Indiya Benjamin was named the Coach Ed DiGregorio Most Valuable Player for the 2017-18 season as the Youngstown State women's basketball team held its postseason banquet over the weekend at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Social Hall.
Benjamin is the team's MVP for the second straight season, and she was one of five Penguins to earn awards at the banquet. Freshman Chelsea Olson was named the Newcomer of the Year, Nikki Arbanas was named the Defensive Player of the Year, Kelley Wright was tabbed the Most Improved Player, and Sarah Cash was selected as the Belleria Struthers Impact Player of the Year.
Benjamin finished off a record-setting career with a memorable senior campaign in which she earned Second-Team All-Horizon League accolades. She became just the second player to lead the conference in assists in three straight seasons, and she averaged 9.9 points and 5.5 assists. Benjamin set program career records for assists, minutes, games played and games started during the year, and she finished second in school history in career 3-pointers. Benjamin finished her career with 1,288 points, 204 3-pointers and 629 assists.
Olson was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman Team during the season as the most versatile freshman in the conference. She averaged 10.1 points, 2.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds while making 33 3-pointers during the league slate. Olson was named the conference Freshman of the Week an unprecedented four consecutive weeks at one point during the season, and her 26 points at Cleveland State was the highest total by a league freshman in 2017-18.
Arbanas was a key part of Youngstown State having one of the most-improved defenses in the country in 2017-18. With Arbanas guarding every opponent's top scoring wing, the Penguins allowed 64.2 points per game during the season. That was a 10.1-point improvement from the previous season, and only three teams in the country had a bigger improvement. Offensively, Arbanas averaged 8.2 points and led the Penguins with 65 3s. She finished the campaign with a school-record 209 3-pointers in her career.
Wright played a big role in the Penguins' late-season success as she overcame a slow start to have a solid February. During a five-game winning streak from Feb. 1-15, Wright averaged 9.4 points and shot 60 percent from the field. She set season highs in points, rebounds, steals, blocks and 3-pointers during that stretch.
Cash was Youngstown State's top scorer and rebounder during the season with 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest. The redshirt-junior scored in double figures 20 times and registered three double-doubles, and she ranked fourth in the Horizon League with a .544 field-goal percentage.