Senior Janae Jackson scored a career-high 18 points, but the Youngstown State women's basketball team dropped an 88-77 contest to Northern Kentucky on Saturday afternoon at the Beeghly Center.
The defeat drops the Penguins to 14-6 overall and 5-4 in the Horizon League while the Norse improve to 12-8 and 4-5.
Jackson, whose previous career best was 14 at Detroit earlier this month, made 7-of-11 field-goal attempts and was 3-of-4 from the free-throw line against the Norse on Saturday.
NKU had a decisive advantage from the free-throw line making 20-of-25 attempts while the Guins were just 6-of-8 in the contest. The Norse also shot well from the field making 29-of-50 attempts (58 percent) and went 9-of-18 (50 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. The Penguins shot 40.3 percent making 29-of-72 attempts from field while going 13-of-37 from 3-point range.
YSU made a run late in the fourth period pulling within 81-75 on a Nikki Arbanas 3-pointer with 2:17 left. However, the Norse next five points to seal the victory.
Arbanas and Kelsea Newman each scored 11 points for YSU while Sarah Cash added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Cash was 8-of-13 from field in the contest. Five NKU players finished in double figures as Courtney Roush came off the bench scoring a game-high 20 points.
Each team scored 19 points in the third quarter as the Guins trailed 69-60 after three. YSU was able to trim a 13-point deficit to 63-58 on a pair of free throws by Jackson with 2:21 left in the period. NKU responded with the next four points to push the lead back out to nine. In the fourth, the Norse outscored the Guins 19-17.
A high-scoring first quarter saw both teams combine to score 55 points. The Penguins jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead behind five points each by Cash and Jackson. But the Norse scored 10 of the next 12 points tying the contest at 12.
YSU's last lead of the opening period came at 18-17 when Arbanas drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key before NKU reeled off the next eight points grabbing a 25-18 advantage. YSU cut the deficit to 30-25 after one when Newman converted a 3-pointer from the corner.
In the second period, YSU made six field goals, four of which came from beyond the 3-point line.
A Newman 3-pointer brought YSU within 34-30, but an 8-3 Norse run gave it a 42-33. The Guins pulled within 42-36 following a Benjamin 3-pointer, before trailing 50-39 late in the stanza. A driving layup down the lane by Benjamin cut the deficit to 50-41 at halftime.
In the first half, NKU shot 60.7 percent, including an impressive 63.6 percent in the second period (7-of-11). YSU made 42.9 percent (15-of-35) and shot the same from 3-point range converting 9-of-21 attempts.
The Penguins are at home for the third straight time when they take on Oakland on Thursday at the Beeghly Center. Tipoff for the contest is set for 5:15 p.m.