YSU basketball teams to begin HL play


Defense against OSU

has Calhoun excited

for what may come

By Dan Hiner

dhiner@vindy.com

The Youngstown State men’s and women’s basketball teams are ready to play a new schedule. The Horizon League schedule, that is.

Both teams will open conference play today, with the men hosting Detroit Mercy and the women traveling to Detroit to play the Titans.

The YSU men (4-9) concluded their non-conference schedule with a 75-56 loss to No. 15 Ohio State on Dec. 18 in Columbus.

“I thought, at Ohio State, our kids did a tremendous job of really guarding,” YSU men’s coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “I thought our defense was a good as it’s been in a long time. So we’ll try to build off that effort.

“You played a top-13, top-14 team in the country and held them to 22 points in a half and really played a pretty good game.”

Calhoun is pleased with the recent defensive improvement and hopes the intensity carries over to the conference schedule. He also believes his first year at YSU gave him a better understanding of the Horizon League.

The Detroit men own a 38-9 record over the Penguins and won the last 11 meetings. The Penguins’ last win over Detroit came on Jan. 18, 2014.

The YSU women (8-3) have won five of the last six. The Penguins will open on the road with Detroit today and Oakland on Sunday before returning to Beeghly Center on Thursday against UIC.

Alison Smolinski and Sarah Cash have bounced back from injury-filled seasons in 2017-18. Smolinski leads the Penguins with 13.5 points per game and Cash averages 12.5.

Melinda Trimmer has also produced in the first 11 games, averaging career-highs with 4.8 points and 4.4 assists.

The Detroit women (2-9) are on a five-game losing streak and have dropped eight of nine after winning the season opener over Michigan-Dearborn.

“We’re going to approach it the way we always approach it: prepare as best we can and then play as hard as we possibly can and hopefully we can make one more point than they do to get the win,” Penguins coach John Barnes said.

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