Penguins Turn Focus to UIC for Saturday Contest

Kelley Wright (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Kelley Wright (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State continues its weekend in Chicagoland when it plays at UIC on Saturday. Tipoff at the UIC Pavilion is set for 4 p.m. Eastern, and the game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
  • YSU will be looking to snap two streaks on Saturday against the Flames. The Penguins have lost five straight games since their win over Cleveland State on Jan. 16. YSU is also looking to stop a 13-game skid in true road games dating back to last season.
  • The Penguins are coming off a 77-60 loss at Valparaiso on Thursday. The Crusaders used big runs in each of the final three periods and their size advantage to control the paint and offensive glass in the win.
  • The Penguins have been decimated by injuries to significant players this season. YSU has had 11 different starting lineups as a result, including a different combination in each of the last five games.
  • Three of YSU's top five scorers from last season are out for the year with injuries. Additionally, Mary Dunn, the Horizon League's freshman leader in scoring, field-goal percentage and blocks, has missed each of the last two games.
  • Alison Smolinski leads the Horizon League with 53 3-pointers, 35 of which have come in nine conference games.
  • YSU has made at least nine 3-pointers in 11 of the last 14 games after having eight or fewer in each of its first eight contests of the season. The Penguins need 18 more 3s to make 200 for the seventh consecutive season.

A Win Would...

  • End a five-game losing streak.
  • Improve YSU's Horizon League record to 4-8.
  • Give YSU a regular-season sweep of UIC.
  • Be YSU's first road win of the season.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State is 6-8 all time in games played on Feb. 4, the Penguins are playing on the date for the second straight season. YSU beat Oakland 67-63 at Beeghly Center last season.
  • Oddly, the last seven games that YSU has played on Feb. 4 have come at Beeghly Center. YSU's last road game on the date came in 1989 at Morehead State.
  • YSU allowed just 31 points in a 53-31 win over Kent State-Tuscarawas in 1976. That was the third-fewest points ever scored by an opponent.
  • Individually, Dianne Rappach made seven 7s at Morehead State in 1989. Two Penguins have scored at least 30 points on Feb. 4 – Wanda Grant at Kent State in 1981 and Tanja Simione in 1987.

Scouting UIC

  • UIC enters Saturday's game with 4-18 overall record and a 1-10 mark in Horizon League play. The Flames lost 63-59 to Cleveland State on Thursday, and they beat Valparaiso 74-60 last Saturday.
  • The Flames rank second in the Horizon League with 10 steals per game, and they average a league-leading 15.4 offensive rebounds per contest. UIC is ninth in scoring offense and eighth in scoring defense.

Series with UIC

  • Youngstown State is 16-19 all time versus UIC, and the Penguins have won seven of the last nine contests against the Flames. YSU swept the season series in 2015-16 and won 70-54 on Jan. 12.
  • YSU has fared reasonably well at the UIC Pavilion, especially recently. The Penguins have won four straight in Chicago and is 8-9 at UIC.

Recently vs. UIC

  • In Youngstown on Jan. 12, Morgan Brunner scored 20 points, and YSU puilled away in the fourth period for a 70-54 victory. Brunner made five 3s, and three other Penguins scored in double figures. YSU held UIC to five points in the third period and outscored teh Flames 25-14 in the fourth.
  • Last year in Chicago, YSU led for more than 36 minutes in a 69-64 win on Jan. 21. UIC's only lead in the game was 2-0. Sarah Cash scored 23 points to help YSU build a 15-point lead in the third period.

Recapping Valparaiso

  • Amber Lindfors had a career night, and Valparaiso got off to big runs in each of the final three periods to beat Youngstown State 77-60 on Thursday at the ARC.
  • With the score tied at 25-25 after the first period, Valparaiso started the second on a 15-2 run. The lead was double digits for all but 17 seconds the rest of the game. The Crusaders started the third period on a 12-3 spurt, and they began the fourth on a 12-2 run.
  • With YSU starting center Mary Dunn out with an injury, Lindfors scored a career-high 22 points and matched her high with 11 rebounds. She had 12 points in the last three matchups against YSU over the previous two years.
  • Alison Smolinski led the Penguins with 14 points and four 3-pointers, and Indiya Benjamin was the only other YSU player in double figures with 11 points. Melinda Trimmer and Natalie Myers both had eight off the bench.
  • Valpo's lead grew to 60-39 with 2:46 left in the third when YSU made a charge by scoring the final nine points of the period to get within a dozen. The Crusaders' run to start the fourth thwarted any comeback chance.
  • Valparaiso scored 21 of its points on 21 offensive rebounds, and the Crusaders also held a 32-14 edge in the paint.
  • YSU had 14 turnovers in the first half and five in the second half. The Penguins shot shot 58.8 percent in the first period but weren't above 38 percent in any of the last three.
  • Trimmer hit two 3-pointers in the game – one to beat the buzzer in the first period and another in the final seconds of the third. She is averaging 7.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in the last five games.
  • Morgan Brunner had five points to surpass 100 for the season.