Women play host to IUPUI today

YOUNGSTOWN — Alison Smolinski couldn’t miss from 3-point range early on in Thursday’s game. Each pass to Mary Dunn or Sarah Cash seemingly went for an uncontested lay-up from a well-timed lob by the Youngstown State University guards.

Cash only played eight minutes in the first quarter and had 10 of the team’s 23 points that quarter in YSU’s dominating victory over Illinois-Chicago Thursday night at the Beeghly Center.

Defensively, the Penguins held the Horizon League’s second-leading scorer, Brittany Byrd, to an 0-for-7 effort. YSU (11-3, 3-0 Horizon League) held the Flames, who reside in the league’s basement, to 29 points.

Chelsea Olson, the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week, and Melinda Trimmer combined for 11 assists and no turnovers, while Smolinski had five 3-pointers to put her over 200 for her career. Only Nikki Arbanas and Indiya Benjamin previously have reached that milestone for YSU.

Smolinski ranks third in the country with 51 3-pointers, while Trimmer is second with a 4.40 assist-to-turnover ratio. She had 38 assists and seven turnovers last month.

Dunn had 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Deleah Gibson had a game-high 12 points off the bench on Thursday.

Today, YSU coach John Barnes goes after the 250th victory in his career. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s not going to revel in any of those accolades. The sixth-year YSU coach, as he always is, was professional and straight to the point. Never any bulletin-board material from this coach.

This YSU team must be all business when it faces IUPUI today at 1 p.m. The Jaguars are 8-6 and 2-1 in the league with overtime losses to Wisconsin and Wright State. YSU cannot take this IUPUI team lightly.

Macee Williams, a 6-foot-2 post, is the best post player in the Horizon League. The sophomore averages 19 points and 8 rebounds a game for the Jaguars.

“We have to move on because next we play the best post player,” Dunn said after Thursday’s game.

IUPUI point guard Holly Hoopingarner puts in 12 points and dishes out three assists per contest.

Out of nowhere, senior guard Sydney Hall lit up the Penguins for a game-high 24 points last year when YSU held Williams and Hoopingarner in check during a 65-43 Jaguars win at the Beeghly Center.

“We want to start as good as we possibility can on both sides, not only defensively, but offensively,” Barnes said. “We want to make every shot tough. Offensively be aggressive. Al came out very aggressive, obviously Sarah Cash. I thought they all did a great job.

“We need to be very aggressive (today).”