Penguins Start League Play at UIC on Thursday

Indiya Benjamin
Indiya Benjamin
Youngstown State at UIC
Date & Time Thursday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. Eastern
Location UIC Pavilion
Tickets UICFlames.com
Radio iHeartRadio | 1390 WNIO
Video ESPN3
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Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State begins its 14th season of Horizon League play at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday with a game at UIC. The contest will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio and ESPN 3.
  • Youngstown State set a school record with 11 non-league victories, and they are 11-2 for the first time since 1997-98. That 11-2 mark was the best non-conference record in the Horizon League.
  • YSU finished the non-league schedule leading the circuit in free-throw percentage, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. It ranked second in seven categories.
  • YSU won 22 games during the 2014 calendar year, the most since 1999.
  • YSU ended non-league play with a 75-63 loss at Cornell on Friday. The Big Red shot 57 percent for the game and outscored the Penguins by 16 in the second half.
  • The Penguins have been to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament in back-to-back seasons. The 21 league wins over the past two years is one shy of their combined 22 league wins over the previous six years.
  • YSU opens league play with the four teams that were picked to finish in the top four of the league in the preseason poll (YSU and UIC were tied for fourth).

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU a 12-2 overall start for the first time since 1997-98.
  • Be YSU's third in a league opener in the last four years.
  • Be YSU's 23rd in its last 32 games.

On This Date

  • YSU is 8-6 all time in games played on Jan. 8, but the Penguins have not won on the date since beating UMKC in Youngstown in 2001. YSU has lost five straight games played on Jan. 8.
  • One of the five consecutive losses came to UIC at Beeghly Center in 2004.
  • The Penguins are 8-1 all time on Jan. 8 when scoring at least 61 points.

Scouting UIC

  • UIC enters league play with a 10-3 overall record, and the Flames were 8-0 at home during the non-conference schedule.
  • The Flames are coming off back-to-back blowout home wins – 63-28 over Loyola and 104-26 over Robert Morris-Springfield.
  • UIC allows just 51.4 points per game, and opponents shoot just 33.7 percent. The Flames lead the league in both of those categories, as well as rebounding margin, blocks and steals.
  • Ruvanna Campbell leads the league in rebounding (12.9 rpg) and ranks third in scoring (16.3 ppg), and Terri Bender adds 14.3 points and 3.4 steals per contest.

Series with UIC

  • UIC is 18-12 all time against YSU and holds a 9-6 advantage both home and away in the series.
  • YSU has won at the UIC Pavilion in each of the past two seasons, and the Penguins had won three straight contests against the Flames before a 73-65 setback at Beeghly Center on Feb. 27, 2014.
  • All 30 of the meetings between the teams have been in conference play. YSU and UIC were both in the Mid-Continent Conference in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

Last Year vs. UIC

  • YSU and UIC split its two meetings last year with each team winning on the road. The Penguins won 69-58 in the second league game of the year, but they lost 73-65 on Feb. 27 when they were battling for the league title.
  • Heidi Schlegel averaged 22.5 points and 8.5 rebounds against the Flames in 2014. She had 28 points at the UIC Pavilion.

Recapping Cornell

Cornell shot 56.9 percent for the game and outscored YSU by 16 in the second half to beat the Penguins 75-63 on Friday at Newman Arena.

YSU, which shot 68.2 percent in the first half, held a 39-35 advantage at halftime and still led 44-39 three minutes into the second half. Cornell outscored YSU 30-9 over the next 11 minutes, and Youngstown State shot just 29.2 percent in the final 20 minutes.

Cornell sophomore post Nicholle Aston was 11-of-13 shooting for 22 points, and the Big Red outscored YSU 18-0 on offensive rebounds.

Latisha Walker scored 14 of her team-high 16 points in the first half, and Heidi Schlegel had 13 points for Youngstown State.

Quick Notes

  • Cornell had 27 assists on 33 field goals while Youngstown State had 16 assists on 22 buckets. Indiya Benjamin and Nikki Arbanas combined for 10 assists and one turnover.
  • Cornell shot 62.1 percent in the second half and was 8-for-13 from 3-point range for the game. The Big Red were averaging 3.2 3-pointers per game and shooting 26.6 percent from distance coming into the contest.
  • YSU made seven of its first eight attempts from 3-point range and finished 11-of-18 for the game. In two games in New York this season, YSU shot 63.9 percent (23-of-36) from the arc.
  • YSU was just 3-for-16 inside the arc in the second half.
  • The 19 rebounds for YSU tied for the third-fewest in a game in school history.
  • Cornell's .569 shooting percentage was the highest YSU has allowed under Coach John Barnes. The highest by an opponent this year was .423 by Pittsburgh.
  • Cornell was plus-13 in rebounding advantage, which was also a new high by an opponent in the Barnes era. YSU's largest deficit in rebounding entering the game was three at Pitt.

Penguins Set School Record for Non-League Wins

  • YSU set a new school record with 11 non-conference victories in 2014-15, surpassing the 10 that the 2012-13 squad posted. The Penguins were 4-9 in non-league play last year.
  • Youngstown State has won 11 of its first 13 games for the first time since the 1997-98 season and for the seventh time in the 40-year history of the program. YSU was also 11-2 in 1977-78, 1978-79, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1996-97 and 1997-98.
  • The Penguins were 10-0 for the first time at the Division I level and for just the second time (1978-79) before losing at Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.

Penguins Finish 2014 with 22 Wins

  • With its win over Akron on Dec. 29, YSU ended the 2014 calendar year with a 22-9 record. The 22 victories tied for the fifth-most for a year in school history, and YSU won at least 20 games in a calendar year for the eighth time.
  • YSU has won a high of 25 games twice, and it happened in back-to-back years in 1996 and 1997. The Penguins won 24 games in 1998 and 1991, 22 games in 2014, 1999 and 1990 and 20 games in 1979.

Program on the Rise

  • YSU has been on a definite upward trend over the last three years. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, YSU has a 49-28 record for a .636 winning percentage. The Penguins' record over the previous seven seasons was 48-159 for a .232 winning percentage.
  • Since starting Horizon League play 6-0 last year, YSU is 22-9 over its last 31 games.
  • 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 and won a game in the WNIT in 2012-13. The Penguins' 21 league wins over the past two years is one shy of their combined 22 league wins over the previous six years.

Excelling Academically

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team had another banner semester this past fall as its 13 student-athletes posted a combined grade-point average of 3.40. Four Penguins – Nikki Arbanas, Sarah Cash, Morgan Olson and Heidi Schlegel – all had a 4.0 during the semester.
  • The Penguins had a 3.42 GPA in spring 2014 and a 3.46 last fall. There were two Penguins on the Horizon League's five-member academic all-conference team in 2013-14.
  • The Penguins were ranked in the WBCA Academic Top 25 in each of the two previous years. YSU was sixth on the Academic Top 25 in 2011-12 and 17th in 2012-13.