First-Team All-Ohioan Indiya Benjamin has signed a grant-in-aid to continue her academic and athletic career with the Youngstown State women's basketball program in the fall, Penguins head coach John Barnes has announced.
Benjamin, a 5-foot-6 inch guard from Lima, Ohio, becomes the fifth member of Barnes' first recruiting class. With Benjamin, a First-Team All-Ohio player at the Division I level, the 2014 class will have a first-team all-state honoree from three different states.
"I'm very excited to welcome Indiya to our YSU family," Barnes said. "She is an outstanding young woman not only on the court, but also in the classroom. She can really push the ball and score offensively, and she can also defend. She had a fantastic senior year, and we hope she can do great things for us in her career."
In addition to earning First-Team All-Ohio accolades her senior year, Benjamin was voted the Northwest District Player of the Year by the Associated Press and the Three Rivers Athletic Conference Player of the Year. She averaged 20.1 points, 10.2 assists and 4.5 steals while setting a school record with 65 3-pointers for Lima Senior, which finished 20-5 for its best record in 21 years. Benjamin became Lima Senior's all-time leading scorer on Feb. 3 against Toledo Central Catholic, and she also set the Spartans' career record for assists. She finished her career with more than 1,600 points.
As a junior, Benjamin averaged 17.4 points and 6.8 assists to earn third-team all-state distinction. Additionally, she was a first-team all-conference and first-team all-district pick as Lima went 15-10 and won a section title. She was named honorable mention all-state as a sophomore as well as all-conference. Benjamin was also a member of the National Honor Society at Lima Senior.
Benjamin joins Nikki Arbanas (Hermitage, Ohio), Morgan Olson (Nappanee, Ind.), Krista Pietropola (Plum, Pa.) and Kelley Wright (Hessel, Mich.) as members of YSU's incoming class.
Youngstown State finished third in the Horizon League and advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament last season, which was the first with Barnes as the head coach. Heidi Schlegel, who hails from Wapakoneta, Ohio, near Lima, led YSU with 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and earned first-team all-conference accolades. Schlegel will be a senior in 2014-15.