Penguins Begin Important Three-Game Home Stand Saturday vs. Cleveland State

Alison Smolinski and the Penguins begin a three-game home stand against Cleveland State this Saturday.
Alison Smolinski and the Penguins begin a three-game home stand against Cleveland State this Saturday.
Youngstown State vs. Cleveland State
Date & Time Saturday, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center - Youngstown, Ohio
Tickets YSU Athletic Ticket Office | (330) 941-1YSU
Radio iHeartRadio | 1390 WNIO
Video ESPN3 | WatchESPN
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Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State begins a three-game home stand that will conclude its regular-season schedule at Beeghly Center as it hosts Cleveland State on Saturday. Tipoff against the Vikings is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.
  • The Penguins are hoping to carry momentum into this big stretch from an important 70-62 victory at Milwaukee last Saturday. YSU shot 50 percent from the field, its best effort in almost two months, and made 12 3-pointers to beat the Panthers.
  • YSU improved to 16-8 overall and 7-6 in Horizon League play, which puts the Penguins fifth in the standings and just a game out of third. YSU hosts the three teams that are at the bottom of the standings in this home stand.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League and ranks ninth in the country with 9.2 3-pointers per game, and the Penguins have made at least 200 3-pointers for the sixth straight season. YSU made 12 at Milwaukee and has sank at least 10 in eight of their last 11 games.
  • Youngstown State has started four underclassmen in 13 straight games and 20 times overall.
  • Sarah Cash ranks fourth in the country and leads the Horizon League with a .634 field-goal percentage. She's averaging 16.6 points in league play, which is the fifth-most in the league.
  • In HL play, Nikki Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin lead the league in 3s and assists, respectively.


  • Saturday's game is a Handel's "Hoops & Scoops" Game at YSU. Fans who made a purchase at area Handel's Ice Cream locations were eligible to receive a voucher for a free general admission ticket for the game.
  • Fans in attendance will receive a commemorative Stadium Cup, courtesy of Handel's ice Cream, 21 WFMJ and Lyden Oil.

Previewing Cleveland State

On This Date

  • Youngstown State possesses a 3-5 all-time record in eight previous contests played on Feb. 20. YSU has played on Feb. 20 just once since 1999, and it resulted in a 68-38 loss to Cleveland State at Beeghly Center in 2010. YSU is 1-2 against the Vikings on this date.
  • Holly Seimetz had one of the six 30-20 games in school history in a 90-71 loss at Cleveland State on Feb. 20, 1982. She scored 32 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the loss. Dorothy Bowers has YSU's top scoring game on Feb. 20, a 36-point effort in a 97-84 loss at Tennessee Tech in 1988.

Scouting Cleveland State

  • Cleveland State is 5-18 overall and 2-11 in Horizon League play, and one of those wins was a 75-68 win over YSU on Jan. 16. The Vikings lost 71-53 at Green Bay and 59-58 in overtime at Milwaukee last week.
  • The Vikings rank last in the Horizon League in scoring offense as well as field-goal percentage defense. Cleveland State averages 10 steals per game, which ranks second in the conference.
  • Redshirt-freshman Ashanti Abshaw ranks sixth in the Horizon League in scoring at 15.9 points per game, and she's also second in rebounding with 9.0 per contest. She had 23 points and 10 rebounds versus YSU in January.

Series with Cleveland State

  • YSU has played Cleveland State more than any other opponent and leads the all-time series 36-29. The teams have split in the regular season the last two years, and the Penguins have won five of eight since the start of the 2012-13 season. YSU has won five straight over the Vikings at Beeghly Center.
  • Last Meeting: Cleveland State outscored YSU 16-4 over the final four-and-a-half minutes to beat the Penguins 75-68 on Jan. 16 at the Wolstein Center. YSU led by as many as eight in the third period and held a 64-59 advantage after back-to-back 3-pointers by Kelsea Newman with 4:52 remaining in the game. Sarah Cash had 19 points and eight rebounds.

Recapping Milwaukee

Youngstown State got 30 points from its bench and shot 50 percent from the field in a big 70-62 victory at Milwaukee last Saturday at the Klotsche Center.

Sarah Cash scored a team-high 18 points, and Nikki Arbanas scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth period as the Penguins held off the Panthers. But it was the contributions of role players that led the victory. Substitutes Jenna Hirsch and Alison Smolinski combined for 28 points, and Kelley Wright scored nine points. That trio accounted for 37 points, which was 25.6 more points than its average entering the contest, and went 10-for-15 from 3-point range.

Hirsch and Smolinski combined for 11 points in the first half as Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin were scoreless with foul trouble, and they combined for 11 more in the third period as the Penguins outscored the Panthers 26-16. YSU had runs of 8-0 and 11-0 in the quarter, and Smolinski two of YSU's 12 3-pointers during the 11-0 spurt.

Quick Notes from Milwaukee

  • After scoring four points at Green Bay, it was a nice bounce-back game for Cash. She scored YSU's first six points of the game and finished with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. She added six rebounds and four blocks. Cash surpassed 450 career points in the game.
  • Hirsch had season highs in points (15), minutes (32), rebounds (6) and 3-pointers (3). She made a 3-pointer that put YSU up 42-40 with 5:25 left in the third, and the Guins never trailed again. Her final triple put YSU up 65-57 with 2:28 left in the game.
  • Arbanas made just one 3-pointer — she'd made at least three in seven straight games — but it was a big one. Milwaukee had cut the margin to 59-55 with 5:27 left, and the Arbanas 3 gave YSU a seven-point lead 40 seconds later. She went 3-for-4 at the free-throw line in the final minute.
  • Wright went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and surpassed 100 career points in the win.
  • YSU was 25-for-50 from the field for 50 percent and 12-of-26 from 3-point range for 46.2 percent. It was the Penguins' best shooting day since shooting 51.7 percent overall and 46.9 percent from beyond the arc against Lake Erie on Jan. 16.
  • All 10 players who entered the game for YSU either scored or had an assist.
  • YSU had 21 assists on its 25 field goals. It was their most assists since also having 21 at UIC on Jan. 21.
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Get to Know Nikki Arbanas
October 22, 2015 Get to Know Nikki Arbanas