Penguin Cash-ing in on her extra minutes

Sarah Cash back

from knee injury

By Brian Dzenis


Sarah Cash has spent the last year trying to solve the coefficient for friction between a rock climber’s finger and a cliff.

The culmination of the Youngstown State women’s basketball player’s work came this week for her senior project. When asked about her thesis, she said it would take building a machine and running some tests to get the answer.

“You could find a coefficient on your finger for playing a lot of sports,” Cash said a couple hours before presenting her project on Monday. “Like with a basketball, you have some rougher dimples than the other balls and you can see the effects of that.”

It’s a query more suited for the mechanical engineering major than her coach, John Barnes, who said he hasn’t discussed coefficients with his starting forward.

“She keeps everything close to the vest. Of the thousand times I’ve asked her how she’s doing, 997 of [the answers] are ‘good’ or ‘OK,’ ” Barnes said. “She’s a good kid, a smart kid and I’m glad that she’s feeling more comfortable and getting more heathly.”

One coefficent of friction for YSU (2-6) that has been going up as of late is between Cash’s feet and the gym floor. A knee injury ruined her 2016-17 season and it wasn’t until these last three games that she’s gotten back to playing the 20-plus minutes a game expected of her. Last Saturday, during a 78-72 overtime loss to American, Barnes had her play 30 minutes. She put up a season-high 25 points.

“Thirty minutes in an overtime game means she would have been on pace for her normal 24 or 25. We’re trying to do that to test her a little bit. Get her fatigued a bit because we want to increase her minutes,” Barnes said. “She got through it fine and was good the last couple days. I think that was a positive.”

On Tuesday during a 75-58 loss to Akron, Cash played 24 minutes and scored 12 points.

Her minutes uptick haven’t quite translated to team-wide results. The Penguins have lost four straight.

“We take plays off occasionally and that kills us at the end,” Cash said. “We might take a play off in the first quarter not thinking its going to affect the outcome, but in a close game, it definitely affects how a game ends.”

For the year, the Lordstown graduate is second on the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game and is shooting a team-best 62 percent from the floor.

As for her rock-climbing coefficient, will she use it for her climbing adventures?

Cash, who is always to the point when speaking, just said “no.”

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