Penguins Make 11 3s, Beat Northern Kentucky 67-53 for Barnes's First Win

Liz Hornberger | Photo by Ron Stevens
Liz Hornberger | Photo by Ron Stevens

The Youngstown State women's basketball team made nine first-half 3-pointers and led Northern Kentucky by double digits for the final 34 minutes in a 67-53 victory on Wednesday evening at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins earned their first victory under head coach John Barnes and avenged a last-second loss at NKU last year. YSU is now 1-2 this season while the Norse dropped to 2-2.

Heidi Schlegel surpassed 20 points for the third straight game with a 22-point effort, and she was one of seven Penguins to make a 3-pointer. Karen Flagg and Liz Hornberger finished with 11 points apiece, and Flagg had a team-best seven rebounds. The Penguins, who were averaging 25 turnovers coming into the contest, limited their mistakes to just 14 tonight.

Northern Kentucky leading scorer Melody Doss, who was averaging 25.7 points entering tonight, was held to 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting. NKU's second leading scorer Kayla Thacker sat out the contest.

Youngstown State made eight of its first 10 3-point attempts and led by as many as 19 points in the first half. The Penguins made their first four attempts from distance and seven of their first eight.

After Hornberger hit a trey on YSU's first possession, Northern Kentucky scored the next five points to go up 5-3 for its only lead of the game. Schlegel's 3-pointer started a 14-0 run for the Penguins, who made shots on four of their next five possessions. Flagg's 3-pointer at the 14:28 mark gave YSU a 17-5 advantage. The Penguins led by double digits the rest of the contest.

Lauren White made a layup for NKU to stop the run at the 14:06 mark, but NKU made one field goal over the next eight minutes. YSU scored the next eight points to go up 25-7 on Jenna Hirsch's first career 3-pointer. The Penguins' largest lead of the half came when Melissa Thompson's 3-pointer at the 9:32 mark made the score 30-11.

YSU went scoreless for nearly five minutes, and NKU scored the next eight points to get within 30-19 at the 4:52 mark. Schlegel and Flagg had offensive rebounds and buckets on back-to-back possessions to stop the run, and Taylor Hvisdak hit the Penguins' ninth triple of the half at the 3:05 mark to make the score 37-19.

YSU finished 9-for-13 from the arc in the period and shot 43.8 percent overall. NKU was held to 23.1 percent in the first 20 minutes.

Northern Kentucky scored eight of the first 11 points of the second half and led by 11 twice in the first four minutes of the period. YSU scored four straight points as part of a 9-2 run, and NKU got no closer than a dozen the rest of the evening.

Youngstown State's largest lead of the contest came when Latisha Walker's layup with 5:47 put it ahead 64-43.

The Penguins shot 39.3 percent overall and finished 11-for-19 from 3-point range. Northern Kentucky shot 32.2 percent and was 2-for-24 from beyond the arc.

Youngstown State will play its first road game of the season at Bucknell on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.