No. 5 Penguins Begin #MotorCityMadness vs. No. 4 Milwaukee on Sunday

Youngstown State Women's Basketball
Youngstown State Women's Basketball

Scouting Report

  • Fresh off its best February in 20 years, the Youngstown State women's basketball team will try to carry its hot play to end the regular season into the 2018 Little Caesars Horizon League Tournament. The Penguins are the fifth seed in the tournament and will play fourth-seeded Milwaukee on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The game from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
  • The Penguins have won nine of their last 11 games to crawl out of a 2-5 hole to start Horizon League play and up to a three-way tie for fourth place at 11-7. YSU tied for fourth in the standings with Cleveland State, who it beat in the regular-season finale, and Milwaukee.
  • Youngstown State is over .500 for the first time this season, and its RPI has skyrocketed from 267 on Jan. 19 to 154 currently. That's the highest jump in the country over that span.
  • 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.
  • YSU celebrated Senior Day with a 76-69 victory over Cleveland State on Feb. 24 in the regular-season finale. The Penguins made six of their 12 3-pointers in the first period and led for 36 minutes. YSU held a 20-point lead with 2:30 left before CSU shaved 13 points off.
  • 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.
  • 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 are on track to lead the conference in 3-pointers per game for the fourth straight year. YSU has made at least eight 3-pointers in eight straight games.
  • Both games against Milwaukee during the regular season were decided by one point. The Panthers won 62-61 at the buzzer in Milwaukee on Jan. 13, and the Penguins won 86-85 in overtime in Youngstown on Feb. 15. In fact, five of the last six contests between Youngstown State and Milwaukee have been decided by four points or fewer.
  • The Penguins will be trying to earn a spot in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament for the fourth time since the 2012-13 season. They've won at least one game in the tournament in four of the last five seasons.
  • Indiya Benjamin and Nikki Arbanas both broke the previous school record for career 3-pointers in the win over Cleveland State. Arbanas began the day four behind Benjamin and made six in the first three quarters to win the race to 200 and top Liz Hornberger's previous record of 199. Benjamin made two 3s in the fourth period to add to her triple in the first to get to 201 and pass Arbanas.

Previewing Milwaukee

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU a win in the Horizon League Tournament for the fifth time in the last six years.
  • Advance YSU to the semifinals for the fourth time.
  • Improve YSU's record to 16-14 overall.
  • Give YSU 10 wins in its last 12 games.

On This Date

  • YSU is 2-5 all time on March 4.
  • Only one of the previous seven contests was in a conference tournament. YSU beat Southern Utah 84-78 in the 2000 Mid-Con Tournament.
  • On March 4, 2013, Brandi Brown became the second Penguin to score 2,000 career points.

Scouting the Panthers

  • Milwaukee has won at least 19 games for the third straight year and enters the tournament with a 20-10 record. UWM lost 80-75 to Oakland in the regular-season finale to move into a three-way tie for fourth.
  • UWM leads the league in free-throw percentage (.775), and it ranks in the top three in scoring defense, field-goal percentage, field-goal percentage defense, rebounding margin and assists.
  • Jenny Lindner and Steph Kostowicz were both second-team All-Horizon League honorees. They ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, in the league in scoring, and they were fourth and fifth in rebounding.

This Season vs. Milwaukee

  • Both games against Milwaukee during the regular season were decided by one point. The Panthers won 62-61 at the buzzer in Milwaukee on Jan. 13, and the Penguins won 86-85 in overtime in Youngstown on Feb. 15. In fact, five of the last six contests between Youngstown State and Milwaukee have been decided by four points or fewer.

Recapping Cleveland State

  • Nikki Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin took turns breaking Youngstown State's career 3-pointers record, and the Penguins celebrated Senior Day with a 76-69 win over Cleveland State on Feb. 24 at Beeghly Center.
  • The Penguins swept the season series with Cleveland State for the first time since 2012-13, which allowed them to win the head-to-head tiebreaker and earn the fifth seed in Motor City Madness.
  • YSU led for the final 35 minutes, and the margin was 20 with 2:30 left in the game. The Penguins led 22-15 at the end of the first, and the lead grew to 29-18 three minutes into the second period. Cleveland State got within 40-34 at halftime, but YSU got the lead back up to 61-49 heading into the fourth.
  • YSU had its best rebounding margin at plus-20 since Dec. 16, 2015, against Lake Erie. The Penguins hadn't been plus-20 against a Division I opponent since 2012-13 or at least plus-20 in a Horizon League contest since outrebounding Butler by 25 on Feb. 2, 2006.
  • Arbanas scored a season-high 24 points and made six 3-pointers, and she made the 200th triple of her career at the end of the third period to break Liz Hornberger's previous record. Benjamin then made two 3s in the fourth period to jump Arbanas with 201 in her career.
  • Benjamin finished with a double-double of 14 points and a season-best 12 assists. It was her third double-double of the season and the sixth of her career. She notched at least 10 assists for the seventh time in her career, which is the third-most in program history.
  • Benjamin and Arbanas combined for 34 of YSU's 61 field goal attempts overall, and they shot 24 of the Penguins' 37 tries from beyond the 3-point arc.
  • YSU attempted 17 3-pointers in the first period and went 6-for-17 in the period. It was the second straight contest in which the Penguins made six 3s in the first quarter.
  • McKenah Peters scored 12 points off the bench for YSU, which got 27 points total from its reserves. Peters scored in double figures for the second straight game.
  • While YSU's posts didn't get many shot attempts, they were very efficient. Mary Dunn was 4-for-4 from the field, Sarah Cash was 2-for-3 and Anne Secrest was 1-for-1.

Up Next

  • If Youngstown State prevails against Milwaukee, it will play No. 1 Green Bay, No. 8 Northern Kentucky or No. 9 Detroit Mercy on Monday at 1 p.m. in the semifinals of the Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship.