Penguins Host Kent State Tuesday in Beeghly Center Opener

Alison Smolinski (Photo by Dustin Livesay)
Alison Smolinski (Photo by Dustin Livesay)

Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State will host Kent State on Tuesday in the 2017-18 home opener at Beeghly Center. Tipoff against the Penguins' nearest rival is set for 5:15 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. The contest will be part of a doubleheader with the men's program and one of four doubleheaders this season.
  • The Penguins had good moments but ultimately suffered a disappointing 66-58 loss at Pitt on Friday to open the season. YSU jumped out to a 19-8 lead and was tied with the ACC foe at 42 with two minutes left in the third period. Pitt scored the next nine points as part of a 19-5 run that built an insurmountable deficit.  YSU got within six in the final minute.
  • The Penguins are hungry to get back to their winning ways after enduring an injury-plagued 2016-17 season that ended with a 9-21 record and a first-round loss in the Horizon League Tournament. In each of the previous two seasons, YSU won 21 games and advanced to play in a postseason tournament.
  • YSU returns three players – Indiya Benjamin, Mary Dunn and Alison Smolinski – who averaged more than 11 points last season, and it also welcomes back two players – Nikki Arbanas and Sarah Cash – who averaged more than 11 points in 2015-16.
  • Benjamin scored YSU's first 10 points of the game on Friday and finished with a team-high 16. She needs just 12 more points to become the 19th player in program history to reach 1,000 for her career.
  • Arbanas and Cash were solid in their returns on Friday. Arbanas scored 15 points and played a team-high 35 minutes in her first action since March 2016. Cash scored 12 points in 12 minutes in her first game since last December.

Tickets & Promotions

  • Advance tickets for Tuesday'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 Tuesday.
  • Fans in attendance will receive a YSU Schedule Magnet courtesy of Rulli Brothers, Chemical Bank and TV-21 WFMJ.

Weekly Press Conference

Previewing Kent State

A Win Would...

  • Even YSU's record at 1-1.
  • Give YSU three wins in its last four contests against Kent State.
  • Allow YSU to win its home opener for the third time in the last four years.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State is 1-3 in four previous games played on Nov. 14. YSU lost 63-50 at Pitt on the date in 2016.
  • The Penguins last played at Beeghly Center on the date in 1998, and it resulted in a 76-66 win over current Horizon League member Wright State.

Scouting Kent State

  • Kent State returns four starters from last year's squad that went 19-13 and won the MAC East. The Golden Flashes are under the direction of second-year head coach Todd Starkey, who is a Canfield native.
  • The Golden Flashes rallied for a 59-54 win at Northern Kentucky in their season opener on Saturday. Forward Jordan Korinek scored nine of her career-high 29 points in the fourth period as Kent State outscored NKU 18-9 in the quarter.

Recapping Pitt

  • Youngstown State led Pittsburgh by 11 in the first period, but turnovers plagued the Penguins over the final 30 minutes as they fell 66-58 in the season opener on Friday night at the Petersen Events Center.
  • Behind an early burst by Indiya Benjamin, the Penguins built a 19-8 lead in the first period. YSU committed 10 turnovers in the second period, which Pitt converted into 11 points to take a 28-25 lead at halftime. The Penguins led again in the third, but Pitt had runs of 9-0 and 8-0 in the final 12 minutes to build an insurmountable lead.
  • Youngstown State rallied to get within six with 12 seconds left before Pitt made two free throws to close out the scoring.
  • Benjamin finished with 16 points and five assists. She scored the Penguins' first 10 points of the game but was held to six points over the final 34 minutes of the game.
  • YSU got solid production from their two redshirt-juniors coming back from injuries. Nikki Arbanas scored 15 points in her first game action in almost 20 months, and Sarah Cash scored 12 points in 12 minutes in her return after missing the final 23 games last year.
  • Anne Secrest grabbed eight rebounds in 21 minutes in her debut. She was the first YSU freshman to start a season opener since Nikki Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin in 2014-15. Prior to Secrest, last Penguins freshman to start a season opener at forward was Brandi Brown in 2009-10.
  • Benjamin (16), Arbanas (15), Cash (12) and Alison Smolinski (8) combined to score 51 of YSU's 58 points. The other nine Penguins who played scored seven points in 87 combined minutes.
  • YSU was an uncharacteristic 8-for-14 from the free-throw line. The Penguins ranked 14th in the country in free-throw percentage last season at 77.3 percent.