Penguins Head North to Face Defending Champion Green Bay

Sarah Cash (Photo by David Dermer)
Sarah Cash (Photo by David Dermer)

Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State will try to split its Wisconsin road trip and stay in the top two of the Horizon League standings as it faces Green Bay on Saturday. Tipoff against the defending league champions is set for 2 p.m. Eastern at the Kress Center, and the game will be broadcast live on sportsanimal1390.com, iHeartRadio, ESPN+ and WatchESPN.
  • YSU had its five-game winning streak snapped at Milwaukee on Thursday with a 71-68 loss in overtime. The Penguins outscored the Panthers 23-10 in the fourth quarter to force the extra session, but UWM scored the final six points in OT to win. It was the sixth straight meeting with Milwaukee that was decided by four points or fewer.
  • Saturday's game against Green Bay is the third contest in a four-game stretch for YSU against the No. 1, 2, 3 and 5 teams in the Horizon League preseason poll. The Penguins beat preseason No. 2 IUPUI 70-52 last Saturday.
  • The Penguins are 14-3 in their last 17 Horizon League contests and had won eight straight league games on the road before falling at UWM on Thursday.
  • YSU has won at least 12 of its first 16 games for the third time in the last five years, and 4-1 is its best record through five league games since 2013-14.
  • Alison Smolinski broke YSU's record for career 3-pointers last Saturday, and her total is currently 211. She ranks fifth in the country with 58 3-pointers this season.
  • Mary Dunn is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 points and 10 rebounds and going 18-for-21 from the field last week. She is the third different Penguin in the last five weeks to win the award.
  • Melinda Trimmer ranks fourth in the nation with a 3.95 assist-to-turnover ratio. She also leads the Horizon League with 4.7 assists per game.
  • YSU has three players ranking in the top 10 in the league in scoring, three in the top 12 in rebounding and two in the top three in assists.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League in scoring margin, scoring defense, free-throw percentage, field-goal percentage, field-goal percentage defense, rebounding margin, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio and 3-pointers per game.
  • The Penguins finished 2018 with 21 victories, which was the eighth most in a calendar year in program history. YSU is 21-7 since Jan. 20, 2018.
  • YSU has played in the postseason four times in the last six seasons with WNIT berths in 2013 and 2015 and WBI bids in 2016 and 2018.
  • YSU has made at least 200 3-pointers in eight straight seasons, and it has led the Horizon League in 3-pointers per game in four straight campaigns.
  • YSU will dress a maximum of nine players for the foreseeable future, and it dressed just eight players for the final three games of November.

Previewing Green Bay

A Win Would...

  • Improve YSU's record to 13-4 overall and 5-1 in HL play.
  • Give YSU's nine wins in its last 10 HL road games.
  • Snap a 10-game losing streak against Green Bay.
  • Be the 606th in school history and the 95th under Head Coach John Barnes.

On This Day

  • YSU is 5-8 in 13 previous games played on Jan. 12. One of the losses was 85-80 at Green Bay in 2008 when the Penguins scored 56 points in the second half.
  • Danielle Carson scored her 1,000th career point on Jan. 12, 1985, at Austin Peay, and Dianne Rappach went 6-for-6 from 3-point range against Virginia Tech in 1992. 

Scouting The Phoenix

  • Green Bay was the preseason favorite to repeat as Horizon League champions, and the Phoenix are 8-6 overall and 3-1 in conference play. They picked up an impressive 56-49 win at No. 16 Missouri on Nov. 16 to highlight a challenging non-league slate. Green Bay has HL wins over Milwaukee, Northern Kentucky and Cleveland State, which it beat 62-53 on Thursday. Green Bay's loss in conference play came to Wright State.
  • The Phoenix are ranked 19th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, and they rank 49th in the RPI.
  • Green Bay leading scorer Frankie Wurtz averages 11.9 points, but she's missed the last three games with an injury. She is the third projected starter for GB to be out with an injury. Senior Jen Wellnitz was the HL Defensive Player of the Year in 2017-18.
  • YSU head coach John Barnes was Green Bay's associate head coach during the 2012-13 season. He also coached with Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth at Michigan in 2011-12. Barnes and Borseth are also both former head coaches at Division II Michigan Tech.

Series History

  • Overall: Green Bay leads 39-3
  • Barnes: 2-10 // Home: 1-18 // Away: 2-20 // Neutral: 0-1
  • Current Win Streak: 10 by Green Bay

Last Time vs. Green Bay: L, 45-66 (3/5/18)

  • YSU went toe-to-toe with #21/21 Green Bay for 20 minutes, but the Phoenix came out with a second-half spark on both ends to beat the Penguins 66-45 on March 5, 2018 in the semifinals of the Little Caesars HL Women's Basketball Championship.
  • YSU led the top-seeded Phoenix by nine in the first period and 28-26 at halftime. Green Bay scored the first eight points of the third period and went on to outscore the Guins 40-17 in the second half. GB scored 17 straight points from the third quarter into the fourth.
  • YSU actually led for more than half the game. The Penguins held the upper hand for 20:29 while Green Bay was ahead for 16:40.
  • Sarah Cash led the Penguins with 12 points, and she reached 1,000 for her career when she made a free-throw at the 3:48 mark of the second period.

Last Time at Green Bay: L, 56-65 (1/11/18)

  • YSU battled to get within two possessions of No. 24/25 Green Bay in the final minutes, but a long scoring lull to start the second half was too much to overcome in a 65-56 loss at the Kress Center on Jan 11, 2018.
  • The Penguins trailed the Phoenix just 26-22 at halftime, but Green Bay scored the first 15 points of the third period to take a 19-point lead. YSU made seven of its 14 3s in the final period to fight back and get as close as five points with four minutes left. YSU was whistled for 16 more fouls than Green Bay (26-10).

Wisconsin Connections

  • YSU has developed some pretty deep coaching and recruiting connections in Wisconsin.
  • Youngstown State Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Andy Crane is a native of Baraboo, Wis., and Director of Operations Nicole Griffin was the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010 out of Vincent High School in Milwaukee.
  • Current YSU student-athletes Chelsea Olson (Westby) and Taylor Petit (Schofield) are both Wisconsin natives, and the Penguins have three more Wisconsinites coming in next year in Maddie Schires (Wausau), Lexi Wagner (Galesville) and Jen Wendler (Owen). All five played for the Team Wisconsin AAU program.

Recapping Milwaukee

  • YSU rallied from a 16-point deficit to force overtime, but Milwaukee scored the final six points in OT to win 71-68 in another nail-biter between the two programs.
  • The Penguins fell behind 43-27 with less than 13 minutes left in the game, and they were down 50-37 entering the fourth. YSU outscored the Panthers 23-10 in the final 10 minutes of regulation, and the Penguins led 68-65 with 2:21 left.
  • McKenah Peters' driving basket tied the game at 60 at the end of regulation, and she drove again on YSU's final possession in overtime with the Penguins down 69-68. She was stripped on the drive for YSU's 17th turnover of the game, and Milwaukee made two free throws with 0.2 seconds left.
  • This was the sixth straight contest between Youngstown State and Milwaukee that had been decided by four points or fewer.
  • Sarah Cash finished with a game-high 25 points for her third straight game against the Panthers where she scored at least 24. Cash was 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, which was the best mark by a Penguin since Brandi Brown was 12-for-12 in a game against UIC on March 3, 2011.
  • YSU was 19-for-21 from the free-throw line as a team, including 16-for-17 during the second half and overtime.
  • Peters set a new career high with 17 points. It was her first game in double figures since the Dec. 1 contest at Canisius.
  • YSU allowed a season-high 19 second-chance points and matched its season high with 17 turnovers. UWM had 36 points from turnovers and offensive rebounds.
  • YSU tied its season high with six blocks, and Milwaukee's eight blocks were the most against YSU this season.

Up Next

  • YSU begins a five-game homestand by hosting league-leading Wright State on Friday at 7 p.m. The contest against the Raiders will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN and ESPN+.