Penguins Host NKU on Saturday, Look to Keep Pace in Standings

Janae Jackson and the Penguins will look to go 2-0 this week as they play Northern Kentucky on Saturday.
Janae Jackson and the Penguins will look to go 2-0 this week as they play Northern Kentucky on Saturday.
Youngstown State vs. Northern Kentucky
Date & Time Saturday, Jan. 30, at 1 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center - Youngstown, Ohio
Tickets YSU Athletic Ticket Office | (330) 941-1YSU
Radio iHeartRadio | 570 WKBN
Video ESPN3 | WatchESPN
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Scouting Report

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team will try for a 2-0 week and to keep pace with the top pack of the conference as it hosts Horizon League newcomer Northern Kentucky on Saturday at Beeghly Center. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.
  • The Penguins are coming off a 72-69 victory on Thursday over Wright State. YSU led for nearly 32 minutes in the game and had nine different players score. The victory improved YSU's record to 14-5 overall and 5-3 in Horizon League play.
  • With YSU's win and other results on Thursday, the Penguins are now tied with three other teams for second place in the league standings. YSU has beaten the other three teams that it is tied with. The No. 2 seed in the league tournament earns two byes into the semifinals.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League and ranks 12th in the nation with 8.7 3-pointers per game. The Penguins were 9-of-21 from distance against Wright State on Thursday, including 4-of-7 in the fourth period. Nikki Arbanas made three treys, bringing her career total to 100.
  • Sarah Cash scored 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting against Wright State. The sophomore has scored at least 21 points and shot at least 50 percent from the field in each of her last three games. She leads the league and ranks third in the country in field-goal percentage (.632).
  • Kelley Wright made her first career start on Thursday, and she drew a charge and made two free throws in the final 10 seconds. She and two other Penguins set career highs in minutes.

Previewing Northern Kentucky

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU at least 15 wins in its first 20 games for the eighth time in school history, the second straight season and for the third time in the last four years.
  • Improve YSU's record to 10-1 at Beeghly Center. The Penguins would have at least 10 wins at home for the fourth straight year.
  • Be YSU's second straight over Northern Kentucky.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State has a 5-3 record in eight previous games played on Jan. 30. The Penguins have played on the date just once since 1999, and that resulted in a 65-31 loss at Wright State in 2010.
  • There have been two notable individual performances on Jan. 30 in Penguins history. Dorothy Bowers had 32 points in a 78-61 home win over Murray State in 1988. Seven years earlier, Wanda Grant had 28 points and 23 rebounds in a 78-72 win over Xavier at Beeghly Center.

Scouting Northern Kentucky

  • Northern Kentucky is in its first season in the Horizon League, and it is 11-8 overall and 3-5 in conference play. The Norse snapped a three-game slide with an 83-51 win over Cleveland State on Thursday. Two of NKU's league losses were by one point, and each of its first five league games were decided by five points or fewer.
  • NKU ranks third in the league in scoring at 73.7 points per game, and it owns the top spot in free-throw percentage (.775) and 3-point percentage (.367). Christine Roush averages a team-high 15.5, and eight different players average at least five points.
  • The Barnes-Plitzuweit Connection: YSU head coach John Barnes and NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit have pretty deep ties. They both played at Michigan Tech and graduated in 1995. They were also assistant coaches at Michigan in 2011-12 under current Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth.

Series with NKU

  • YSU and NKU played a home-and-home series in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, and each team won on its home floor. NKU gave YSU its first loss of the 2012-13 season after a 4-0 start, and the Norse was YSU's first win in 2013-14.
  • LAST MEETING: The Penguins made nine first-half 3-pointers and led by double digits for the final 34 minutes in a 67-53 win over Northern Kentucky on Nov. 20, 2013. It was the first win at YSU for Coach John Barnes. The Penguins finished 11-of-19 from distance while the Norse went 2-of-24. Heidi Schlegel finished with a game-high 22 points.

Recapping Wright State

Youngstown State led for 32 minutes and made four big 3-pointers in the fourth period to hold on for a 72-69 win over Wright State on Thursday evening at Wright State.

Nikki Arbanas' 100th career 3-pointer broke a 65-65 tie, the eighth deadlock of the game, with 3:51 left. YSU went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in the final three minutes and got defensive stops against the Horizon League's top scoring team.

With the Raiders down one and the shot clock turned off, YSU's Kelley Wright drew a charge with 8.5 seconds left to give the Penguins possession. Wright then made two free throws after being fouled on an inbounds play, and Mackenzie Taylor's 3-point attempt to tie the game at the buzzer missed.

Sarah Cash scored 21 points in 21 minutes while battling foul trouble, and Indiya Benjamin scored 11 of her 14 points in the first period as YSU built a 10-point lead just over seven minutes into the game. Kim Dennings finished with 22 points for Wright State.

Quick Notes from Wright State

  • With Cash and Arbanas battling foul trouble, YSU had three players set new career highs in minutes — Wright (32), Janae Jackson (28-tied) and Jill Blacksten (18). Wright made the first start of her career and made two big plays in the final 10 seconds. Blacksten scored six points on a pair of 3-pointers, and Jackson was a rebound away from gathering a double-double.
  • YSU had the same starting lineup of Arbanas, Benjamin, Cash, Jackson and Alison Smolinski in each of its last seven games.
  • Arbanas became the first player in school history to make 100 career 3-pointers as a sophomore. She made three 3-pointers for the third consecutive game.
  • YSU had its second-highest point total in the first period this season with 24.
  • Cash had three steals for the fourth straight game.
  • Wright State led for just 2:28. That's the second-lowest amount of time in a game that the Raiders have led this season in 21 games.
  • Although the Penguins were outrebounded 40-36, having a rebound that close was a big accomplishment. Wright State came into the game leading the Horizon League during conference play in rebounding margin at at plus-4.4, and YSU was last at minus-11.9. YSU was plus-2 on the glass in the second half, and Benjamin tied her career-high with seven rebounds.
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Get to Know Sarah Cash
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Get to Know Marissa Brown
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Get to Know Jill Blacksten
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Get to Know Nikki Arbanas
October 22, 2015 Get to Know Nikki Arbanas