Quest is consistency as YSU looks to snap losing skid

Quest is consistency as YSU looks to snap losing skid

By Brian Dzenis


The word of the day at Beeghly Center is consistency.

The Youngstown State women’s basketball team lacks a consistent starting five. Its players haven’t performed to expectations consistently, with a player scoring 20 points in a game only to have four in the next go-around. What has been consistent is the losing, which the Penguins have done for five straight contests.

Consistency is a key for any player who wants to crack the starting five.

“It’s consistency from everyone in terms of who plays the best together on both ends of the floor,” Penguins coach John Barnes said. “It seems like we have some players out there who do a good job on the offensive end, but struggle on the defensive end. It’s about trying to find that right combination that is very solid and that is consistent on both ends.

“We could have a great rebounding game one day and then get killed on the boards in the next,” he said. “We’ll only have a few turnovers in one game and then 19 the next.”

Finding that fifth starter after Alison Smolinski, Indiya Benjamin, Sarah Cash and Nikki Arbanas has been tricky for YSU (2-7). Sophomore forward Natalie Myers has started five games, freshman forward Anne Secrest has three starts, forward Mary Dunn has one and last Saturday against Saint Francis (Pa.), the Penguins trotted out a four-guard lineup with freshman Chelsea Olson.

Among the part-time starters, Dunn has been the most productive. The 6-foot-3 sophomore is the highest-scoring player outside the Penguins’ four everyday starters by averaging 6.3 points and is second on the team in rebounding at 3.6.

“For us, [figuring out who should start] is based on how you’re performing,” Dunn said. “I don’t really know what I would prefer. I just want to win.”

The team’s next six attempts to snap its current losing skid will come at home. With finals wrapping up on the academic side this week, it’s all about basketball for the rest of 2017.

“I think this is a great thing for us,” Dunn said. “I love Christmas break because we can just focus on basketball and it’s a big thing with us turning things around.”

Despite the losing, Barnes said morale hasn’t been poor and the team has been putting in some solid days of practice.

“I don’t thing they’re trying to forget [the losses], but they’re trying to learn from them and that’s the biggest thing,” Barnes said. “We’re trying to learn with each loss, get better from it and understand that now we’re at home and hopefully, we can make a run here.”

YSU hosts Northern Arizona at 1 p.m.

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