Penguins Start Second Half of League Play Hosting Oakland on Thursday

Kelsea Newman and the Penguins begin the second half of conference play vs. Oakland on Thursday.
Kelsea Newman and the Penguins begin the second half of conference play vs. Oakland on Thursday.
Youngstown State vs. Oakland
Date & Time Thursday, Feb. 4, at 5:15 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center - Youngstown, Ohio
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Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State begins the second half or Horizon League play and a significant seven-game February when it hosts Oakland on Thursday at Beeghly Center. Tipoff is set for 5:15 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN. The YSU men will also host Oakland on Thursday at 7:45 p.m.
  • The Penguins finished the first half of league play with a 5-4 record, which included a 3-2 mark on the road. YSU will play five conference home games in February, and four of those will be doubleheaders with the men's team.
  • YSU lost 88-77 to Northern Kentucky on Saturday to finish with a split for the week. NKU shot 58 percent, which was a high by an opponent under Coach John Barnes.
  • The Penguins are tied with Detroit for fourth in the league standings, and seven teams are within two games of each other between second and eighth place.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League and ranks 12th in the country with 9.0 3-pointers per game. The Penguins were 13-for-37 from distance on Saturday, and they've made at least 10 in five of their last seven games.
  • Sarah Cash ranks third in the country and leads the Horizon League with a .631 field-goal percentage. She averaged 19.5 points last week to jump up to sixth in the league rankings at 15.5 points per game. The sophomore forward is averaging 17.7 points in league play.

Previewing Oakland

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU at least 15 wins in its first 21 games for the 11th time in school history, the second straight season and for the third time in the last four years.
  • Improve YSU's record to 10-2 at Beeghly Center. The Penguins would have at least 10 wins at home for the fourth straight year.
  • Give YSU its first sweep of Oakland in Horizon League play.
  • Be YSU's fourth straight at home over Oakland.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State is 5-8 all time in games played on Feb. 4 and has lost three straight since beating Chicago State 87-73 in Youngstown in 1999. YSU lost 63-59 to Loyola in 2010 and dropped a 65-63 decision on a 3-pointer in the final seconds by Butler in 2012.
  • Two Penguins have scored 30-plus points on Feb. 4. Wanda Grant had 31 in a 66-61 loss at Kent State in 1981, and Tanja Simione scored 30 in a 91-79 loss at Detroit in 1987. Dianne Rappach made seven 3s in an 85-64 loss at Morehead State in 1989.

Scouting Oakland

  • Oakland is one of three teams that went 4-5 during the first half of Horizon League play, and it was the only team to beat Green Bay. The Golden Grizzlies beat the Phoenix 58-56 last Thursday and lost 77-64 at Milwaukee on Saturday.
  • The Golden Grizzlies have the second-best scoring offense (76 ppg) and second-worst scoring defense (70.8 ppg) in the conference. Oakland is also shooting a league-best 44.4 percent from the field and leads the league in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Olivia Nash ranks third in the league with 17.1 points per game, and Elena Popkey holds a two-assist lead on YSU's Indiya Benjamin for the conference's top spot.

Series with Oakland

  • YSU is 7-8 all time against Oakland, and the home team had won all five meetings since the Golden Grizzlies joined the Horizon League in 2013-14 before the Penguins won at the O'rena in November. YSU has won its last three in Youngstown vs. Oakland.
  • Last Meeting: YSU made a school-record-tying 16 3-pointers and had its highest scoring game in 10 years in a 96-77 victory at Oakland on Nov. 28. Kelsea Newman made eight of those 3-pointers, and Indiya Benjamin scored 21 points and had 13 assists. YSU led by at least a dozen for the final 11:53 of the game.

Recapping NKU

Northern Kentucky shot 58 percent and had three of its bench players score in double figures in an 88-77 win over Youngstown State on Saturday at Beeghly Center.

NKU had runs of 15-2 and 8-0 in the first period to go up 30-25 after 10 minutes, and the Norse never slowed down enough for the Penguins to catch them. YSU did shrink a 14-point lead with 7:24 left down to six with 2:18 remaining, but NKU outscored the Penguins 7-2 the rest of the way to hold on for the win.

Janae Jackson scored a career-high 18 points for Youngstown State, which made 13 3-pointers. Sarah Cash also had 18 points and added a game-high 11 rebounds for her third double-double.

Quick Notes from NKU

  • Youngstown State attempted 37 3-pointers, which was its most in the Coach John Barnes era. YSU made 13 of those attempts for its fifth game with at least 10 3-pointers in the last seven.
  • Northern Kentucky had the best field goal percentage by an opponent since West Virginia shot 64.4 percent on Dec. 16, 2012.
  • Jackson surpassed her previous career high of 14 points, which she set at Detroit on Jan. 2. She was 7-for-11 from the field, including 6-for-7 inside the 3-point arc, and added a 3-for-4 effort from the free-throw line. She played a career-high 29 minutes.
  • Nikki Arbanas made three 3-pointers for the fourth straight game and at least three for the sixth time in the last seven games. Two of those 3-pointers came on consecutive possessions in the fourth period as YSU cut a 14-point lead down to six.
  • Kelsea Newman scored 11 points off the bench for her first game in double figures since Dec. 16 against Lake Erie. She's made multiple 3-pointers five times in the last six games.
  • 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. YSU was whistled for a season-high 23 fouls.
  • YSU was even in rebounding margin and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds, three more than it had on the defensive end. The Penguins converted those 18 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points.
  • YSU reached many statistics that usually indicate wins. YSU was 34-6 under Coach Barnes when scoring at least 70 points, 23-4 when at least four players scored in double figures and 31-3 when outscoring teams off turnovers.
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