Women's Basketball to Play Oberlin on Saturday

Sarah Cash (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Sarah Cash (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Youngstown State vs. Oberlin
Date & Time Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center (Youngstown, Ohio)
Tickets (330) 941-1YSU | YSU Athletic Ticket Office
Radio 570 WKBN | iHeartRadio
Video MyYTV (Delay) | Live on ESPN3
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Scouting Report

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team returns home to face the Oberlin Yeowomen on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live from Beeghly Center on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the Horizon League Network on ESPN3.
  • YSU is 6-0 for the first time since 1996-97 and for just the third time in school history. The Penguins have never started 7-0 at the Division I level, and the best start in program history was 17-0 in 1978-79.
  • YSU picked up its sixth win last season on Jan. 11, its 15th game. The Penguins were plus-15.0 in scoring margin in their six games in November. They were minus-12.8 last November while going 1-4.
  • After playing six games over the final 16 days in November, the Penguins will now have just two games in the first 16 days of December.
  • YSU is 6-0 after winning both of its games at the Teresa Phillips Thanksgiving Classic over the weekend in Nashville. YSU narrowly beat Nicholls State 51-50 on Saturday and defeated Tennessee State 73-66 on Sunday. The Penguins were the only team to win both of its games, making them the informal champions of the tournament.
  • Indiya Benjamin is the reigning Horizon League Freshman of the Week.

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU a 7-0 start for the first time since 1978-79 and for the first time at the Division I level (started in 1981-82).
  • Be YSU's 11th straight victory over non-Division I opponents.
  • Give YSU a 3-0 all-time record against Oberlin.
  • Be YSU's 17th win in the last 24 games dating back to last season.

On This Date

  • YSU will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak in games played on Dec. 6. The Penguins are 3-5 overall on this date, with one of those victories being a 100-79 win over West Virginia.
  • The last Penguins victory on Dec. 6 came against Xavier at UNLV in 1997. That win was the seventh consecutive triumph for YSU, and the Penguins went on to win 16 straight games.
  • YSU won all three of its games played on Dec. 6 when scoring at least 62 points.

Scouting Oberlin

  • Oberlin is 3-3 this season and has alternated between wins and losses in its six games. The Yeowomen are coming off a 72-48 home loss to Denison on Wednesday.
  • Senior forward Christina Marquette is a North Coast Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year candidate, and she is averaging 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. Junior guard Lindsey Bernhardt is averaging a team-best 16.8 points.

Series with Oberlin

  • YSU is 2-0 all-time against Oberlin with both games coming in the first two years of Youngstown State's program. YSU beat Oberlin 67-34 on Jan. 17, 1976, in what is recognized as the first official game as an intercollegiate program. The Penguins then beat Oberlin 64-58 in 1977.

All-Time vs. Non-Division I Teams

  • Youngstown State has won 10 straight games against non-Division I teams, including victories over Ohio Valley and Malone in 2013.
  • The last Penguins loss against a non-Division I opponent was a one-point loss at Edinboro on Jan. 13, 1990. YSU played just one non-Division I opponent between the 1992-93 and 2011-12 seasons.
  • YSU is 69-10 all-time against teams that are not currently competing at the Division I level.

Recapping Tennessee State

YSU had four post players score in double figures, and Heidi Schlegel led all players with 21 points as the Penguins beat Tennessee State 73-66 to win the Teresa Phillips Thanksgiving Classic on Sunday.

Youngstown State made its first six attempts from the field and built a 26-11 lead through 12 minutes, and the margin was at least six for the final 33:22 of the game. YSU also started the second half strong, scoring eight of the first 11 points to take a 44-32 lead.

Schlegel made a career-high four 3-pointers and was named the Classic's Most Valuable Player. She was joined in double figures by Sarah Cash (13), Morgan Olson (10) and Latisha Walker (10).

Quick Notes

  • YSU had 31 bench points, the second most in the John Barnes era. Those 31 points came from three players.
  • The Penguins held a 47-33 edge in rebounding and were plus-13 on average in their two games in Nashville.
  • Cash and Olson both registered career highs in scoring, and Olson nearly had her first double-double with nine rebounds in 17 minutes. The pair combined to play 31 minutes at Latisha Walker was battling foul trouble.
  • YSU was 6-for-13 from 3-point range for 46.2 percent. That was their fewest attempts from beyond the arc in the John Barnes era and the fewest since attempting 11 at IUPUI on Dec. 3, 2012.
  • Kelsea Newman made multiple 3-pointers for the fourth time in the first six games.

Penguins Off To Best Start in 18 Years

  • The start to 2014-15 has gone supremely better for YSU than the start to 2013-14, which was Coach John Barnes' first season. The Penguins are 6-0 and have already tripled the number of Division I non-conference wins that they had last year, outscoring opponents by an average of 15 points in the process. The Penguins were 1-4 last November.
  • YSU is 6-0 for just the third time in program history, and a win against Oberlin would make the Penguins 7-0 for the first time while competing at the Division I level. The 1978-79 team started the season by winning its first 17 contests.
  • The Penguins ended up hitting their stride at the start of Horizon League play last year when they won their first six conference games. From the start of league play last year to the present, YSU is 17-7 over its last 24 games.

Winning With Defense

  • A big reason for Youngstown State's 6-0 start has been its defense. The Penguins are holding teams to an average of 54 points per game on 33.7 percent shooting. Both of those marks rank in the top two in the Horizon League and 30th in the country.
  • YSU has held four of its first six opponents to fewer than 55 points, and each of the last five opponents have shot lower than 38 percent from the field. Last season, YSU held just three opponents under 55 points.
  • The Penguins are 14-2 under Coach John Barnes when holding teams under 38 percent, and they are 19-3 when allowing fewer than 70 points.

Grabbing and Holding Leads

  • Youngstown State has been in control for most of its first six games as it has started 6-0. The Penguins have led for 203 minutes and 44 seconds of the first 240 minutes of the season, or 84.9 percent of the time. They have been ahead by double digits for 96:03, or just over 40 percent. YSU has trailed for just 16:29, or 6.9 percent of the time.

Balanced Scoring Prevalent Early

  • YSU has been very balanced in the scoring column in its first six games this year.
  • Four players have led the Penguins in scoring in their first six games. Heidi Schlegel has been the top scorer four times, and Nikki Arbanas, Indiya Benjamin and Latisha Walker have both been the top scorer once (ties included).
  • All five of YSU's starters have reached double figures at least once, and four reserves have also scored more than 10 points. That means nine of YSU's 13 players have reached double figures in the first six games of the season.

Freshman Guards Shining

  • Freshman starting guards Nikki Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin have been in the spotlight in the first six games of their careers, and both have been named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week.
  • Arbanas scored 25 points while making 8-of-9 of her field goal attempts in her debut against Niagara to earn the league's freshman-of-the-week nod. For the year, Arbanas is averaging 9.2 points and 2.7 assists while shooting 46.9 percent from the field. She also usually guards the opposing team's best guard.
  • Benjamin was the first Penguin in 13 years (Jen Perugini) to score in double figures in the first four games of her freshman year. She is averaging 10.2 points and 4.0 assists while leading the team with 12 3-pointers. She is the reigning conference freshman of the week.

Program on the Rise

  • YSU has been on a definite upward trend over the last three years. The Penguins have finished in the top three in the Horizon League and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament in back-to-back seasons.
  • Last year, YSU finished with its second-best record since joining the Horizon League in 2001-02 at 10-6. The Penguins' 21 league wins over the past two years is almost as much as their combined 22 league wins over the previous six years combined.
  • In 2012-13, YSU had its best record to date in the Horizon League by finishing 11-5. The Penguins finished second in the conference and advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time. YSU also earned the league's automatic bid to the WNIT.

Offense has Flourished Under Barnes

  • Statistically, Youngstown State's offense last season was the program's best in at least a decade. Among the highlights, YSU's 70.3 points per game scoring average was the best since 1999-00, and the .404 shooting percentage was the best since 2001-02.
  • After a rough five-game November where YSU shot 33 percent and averaged 59.4 points, it shot 41.9 percent while averaging 72.4 points over the season's final four months.
  • This season, YSU has improved its shooting percentage and 3-point percentage to 43.9 percent and 40.3 percent, respectively. The last time YSU had a better overall shooting percentage was 1997-98 (45.1 percent), and the Penguins have never shot better than 37.8 percent.
  • YSU's scoring average is down a tick from last season to 69 points per game, but the Penguins are averaging more points per possession at 1.05 (compared to 0.96 last year).

Pounding the Glass

  • YSU has won the rebounding battle in five of its six games this season and is plus-6.3 in rebounding margin for the year. That is the third-best margin in school history and the best since the 1990-91 team was plus-6.8.
  • The Penguins outrebounded Nicholls State by 12 and Tennessee State by 14 over the weekend. They had not won the rebounding battle by double digits in back-to-back games since Jan. 28 and Feb. 2, 2006 – a span of 254 games. The only time YSU has been outrebounded this year was by one at Kent State.
  • YSU is 17-6 when outrebounding an opponent in the John Barnes era. The Penguins have won the rebounding battle 23 times in 37 games under Barnes. They won the rebounding battle 22 times in the three years (91 games) prior to his arrival.

3-Pointers are Integral Part of Offense

  • YSU has made at least 200 3-pointers in four straight seasons, including 234 last season. Prior to the last four seasons, the highest season total was 199. YSU is one of just 22 programs in the country to have made at least 200 in each of the last four seasons.
  • The Penguins shot 34.1 percent from beyond the arc last season, which was their best percentage since the 2004-05 season. They are shooting 40.3 percent from distance this season while averaging 8.0 triples per game.
  • The Penguins were really zoned in from distance in league play last year. The Guins led the conference during league play with 9.1 3-pointers per game while shooting 38.7 percent. The Guins averaged 6.1 3s and shot 29.6 percent from the arc during the 2013-14 non-conference season.

Schlegel Returns After Breakout Season

  • After a breakout junior season, senior Heidi Schlegel has been named Preseason First-Team All-Horizon League in the conference poll and by College Sports Madness.
  • Schlegel averaged 20 points and 8.0 rebounds to earn First-Team All-Horizon League honors in 2013-14. She surpassed 1,000 career points last year, and she set new school records with 192 free throws made and 238 free throws attempted. Her 19 20-point games were the most by a Penguin in 26 years, and the 621 points she scored were the most ever by a junior and the fifth-most in school history regardless of class.
  • With YSU's more-balanced attack, Schlegel is averaging 15.3 points and 10.8 rebounds over the first six games of 2014-15. As the focal point of other teams' defensive game plans, she is averaging 2.5 assists, an upgrade from the 1.7 she averaged last year.

Walker: The Blocker

  • Senior forward Latisha Walker has become known as one of the top blockers in the Horizon League. Through six games, she leads the conference with 14 blocks and 2.3 blocks per game. She averaged 1.1 blocks per game last year.
  • At Radford on Nov. 22, Walker blocked six shots, which is tied for the fourth-most in a game in program history. She had five of those blocks in the first nine minutes of the contest. Walker then blocked five shots two games later against Nicholls State.
  • Before Walker's performance at Radford, the last Penguin to block at least five shots was Nikita LaFleur on Feb. 3, 2007. The last player to block at least six shots in a game was Tara Fleming at Xavier on Dec. 31, 2004. Walker had five blocks twice in a three-game span after no Penguin had blocked five shots in a span of 223 games.
  • Walker, a transfer from Xavier, has blocked 49 shots in her 37 career games at Youngstown State. Her total ranks 17th in program history, and her 1.3 blocks per game average is second-best.