Penguins Conclude Four-Game Road Stretch Saturday at Saint Francis U

Kelley Wright (Photo by David Dermer)
Kelley Wright (Photo by David Dermer)

Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State will try to conclude a four-game road swing and snap a four-game skid when it plays at Saint Francis U on Saturday. Tipoff at DeGol Arena is set for 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio and NEC Front Row.
  • Saturday's game at Saint Francis U is YSU's lone contest in a 10-day stretch. The Penguins lost at Akron on Tuesday, and they will be off until next Saturday due to finals week. The game at SFU will be YSU's last road game until Jan. 11.
  • The Penguins are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 75-58 loss at Akron on Tuesday. YSU led 24-17 behind 14 first-period points from Indiya Benjamin, but the Penguins were outscored 21-5 in the second and never regained the lead.
  • YSU is outscoring opponents 149-101 in the first period this season but is being outscored 126-91 in the second period.
  • Saint Francis is fifth team YSU will play in its first nine games that was picked to finish in the top three of its conference. The Red Flash was tabbed the preseason favorite in the NEC.
  • YSU has had three different players score at least 20 points in the last five games. Benjamin scored a game and career-high 25 points on Tuesday at Akron, and Sarah Cash scored 25 points at American last Saturday.
  • 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.

Previewing Saint Francis U

A Win Would...

  • Snap a four-game losing streak.
  • Improve YSU's record to 3-6 this season and give the Guins a 1-3 mark versus teams from Pennsylvania.
  • Give the Penguins their second road win. They had one last season.
  • Be YSU's first win at Saint Francis since Dec. 1, 2007.

On This Date

  • YSU is 3-3 in six previous contests that have been played on Dec. 9.
  • The Penguins have won their last two games on the date, a 55-47 win at Ohio in 2011 and an 83-52 win over Wilmington in 2012. Monica Touvelle was 6-for-9 from 3-point range in the Wilmington contest.

Scouting Saint Francis

  • Saint Francis U was the preseason favorite to win the Northeast Conference. The Red Flash are 3-5 this season and will be looking to end a three-game losing streak on Saturday against the Penguins.
  • SFU plays in high-scoring affairs, averaging 76.3 points and allowing 80.1 per contest. The winning team in all eight of its games has scored at least 74 points.
  • Jessica Kovatch averages 19.6 points and has made 23 3-pointers, and she is on the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list among the top point guards in the country.
  • Three of the four games in the all-time series with Saint Francis have been close. YSU has a pair of one-point victories, and one of SFU's victories came in overtime.

Recapping Akron

  • Akron outscored Youngstown State 21-5 in the second period and made 13 3-pointers to beat the Penguins 75-58 on Tuesday at James A. Rhodes Arena.
  • Indiya Benjamin scored 14 of her career-high 25 points in the first period to give the Penguins a 24-17 lead after 10 minutes. Akron scored the first 14 points of the second period and held the lead the rest of the night.
  • Akron shot 47.4 percent from the field for the game and was 13-for-27 from 3-point range. The Zips made nine of their first 14 attempts from 3-point range, and all five of their field goals in the third period came from beyond the arc. No opponent had made more 3s since Wright State sank 14 on Feb. 5, 2014.
  • The Zips pressured the perimeter to hold YSU to 7-of-23 from 3-point range. The Penguins had made at least 10 3-pointers in five straight contests. The pressure outside allowed YSU's forwards to work inside, resulting in a 32-20 edge in the paint.
  • Coming into the game, YSU was 37-6 under Coach John Barnes when holding a scoring advantage in the paint.
  • After outrebounding American 36-29 last Saturday, the Penguins lost the battle of the boards 39-24 at Akron. YSU has been outrebounded by double digits three times in the last four games.
  • Benjamin scored YSU's final 11 points of the first period, including a buzzer-beating 3. She was 5-for-5 from the field, including 4-of-4 from beyond the arc, in the period.
  • After going 10-for-16 in the opening period, YSU made just two buckets in the second period and didn't score until a Mary Dunn basket with 3:08 left. YSU was 2-for-11 from the field with six turnovers in the second.
  • YSU used 14 different players in the game, but only six of them scored. Benjamin (25), Sarah Cash (12) and Alison Smolinski (10) combined for 47 of the Penguins' 58 points. Benjamin and Smolinski combined to go 6-for-12 from 3, and the rest of the team combined to go 1-for-11. Of that group, McKenah Peters was 1-for-1.

Up Next

  • Youngstown State will have six days without competition for finals week. The Penguins will begin a six-game home stand on Dec. 16 against Northern Arizona. Tipoff against the Lumberjacks will be at 1 p.m. at Beeghly Center.