Women's Basketball NCAA Tournament Appearances
The 1995-96 season put the Youngstown State women's basketball program on the national map. The Penguins had won their second straight Mid-Continent Conference regular-season title - and their first outright title in school history - with four sophomores and just one junior in the starting lineup. The No. 1 seed with a league record of 14-4, the Penguins breezed throught Mid-Continent Conference tournament by defeating Western Illinois, 69-59, Troy State, 87-67, and Buffalo, 53-43, in the championship game to earn their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Youngstown State was selected as No. 15 seed and drew No. 2 Penn State. The Penguins hung tough against the Nittany Lions and trailed 42-40 at halftime and 50-49 with 15 minutes left in the game. YSU, however, succumbed to a 19-0 Penn State rally and found themselves down, 69-49. YSU's cinderella season with a 94-71 loss to Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Fueled by their appearance in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, the 1997-98 YSU women's basketball team was determined to make a return trip to "The Dance" and make some noise. The Penguins, who returned five seniors from the 1996-97 squad which went 23-6, turned in a school-best 28-3 record, including a 16-game winning streak, and a 15-1 mark in the Mid-Continent Conference. Coming off its fourth straight regular season conference title, YSU earned the No. 1 seed in the Mid-Con tournament and ran the table with victories over Chicago State, 76-57, Southern Utah, 83-73, and Valparaiso, 78-69, in the championship to collect its second NCAA Tournament automatic berth in three years. The Penguins earned the No. 12 seed and drew No. 5 Memphis in the first round. The Penguins pulled off the upset of the tournament, downing the Tigers, 91-80, for the school's first NCAA Tournament victory. After a slow start in the second round against North Carolina State, the Penguins saw their magnificent season come to a close with an 88-61 loss to the Wolfpack
In 1999-2000, the Penguins turned in an impressive 19-8 regular-season mark but saw its streak of five consecutive regular-season conference championships snapped. Youngstown State, however, was not deterred from its goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons. The Penguins swept through the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament by defeating Southern Utah, 84-78 in overtime, Western Illinois, 67-56, and Valparaiso, 73-57, in the championship game to collect their third "Dance Ticket" with the automatic berth to the NCAA's. Once again, the Penguins were selected as the No. 15 seed and faced No. 2 Penn State, a rematch of 1996. Although the Penguins set an NCAA East Regional record with 12 3-pointers in a game, the Nittany Lions defeated the Penguins, 83-63, and YSU closed out the season with its fifth-straight 20-win season with an overall mark of 22-9.