Penguins Begin Final Road Trip at NKU on Thursday

Sarah Cash and the Penguins begin their final road trip at Northern Kentucky on Thursday
Sarah Cash and the Penguins begin their final road trip at Northern Kentucky on Thursday
Youngstown State at Northern Kentucky
Date & Time Thursday, March 3, at 7 p.m.
Location BB&T Arena - Highland Heights, Ky,
Tickets NKUnorse.com
Radio iHeartRadio | 570 WKBN
Video ESPN3 | WatchESPN
Live Stats NKUnorse.com
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Scouting Report

  • Following back-to-back 21-point victories to end its home slate, Youngstown State will head on the road for its final two games of the regular season. The road trip begins Thursday with a contest at Northern Kentucky that will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.
  • After starting its three-game home stand with a disappointing 53-43 loss to Cleveland State on Feb. 20, the Penguins responded by beating Valparaiso 88-67 and UIC 62-41 last week. YSU posted consecutive conference wins by at least 20 points for the first time since 1998.
  • The Penguins' two wins last week has them in fifth place in the Horizon League standings with a 9-7 conference mark. YSU is just one game behind Wright State and Detroit for third, and second-place Milwaukee is 11-5 and within reach. YSU can finish no lower than sixth.
  • YSU has won at least nine conference games for the fourth straight season. It peaked at eight wins in each of its first 11 seasons in the Horizon League.
  • The Penguins held all seven of their opponents in February under 70 points, and teams averaged 60.4 points collectively while shooting 36.6 percent.
  • YSU is averaging nine 3-pointers per game overall, which ranks 11th in the country, and 10.1 in Horizon League play.
  • Youngstown State has started four underclassmen in 16 straight games and 23 times overall. YSU's top three scorers are sophomores.
  • Sarah Cash ranks among the top five players in the country with a .628 shooting percentage. She ranks seventh in the Horizon League with 15.2 points per game.
  • Nikki Arbanas is one 3-pointer away from becoming the sixth player in school history to make 70 in one season. She ranks third in the Horizon League with 2.6 3-pointers per game.

Previewing Northern Kentucky

A Win Would...

  • Give the Penguins at least 19 wins in a season for the 12th time in program history, including three times in the last four seasons.
  • Allow YSU to finish the season with a split against Northern Kentucky.
  • Guarantee YSU at least a fifth-place finish in the Horizon League standings
  • Give YSU at least 10 Horizon League wins for the third time in the last four years.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State is 4-7 all time in games played on March 3. The Penguins' last win on the date came in 2011, a 72-58 victory over UIC at Beeghly Center. YSU lost at Cleveland State in 2012, 79-69, in its most recent game played on March 3.
  • The Penguins had their best day in program history at the free-throw line in the win over UIC in 2011 as they made all 17 of their attempts. Brandi Brown was 12-for-12 on her own to tie a program individual record and scored 35 points in that contest.

Scouting Northern Kentucky

  • NKU enters the final week of its first season in the Horizon League with a 16-11 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the conference. The Norse lost 78-71 at Milwaukee and 52-40 at Green Bay last week. Prior to last week, NKU had won six of its last seven games.
  • NKU ranks third in the Horizon League in scoring offense with 72.8 points per game, and it leads the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. Senior Christine Roush averages 16.6 points, which is third-best in the league. Nine players average at least 15 minutes, and nine average at least 4.6 points.

Series with NKU

  • Northern Kentucky has won two of the first three meetings against YSU. The teams played a home-and-home series in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, and each team won on its home floor. NKU won at Beeghly Center in January.
  • Last Meeting: NKU shot 58 percent and had three bench players score in double figures in an 88-77 win over YSU on Jan. 30. NKU had runs of 15-2 and 8-0 in the first period, and the Norse never allowed the Penguins to catch up in the high-scoring game. NKU had the best field goal percentage by an opponent since 2012. Janae Jackson and Sarah Cash had 18 points, and Cash added 11 rebounds.

Recapping UIC

Indiya Benjamin matched her career high with 22 points, and Youngstown State held UIC under 10 points in two different periods in a 62-41 win on Sunday at Beeghly Center.

Benjamin outscored UIC's Ruvanna Campbell by eight for game-high honors, and Nikki Arbanas was the only other Penguin in double figures with 11 points. Benjamin scored YSU's final five points of the first half and its first eight of the second half, and her 3-pointer at the 6:21 mark of the third period started an 8-0 run by the Penguins that put them up 37-23. YSU led by at least 10 for all but 18 seconds the rest of the game.

UIC cut the deficit to seven with 8:52 left, but an Arbanas 3-pointer started a 16-2 run that put the Penguins up 58-37. The final score matched YSU's largest lead of the game.

Quick Notes from UIC

  • YSU shot 40.4 percent, which was slightly ahead of UIC's 35.3 percent effort. The Penguins made five more field goals, seven more 3-pointers and four more free throws.
  • The biggest edge for the Penguins came in the turnover battle as YSU committed 11 to UIC's 25. That led to a 23-6 edge in points off turnovers for Youngstown State. YSU's plus-14 in turnover margin was its best mark since it was plus-15 against Oberlin on Dec. 6, 2014. YSU had not been at least plus-14 against a Division I team since a plus-16 effort against Valparaiso on March 4, 2013.
  • Janae Jackson had five steals, and Sarah Cash had three. The Penguins finished with 11 steals as a team, which was their most in a Horizon League game since the game against Valparaiso on March 4, 2013.
  • Sarah Cash scored the 500th point of her career. She has scored 403 of those points in 2015-16 for an average of 14.9 points per contest. Cash already has the eighth-most points ever scored by a Penguins sophomore.
  • YSU led for nearly 32 minutes, one game after it led Valparaiso for nearly 36 minutes. UIC's final lead was 8-7 with 1:58 left in the first period, and an Arbanas 3 followed. YSU outscored UIC 17-6 in the second period and 20-9 in the fourth.
  • Benjamin's 22 points came on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, which included 4-of-6 from 3-point range. She was the only starter to shoot better than 34 percent. Benjamin scored 34 points in two games last week after scoring 39 combined in her previous six contests.
  • YSU's bench players combined to go 6-for-11 from the field. Jenna Hirsch, Marissa Brown and Kelley Wright went 4-for-4.
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