Women's Basketball Starts Four-Game Road Stretch Wednesday at Robert Morris

Nikki Arbanas (Photo by David Dermer)
Nikki Arbanas (Photo by David Dermer)

Scouting Report

  • YSU will begin its first of three four-game road swings this season on Wednesday when it plays at Robert Morris. Tipoff at the North Athletic Complex is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on sportsanimal1390.com, iHeartRadio and NEC Front Row.
  • The Penguins are coming off a 66-60 loss to Bucknell on Friday in which they fell behind 8-0 and led for under a minute in the contest. YSU trailed after the first period for the first time this season.
  • Bucknell was the latest opponent in a tough non-conference schedule for YSU. The Bison were picked to win the Patriot League, and Robert Morris was picked second in the NEC. Five of YSU's nine Division I non-conference opponents were picked to finish in the top three of their conferences.
  • YSU has made at least 10 3s in three straight games after making 11 total in their first two. The Penguins are 32-for-79 (40.5 percent) from beyond the arc in the last three games.
  • The Penguins are hungry to get back to their winning ways after enduring an injury-plagued 2016-17 season that ended with a 9-21 record and a first-round loss in the Horizon League Tournament. In each of the previous two seasons, YSU won 21 games and advanced to play in a postseason tournament — the WNIT in 2014-15 and the WBI in 2015-16.
  • YSU returns three players – Benjamin, Mary Dunn and Alison Smolinski – who averaged more than 11 points last season, and it also welcomes back two players – Nikki Arbanas and Sarah Cash – who averaged more than 11 points in 2015-16. This is the first time in program history that the Penguins enter a season with five players who have averaged double figures previously.

Weekly Press Conference

Previewing Robert Morris

A Win Would...

  • Even YSU's record for the season at 3-3.
  • Give the Penguins their second road win. They had one last season.
  • Be YSU's third straight over Robert Morris.

On This Date

  • YSU is 8-5 in 13 previous games played on Nov. 29. The last contest was a 51-50 win over Nicholls State in Nashville in 2014.
  • YSU has twice previously played Robert Morris on Nov. 29, winning 76-68 in 1994 and 66-62 in 1995. Christina Ferraro went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in the win over RMU in 1994.

Scouting Robert Morris

  • Robert Morris will enter Wednesday's game with a 2-3 record, the same mark as YSU. The Colonials went 1-1 in two games at a tournament hosted by Cal Poly over Thanksgiving, beating the host Mustangs 66-50 and losing to San Francisco 57-45.
  • RMU has had four different players lead it in scoring. Nneka Ezeigbo is averaging team highs of 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in three games off the bench.
  • Robert Morris is averaging 11.6 steals per game, and Jocelynne Jones has 15 in five games.
  • The Colonials were picked to finish second in the preseason NEC poll behind Saint Francis U. RMU won 22 games and played in the NCAA Tournament last year.

Recapping Bucknell

  • Youngstown State had to play from behind from the tip and was outscored by 10 at the free-throw line in a 66-60 loss to Bucknell on Friday afternoon at Beeghly Center.
  • Bucknell scored the first eight points of the game, and it held the lead until YSU began the second half on a 9-3 burst to go up 34-33. The Bison scored the final nine points of the third period and the first two of the fourth to go up 51-40, and they were able to hold on when YSU got within three points in the final minute.
  • Bucknell used its size advantage to outrebound the Penguins 44-27 and outscore them 28-16 in the paint. Kaitlyn Slagus had 21 points in 27 minutes, and she was part of an interior defense that held the Penguins' posts to 13 points on 6-for-19 shooting.
  • Bucknell made eight 3s in the game, almost double its averaging coming into the game. The Bison made four 3s in the first period as they built a 17-12 lead.
  • Fouls played a big part in the game. YSU leading scorer Alison Smolinski was whistled for two fouls on rebounds in the first five minutes and sat for the rest of the first half. Sarah Cash went 1-for-8 from the field – she was shooting 69.6 percent coming into the game – as the game was physical inside, and YSU was whistled for seven more fouls than Bucknell (20-13). Bucknell was 12-for-20 from the free-throw line, and YSU was 2-for-6.
  • YSU made 10 3-pointers in the game for its third straight contest with at least 10 makes from the outside. Four different Penguins made two 3s.
  • YSU trailed at the end of the first period for the first time in five games. The Penguins were outscoring opponents 78-26 in the opening period coming into the contest.
  • The Penguins blocked seven shots in the game, which as their highest block total since having seven against Salem International on Dec. 14, 2015.
  • Indiya Benjamin scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half, and she added a season-high nine assists. She scored YSU's first seven points of the third period.

Up Next

  • Youngstown State will head to the nation's capital to play at American on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 1390 WNIO and the iHeartRadio app.