in as time expired to give YSU a 36-34 halftime lead.

YSU held its slim lead for the first half of the third quarter before Binghamton took a 48-47 lead with just under two minutes left in the quarter. Binghamton led after three quarters, 53-49.

“I thought they (BU) played great,” YSU coach John Barnes said. “(Imani Watkins) played great with 27 points. We did everything that we could possible do to stop her. She has 2,100 points in her career for a reason. I’m proud of our team. I though we played hard. We just couldn’t stop her and (Alyssa) James.”

Watkins finished with 27 points while James finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Binghamton got out to a 61-52 lead and held that lead, give or take a point, for the rest of the game as it advances to the second round.

As part of the loss, YSU’s all-time assists leader, Indiya Benjamin, played her final game. She had eight points and 10 assists.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s hard to end my senior year and my basketball career with a loss,” Benjamin said. “I don’t really focus on my records and what I’ve done. I’m happy that I was able to have three winning seasons. My teammates have been wonderful and the coaching staff has been wonderful.”

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