Penguins Begin WBI Wednesday Against Binghamton

Indiya Benjamin (Photo by David Dermer)
Indiya Benjamin (Photo by David Dermer)

Scouting Report

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team will play in a postseason tournament for the third time in the last four years as it hosts Binghamton in the opening round of the Women's Basketball Invitational on Wednesday. Tipoff at Beeghly Center is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and WatchESPN. The opening round is presented locally by Medical Mutual of Ohio.
  • The Penguins are playing in the WBI for the second time in the last three seasons. They won a pair of home games before losing at eventual champion Louisiana in the semifinals in 2016. In recent years, YSU also played in the Women's NIT in 2013 and 2015.
  • Youngstown State had to make a major charge to become postseason eligible. The Penguins had a 6-12 record on Jan. 19, but they've won 10 of their last 13 games to improve to 16-15. YSU's RPI has skyrocketed from 267 on Jan. 19 to its current mark of 139. That 128-rank improvement is the largest in the country over that span.
  • YSU reached the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament before falling 66-45 to top-seeded Green Bay. Sarah Cash scored the 1,000th point of her career in the contest.
  • YSU tied a school record for Horizon League wins with 11, matching the 2012-13 team that went 11-5. The Penguins won a school-record six Horizon League road contests.
  • Indiya Benjamin was named Second-Team All-Horizon League, and Chelsea Olson was voted to the All-Freshman Team. Benjamin has set program career records for assists, 3-pointers, games played and games started. She is 14 minutes behind the current record for career minutes.
  • The Penguins are one of 11 teams in the country to make at least 200 3-pointers in each of the last eight seasons, and they've led the league in 3s per game in four straight years.
  • YSU is one of five Horizon League teams that will be playing in the postseason. Tournament champion Green Bay is in the NCAA Tournament, and IUPUI, Wright State and Milwaukee are each in the Women's NIT.
  • Based on RPI, YSU is in the toughest quadrant of the 16-team WBI bracket. The four teams in YSU's quadrant have an average RPI of 142.75, and all four teams have an RPI of 161 or better. Youngstown State has the third-best RPI in the field at 139, which is behind Central Arkansas (123) and potential second-round opponent Yale (126).
  • If YSU can make a run in the tournament, it will see some unfamiliar opponents. YSU has never played 12 of the other 15 teams in the WBI field. The only teams it has played previous are UC Irvine, Weber State and Stetson, and the Penguins have played those teams a combined four times.

Tickets

  • Advance tickets for Wednesday's game are available at the YSU Athletic Ticket Office in Stambaugh Stadium. Tickets can be ordered over the phone by calling (330) 941-1YSU.
  • The ticket office is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Beeghly Center Ticket Office will open at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Previewing Binghamton

A Win Would...

  • Improve YSU's all-time record in the WBI to 3-1.
  • Be the program's fifth postseason win.
  • Give YSU 17 wins on the season and guarantee it a winning record.
  • Be the Penguins' 11th victory in the last 14 games.

On This Date

  • Wednesday will be the 20-year anniversary of when the Penguins beat Memphis 91-80 in the opening round of the 1997-98 NCAA Tournament. That was the program's first postseason win.

Scouting The Bearcats

  • Binghamton is playing in its first postseason as a Division I program and enters the WBI with a 19-11 record. The Bearcats lost 72-68 in overtime to Hartford in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament in their last contest.
  • Binghamton won its final five non-conference games as part of a six-game winning streak and it had won eight out of nine games before dropping its three most recent contests.
  • The Bearcats led the America East in field-goal percentage defense (35.6 percent), and it ranked second in scoring defense.
  • Senior Imani Watkins was named the America East Player of the Year, and she leads the Bearcats with 20.2 points per game. She takes almost a third of the team's shots. Alyssa James is the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, and Kai Moon is a third-team honoree.

Series History

  • Wednesday's contest will be the first between Youngstown State and Binghamton in women's basketball.

 YSU vs. the America East

  • The Penguins are 5-1 all time in games played against teams in the America East Conference. YSU beat Stony Brook and UMBC in the first two rounds of the 2016 WBI. YSU is 2-1 against Stony Brook and 1-0 versus UAlbany, UMBC and Vermont.

Recapping Green Bay

  • YSU went toe-to-toe with #21/21 Green Bay for 20 minutes, but the Phoenix came out with a second-half spark on both ends to beat the Penguins 66-45 on March 5 in the semifinals of the Little Caesars Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship.
  • YSU led the top-seeded Phoenix by nine in the first period and 28-26 at halftime as it looked to advance to the title game for the first time. Green Bay scored the first eight points of the third period and went on to outscore the Guins 40-17 in the second half.
  • Green Bay also scored the last 10 points of the third period to go up 47-33, and the run extended to 17 straight at the 7:18 mark of the fourth.
  • YSU actually led for more than half the game. The Penguins held the upper hand for 20:29 while Green Bay was ahead for 16:40.
  • Sarah Cash led the Penguins with 12 points, and she reached 1,000 for her career when she made a free-throw at the 3:48 mark of the second period to complete a three-point play. That put the Penguins up 26-19, but Green Bay went on a 7-2 run to close out the half to build momentum.
  • Cash became the second Penguin this season to reach 1,000 points. She and Indiya Benjamin are the first YSU teammates to reach 1,000 in the same since 1999-00.
  • Nikki Arbanas made three of YSU's eight 3-pointers in the game, and she moved into a tie atop the school's career leaders list with Benjamin with 204 makes.
  • Benjamin scored all seven of her points in the first 3:10 of the game, and she helped the Penguins take a 13-4 lead at the 2:54 mark of the first period.
  • Morgan Olson hit a 3-pointer and two free throws in the final two minutes to finish with five points.
  • Mary Dunn was held to two points, but she had seven rebounds in just 12 minutes.
  • Green Bay outscored YSU 12-0 off turnovers and 9-0 off offensive rebounds in the second half as they pulled away. The Phoenix's 14 second-chance points came on just eight offensive rebounds.

Up Next

  • The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to the quarterfinals and play either Northeastern or Yale. The date and location of the contest have not been announced.