The Youngstown State women's basketball program announced its 2016-17 non-conference schedule on Tuesday, and it features six games at Beeghly Center and three contests in the western part of the country.
The Penguins will open the season on Friday, Nov. 11, against American, and the non-league schedule will extend to a Dec. 21 home game versus Point Park. Youngstown State will make exciting trips to Hawaii and Arizona in November, and its other two non-conference games will be within 70 miles of campus at Pittsburgh and at Kent State. The non-conference slate has five opponents that YSU has never played.
"Our team is really excited about our non-conference schedule this year," YSU head coach John Barnes said. "Hawaii is probably near the top of most people's bucket list destinations, and for our team to experience that trip as a group will be very rewarding. From a basketball standpoint, we will have the opportunity to see some different styles of play from quality teams out west as we prepare for another challenging season in the Horizon League."
"I'm excited that we were able to secure six home games for our fans, and I hope they will enjoy the ability to travel to two of our road games at Pittsburgh and Kent State. We expect to be challenged early as we hope to build on last season's success."
The home schedule begins with American on Nov. 11, and it continues on Nov. 23 against Tiffin. The Penguins will also host Saint Francis U on Dec. 3, Akron on Dec. 6, Cornell on Dec. 17 and Point Park on Dec. 21.
Youngstown State's first road game will be at Pittsburgh on Nov. 14, and the Penguins will play at the Bank of Hawaii Classic on Nov. 18 and Nov. 20. YSU will play the host Rainbow Wahine to start the tournament, and its second opponent will be Sacramento State. The Penguins will close out November at Northern Arizona on Nov. 28, and their final road contest of the non-conference season will be at Kent State on Dec. 10.
Youngstown State's Horizon League schedule is set to be announced on Thursday.
For information on season and individual game tickets, call the YSU Ticket Office at (330) 941-1YSU.
Below are capsules on YSU's non-league opponents:
AMERICAN (Nov. 11 - Beeghly Center)
YSU is playing American for the first time since 2011 and for the second time ever at Beeghly Center. American leads the all-time series 2-1 and has won the last two meetings. American went 8-23 last season after averaging 23 victories over the previous two seasons.
PITTSBURGH (Nov. 14 - Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Youngstown State will play at Pittsburgh for the third time in the last five years. Pittsburgh owns a 14-4 advantage in the all-time series, and YSU will look for its second victory in the last four contests against the Panthers. The Penguins opened up the 2012-13 season with a 64-50 win over Pitt. The Panthers went 13-18 last season.
HAWAII (Nov. 18 - Honolulu, Hawaii)
Youngstown State will play Hawaii for the first time in program history. The Rainbow Wahine had a 21-11 record last season and won the Big West Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. Hawaii played in the Women's NIT in each of the previous three seasons.
SACRAMENTO STATE (Nov. 20 - Honolulu, Hawaii)
YSU will play another first-time opponent at the Bank of Hawaii Classic in Sacramento State. The Hornets finished 14-17 last season and have led the country in 3-pointers per game in each of the last three years. Sacremento State advanced to the third round of the WNIT in 2014-15.
TIFFIN (Nov. 23 - Beeghly Center)
Youngstown State and Tiffin have never played despite being separated by just 150 miles. The Dragons of the Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) have won seven games in each of the past two seasons.
NORTHERN ARIZONA (Nov. 28 - Flagstaff, Ariz.)
Youngstown State will play in Arizona for the first time in program history while also squaring off with the Lumberjacks for the first time. Northern Arizona is coming off a six-win season in 2015-16.
SAINT FRANCIS U (Dec. 3 - Beeghly Center)
The Red Flash and Penguins will play for the first time since the 2009-10 season and for the fourth time in program history. Saint Francis U has won each of the last two meetings, including an overtime victory at Beeghly Center in 2008. The Red Flash won 14 games last season, which was an eight-game improvement from the 2014-15 season.
AKRON (Dec. 6 - Beeghly Center)
Youngstown State has played Akron more than any other non-Horizon League team, and the teams will be playing for the 21st consecutive season. The Penguins own a 38-16 all-time record against the Zips, and YSU has won three of the past five meetings. Akron went 19-14 in 2015-16 and advanced to the Women's NIT.
KENT STATE (Dec. 10 - Kent, Ohio)
YSU will play Kent State for the fourth straight season and for the 42nd time in program history. The Penguins trail the all-time series 27-14, but YSU has beaten the Golden Flashes by 30 and 19 in the past two years. Kent State went 6-23 last season, and it is led by first-year head coach Todd Starkey, who is a Canfield native.
CORNELL (Dec. 17 - Beeghly Center)
The Penguins and Big Red will conclude a home-and-home series that began in the 2014-15 season with a 75-63 Cornell victory. Cornell will be the first Ivy League opponent to play at Beeghly Center. The Big Red posted a 14-14 record in 2015-16.
POINT PARK (Dec. 21 - Beeghly Center)
YSU concludes the non-conference season with its fifth first-time opponent. The Pioneers finished 19-11 last season, and they were 25-5 in 2014-15. The NAIA team competes in the River States Conference.