Penguins Host NKU on Thursday to Conclude First Half of League Play

Natalie Myers (Photo by David Dermer)
Natalie Myers (Photo by David Dermer)

Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State will look to carry a high from Saturday's win at Cleveland State into two home games this week, starting with Thursday's contest against Northern Kentucky. Tipoff at Beeghly Center will be at 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on sportsanimal1390.com, iHeartRadio, ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
  • The Penguins are coming off an impressive 66-52 win at Cleveland State in which freshman Chelsea Olson keyed a big second half. YSU outscored the Vikings 44-29 over the final 20 minutes as Olson scored 20 points in the half while going 5-of-5 from the field. The Penguins snapped a four-game losing streak this season and a four-game skid in Cleveland.
  • Olson finished with 26 points, which was the most by a YSU freshman since 1995. She stepped up big time with Penguins starters Nikki Arbanas and Alison Smolinski out with injuries. Olson was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week for her performance.
  • Thursday's game will conclude the first half of Horizon League play for the Penguins. YSU is currently in a three-way tie for sixth place with Oakland and Northern Kentucky.
  • The game against NKU on Thursday and Saturday's contest against Wright State are the only two for YSU at Beeghly Center in an eight-game stretch. The Penguins started league play with four straight home games but are in a patch of playing eight out of 10 on the road.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League with 162 3-pointers and 8.5 3s per game this season. The Penguins made seven second-half 3-pointers in the win at Cleveland State. YSU has led the Horizon League in 3s per game in each of the last three years.
  • Sarah Cash is averaging 14.4 points and shooting 58.6 percent in conference contests, and Indiya Benjamin is tied for the HL lead with 5.4 assists per game against the league.

Tickets & Promotions

  • Advance tickets for Thursday's game are available at the YSU Athletic Ticket Office in Stambaugh Stadium. Tickets can be ordered over the phone by calling (330) 941-1YSU.
  • The ticket office is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Beeghly Center Ticket Office will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
  • YSU students in attendance will receive a YSU Basketball t-shirt, courtesy of Jimmy John's, U.S. Army, Pepsi, Eagle Wear, West Coast Chill and University Edge.

Previewing Northern Kentucky

A Win Would...

  • Improve YSU's record to 8-12 overall and 4-5 in Horizon League play.
  • Be the Penguins' second straight over NKU.
  • Give YSU a 6-4 record at Beeghly Center this season.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State is 6-2 all time in games played on Jan. 25. The Penguins are 3-0 at home on the date, including a 79-64 win over Oakland in their last game in 2014.
  • Individually, Dorothy Bowers scored her 2,000th career point on Jan. 25, 1988, at Eastern Kentucky.

Scouting The Norse

  • Northern Kentucky is 5-14 overall and 3-5 in Horizon League play. The Norse beat Green Bay, and they took Wright State to overtime in a loss.
  • The Norse rank last in the league in scoring offense and are in the bottom half in most offensive categories, but they are in the top half in several defensive categories. NKU ranks fifth in scoring defense and third in field goal percentage defense.
  • Molly Glick leads the Norse offensively with 12.5 points per game, and freshman Kailey Coffey averages 9.8 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds.

Recapping Cleveland State

  • Chelsea Olson scored the most points by a Youngstown State freshman in 23 years, and the Penguins used a big second half to beat Cleveland State 66-52 on Saturday.
  • Olson scored 20 of her game and career-high 26 points in the second half as YSU outscored the Vikings 44-29 over the final 20 minutes.
  • Olson was 5-for-5 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line in the second half. Her 26 points were the most by a YSU freshman since Anne Marie Martin scored 26 against UMKC on Jan. 23, 1995.
  • Sarah Cash added 16 points, and Morgan Brunner scored eight second-half points for YSU. Natalie Myers scored six points, and Indiya Benjamin had seven assists.
  • YSU won at the Wolstein Center for the first time under Coach John Barnes. The Penguins had leads of at least eight points in the second half in each of the last four meetings in Cleveland but couldn't hold on.
  • Both teams lacked significant pieces to their starting lineups in the game. YSU was without starting guards Nikki Arbanas and Alison Smolinski, and Cleveland State leading scorer Ashanti Abshaw was also out with an injury.
  • While Arbanas missed all of 2016-17 win a torn ACL, Saturday was the first game she missed in the middle of a season in her career.
  • Kelley Wright made her first start of the season, and McKenah Peters started for the third time.
  • Cash scored in double figures for the seventh time in eight Horizon League contests.
  • Though Benjamin was held to five points, she held CSU's Khayla Livingston to 4-of-13 shooting from the field.
  • The score was within five points for the first 25 minutes of the game before Olson helped the Penguins pull away. YSU's first lead of the second half came when Brunner's 3-pointer at the 7:35 mark put them ahead 26-25, and they did not trail again. Brunner's 3 was part of a 14-3 run, which ended with Olson scoring seven straight points.

Up Next

  • Youngstown State will conclude its brief two-game homestand on Saturday at 1 p.m. as it hosts Wright State. Fans in attendance will receive a YSU Water Bottle courtesy of State Farm, Mercy Health and TV-21 WFMJ. Fans can also sign up for the Better With Burgan "Mortgage Mania Challenge" for a chance to have their mortgage paid for a year. More details on the promotion are available here.