Penguins to Face Top-Seeded Green Bay on Monday in #MotorCityMadness Semifinals

Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Jose Juarez)
Indiya Benjamin (Photo by Jose Juarez)

Scouting Report

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team will try to knock off top-seeded Green Bay and earn its first trip to the Horizon League Championship Game when it plays the No. 21/21 Phoenix on Monday. Tipoff at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
  • The fifth-seeded Penguins survived a major comeback attempt by fourth-seeded Milwaukee to win 62-58 in the quarterfinals on Sunday. YSU led 48-31 with less than 11 minutes before Milwaukee scored 20 straight points to take the lead. The Penguins later used an 8-0 run to go up by six and made three free throws in the final 15 seconds.
  • The Penguins have won 10 of their last 12 games to crawl out of a 2-5 hole to start Horizon League play and up to a three-way tie for fourth place at 11-7. Youngstown State is two games over .500 for the first time this season, and its RPI has skyrocketed from 267 on Jan. 19 to 154 currently. That's the highest jump in the country over that span.
  • YSU is playing in the semifinals of the conference tournament for the fourth time in the last six seasons. The Penguins are 0-4 all-time in Horizon League semifinal games.
  • YSU tied a school record for Horizon League wins with 11, matching the 2012-13 team that went 11-5. The Penguins won a school-record six Horizon League road contests.
  • Indiya Benjamin was named Second-Team All-Horizon League, and Chelsea Olson was voted to the All-Freshman Team. Benjamin has set program career records for assists, 3-pointers, games played and games started.
  • The Penguins are one of 11 teams in the country to make at least 200 3-pointers in each of the last eight seasons, and they've led the league in 3s per game in four straight years.

Previewing Green Bay

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU a trip to its first Horizon League Championship Game.
  • Improve YSU's record to 17-14 overall.
  • Give YSU 11 wins in its last 13 games.
  • Snap a nine-game losing streak against Green Bay.

On This Date

  • YSU is 3-8 all time on March 5. Two of those losses came in the Horizon League Tournament, most recently a 59-56 setback in 2012.
  • YSU's second-highest scoring game in program history came on March 5, 1993, a 117-106 win over Valparaiso.

Scouting The Phoenix

  • Green Bay is ranked 21st in both national polls and won its 20th straight Horizon League regular-season title. The Phoenix lead the country in scoring defense allowing just 46.2 points per game, and they are second in the nation in field-goal percentage defense.
  • Offensively, the Phoenix are shooting 44.8 percent, which ranks second in the league. They are also tops in the league in rebounding margin and assists.
  • First-team all-league honoree Jessica Lindstrom is the only player in the league to average a double-double with 15.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. Allie LeClaire was a second-team selection, and Jen Wellnitz was the conference's Defensive Player of the Year.

This Season vs. Green Bay

  • Youngstown State was able to hang with Green Bay in the first half of both contests, but the Phoenix dominated the third quarter twice. In Green Bay, YSU trailed just 26-22 before the Phoenix scored the first 15 points of the third period. The Penguins got within 54-49 with 3:58 left but couldn't finish the comeback. YSU shot 26.9 percent and was outscored 21-0 in the third period in a 67-42 loss in Youngstown.

Recapping Milwaukee

  • Youngstown State survived a major comeback bid by Milwaukee to win 62-58 on Sunday and advance to the semifinals of the 2018 Little Caesars Horizon League Basketball Championship.
  • The Penguins played smothering defense for three quarters to build a 48-31 lead with less than 11 minutes left. Milwaukee stormed back by scoring 20 straight points to take a 51-48 lead, but YSU withstood the charge and countered with an 8-0 run that ended up being the difference.
  • Milwaukee led 9-4 less than three minutes into the game. YSU held them to two points the rest of the period, and the Panthers managed just 11 points in each of the next two quarters.
  • Benjamin hit a 3 at the 4:28 mark of the first period to spark a 15-2 run for the Penguins that put them up 19-11 40 seconds into the second period. The Penguins extended their lead to 33-22 at halftime, and they held a 48-33 lead heading into the fourth.
  • The Penguins have won a game in the conference tournament in five of the last six years after having one postseason win in their first 11 years in the conference.
  • The Panthers outrebounded the Penguins by an average of 14 during the regular season, but YSU closed that gap to minus-four on Sunday (40-36). Milwaukee had 30 second-chance points in the first two games but just four on Sunday.
  • Milwaukee made its first four field-goal attempts of the game, but it made just nine of its next 45 attempts. The Panthers then went 10-for-16 in the fourth period.
  • YSU was 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the fourth period but 0-for-8 inside the arc. The Penguins finished with nine 3-pointers to tie for the most in program history in the HL Tournament.
  • Sarah Cash scored 24 points and added nine rebounds. She averaged 23.7 points in three games against the Panthers this season.
  • Indiya Benjamin scored six of her 13 points in the final three minutes as YSU rallied. She made two free throws to start an 8-0 run, and she finished that run with a 3 at the 1:09 mark to put the Penguins up 59-53. She then split a pair of free throws with 13.5 seconds left. Benjamin moved into second place in Horizon League history in career assists.
  • Natalie Myers came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points, and she hit a huge 3-pointer with 3:30 left in the fourth period for YSU's first points of the quarter. Myers was 4-for-7 from 3-point range and added seven rebounds. She was scoreless in her previous four games.
  • YSU improved to 6-1 in games decided by five points or fewer this season.

Up Next

  • If Youngstown State beats Green Bay, it will advance to the Horizon League Championship Game against either No. 2 IUPUI or No. 3 Wright State at noon on Tuesday.