By Marc Weems
The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team (2-6) is currently on a four-game losing streak and searching for some answers.
“I really like our team’s attitude. We’ve had a lot of energy and I thought we have lifted our spirits with our sense of urgency,” YSU Head Coach John Barnes said. “I thought we’ve played some really tough teams on the road and we were so close to beating them both.”
Inconsistencies have been quite the plaque toward this team. Against American University on Dec. 2, YSU lost in overtime after coming back from down nine points in the fourth quarter. Last week, Barnes talked about playing a full 40 minutes and it seems the team still hasn’t.
One thing that YSU has gotten better at since last week has been rebounding. YSU outrebounded American 36-29 including 15 offensive rebounds to American’s four.
“We rebounded really well. We had a bunch of offensive rebounds so we are definitely making progress,” Barnes said. “We had to spend a lot of energy to get back to a tied game. Their [American] big players made big shots when needed and some of ours didn’t fall.”
Against Akron, bad defense led to the Penguins demise. Despite shooting 44.4 percent from the field, the Zips shot 59.3 percent while out rebounding YSU 15-11.
“We just need to come out and do what we know,” YSU forward Sarah Cash said. “We know what we are doing wrong, it’s just a matter of actually executing in the game. Which I think we are all capable of doing.”
For the game, Akron outrebounded the Penguins 39-24 which has been an ongoing issue.
“We take plays off occasionally and that kills us at the end of games. We will take a play off in the first quarter and don’t think that it affects the outcome. In the end, when it’s a close game, it definitely affects how the game ends.”
Past the bad losses lately, YSU must find a way to overcome its early season issues.
“I think she is feeling more confident in her knee,” Barnes said about Cash’s more recent performances. “She’s obviously more comfortable out there. We are doing better job of getting her the ball in position where she can be successful.”
Cash scored 25 points against American while shooting 11-12 from the field. She then scored 12 points against Akron. She is averaging 5.5 rebounds in those last two games.
Cash is coming off a bad knee injury that sidelined for most of last season. She is the biggest key to YSU’s success.
“She keeps everything pretty tight to the vest. Of the thousand times I’ve asked her how she’s doing, 997 times she gives me an okay, good or alright. That’s it. I don’t get a whole lot out of her. I’m just glad she is getting more comfortable,” Barnes said.
Barnes said that the staff is trying to test Cash’s limits on the court with more and more minutes as time goes on.
YSU now goes on to face St. Francis (PA) University on Dec. 9 before the start of a six-game home stand.
“I think since they are so close, Kent, Akron, and Robert Morris so those are always rivalry games. We recruit against them so it will always be a rivalry against those sort of teams,” Barnes said.