Injuries have provided playing time for some younger players

YOUNGSTOWN — Melinda Trimmer knows her time on the floor is valuable. She’s taking nothing for granted.

The sophomore guard has been thrust into playing time with the litany of injuries the Youngstown State women’s basketball team has suffered this season — losing three starters.

“I think no matter what, I’m going to do the best I can every time I go out there,” said Trimmer, who has scored 25 points in the last three games and played more than 21 minutes off the bench in that span. “It’s really unfortunate what’s happened to our teammates. No matter what, I’m going to do the best I can and make the most out of my opportunity.”

One of those injured players, junior guard Nikki Arbanas is mentoring Trimmer, a former Division II co-player of the year out of West Branch.

Arbanas said she’s noticed how Trimmer improved over the summer. She tried to tell Trimmer to shoot more, something she did when she was at West Branch.

“I think she’s got a lot more confidence through the past couple of games,” Arbanas said. “Everybody can always get more confident. I think her being able to drive to the hoop, that she’s done.

“Notice that you’re open and shoot. That’s something everybody needs to take into account.”

Defense, something the Penguins (8-15, 4-8 Horizon League) have struggled with all season, has become one of Trimmer’s strengths thanks to Arbanas.

“She’s been a big help defensively,” Trimmer said. “That’s one of the things I had to work on this year, as well as a few of my other teammates. She was a huge defensive piece, being able to guard the best player on every team last year. She’s doing whatever she can on the sidelines to make sure we know what the best contribution that the best player of their team has so we can go out there and do what we can against them.”

Freshman Mary Dunn, a 6-3 center, has found help from Lordstown native and junior forward Sarah Cash, who is out for the season with a knee injury. Dunn recently came back from an ankle injury.

“It’s such a big advantage I have, having her for everything,” Dunn said of Cash. “Even when I’m hurt, she’s talking to me about it. It’s just helped a lot since the day I got here.”

Cash said she tries to help all of YSU’s active post players.

“I try to help them if they’re in the right position, or if they need to go somewhere else to try to stop the girls. I try to remind them of their tendencies,” Cash said.

Dunn, like Trimmer, appreciates the help she’s getting from her junior mentor.

“She talks to me a lot,” Dunn said. “Anything I do wrong or right, she’s there to help me in the right way. She knows how to say it and I can listen to it. Then, go do it on the floor.”