Penguins Head to NKU Looking for Fourth Straight Win

Mary Dunn (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Mary Dunn (Photo by Rob Hayes)

Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State begins its final push for the Horizon League regular-season title this week with a pair of road games. The Penguins begin the trip at Northern Kentucky on Friday at 7 p.m., and the game at BB&T Arena will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio, ESPN+ and WatchESPN.
  • YSU finished off a perfect Horizon League home slate this past weekend with a 70-59 win over Green Bay on Friday and a 67-47 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday. The Penguins went 9-0 at home against conference opponents, and they are 3-3 on the road with their final three games coming away from Beeghly Center. Sunday's contest is at league-leading Wright State.
  • With Sunday's win over Milwaukee, YSU set school records with 12 HL wins and 15 home victories, and it clinched a top-four seed and home game in the Horizon League Tournament. The Penguins also remained in second in place in the league standings and in control of their own destiny for a regular-league championship.
  • On Sunday, YSU outscored the Panthers 32-7 over a 19-minute stretch between the second and third quarters to pull away for the 20-point win. Alison Smolinski went 6-for-7 from 3-point range as one of three seniors playing in their final regular-season contest at Beeghly Center, and YSU made 11 3s as a team.
  • Smolinski has tied YSU's single-season 3-pointers record with 89, and she's already broken YSU records this season for career 3s and 3s in a game. She is also just 12 points away from becoming the 21st Penguin to score 1,000.
  • YSU has won 20 games for the fourth time in the last seven years, and it is likely headed to a postseason tournament for the fifth time in the last seven campaigns.
  • The Penguins have won at least 20 of their first 26 games for the first time since 1997-98 and for just the fourth time in program history. The Penguins have won 30 of their last 40 games overall.
  • Four different Penguins have been named the Horizon League Player of the Week this season — Sarah Cash, Mary Dunn (twice), Chelsea Olson and Smolinski.

Previewing Northern Kentucky

A Win Would...

  • Improve YSU's record to 21-6 overall and 13-3 in HL play.
  • Up YSU's school record for Horizon League victories to 13.
  • Give YSU at least 21 wins through 27 games for the fourth time in program history and for the first time since 1997-98.
  • Give the Penguins five straight wins over NKU.
  • Be the 613th in school history and the 102nd under Head Coach John Barnes.

Scouting The Norse

  • Northern Kentucky is 7-17 overall and 6-8 in Horizon League play entering this week. The Norse are 5-2 at home against HL teams with their only losses coming to Green Bay and Wright State. They had won four straight games before losing their three most recent contests.
  • The Norse rank fourth in the Horizon League in rebounding margin at plus-4.6. They also rank fifth in the league with 6.3 3-pointers per contest.
  • A pair of freshman guards have led the Norse in scoring in league play. Ally Niece is averaging 11.2 points per game, and Taylor Clos is averaging 9.9 points with a team-high 29 3s in their 14 conference bouts. Kailey Coffey sits fourth in the conference with 8.0 rebounds per game.
  • YSU has played at BB&T Arena four times since 2012, and three of the contests have been nail-biters. The Penguins won by one last year, and they have a two-point loss and an overtime loss at NKU.

Series History

  • Overall: Youngstown State leads 5-4
  • Barnes: 4-3 // Home: 4-1 // Away: 1-3 // Neutral: 0-0
  • Current Win Streak: 4 by Youngstown State

Last Time vs. NKU: W, 77-66 (Jan. 21, 2019)

  • YSU outscored Northern Kentucky 31-12 in the fourth period and scored 37 of the game's final 49 points to beat the Norse 77-66 on Jan. 21, 2019, at Beeghly Center.
  • NKU led 54-40 with 2:26 left in the third period, and they were shooting 51.2 percent from the field before missing 13 straight field-goal attempts. That helped the Penguins turn the 14-point deficit into a 13-point lead in less than 12 minutes.
  • The Penguins were 8-for-12 from the field in the fourth period and shot 49 percent for the game. Mary Dunn was 8-for-11 from the field, and she had 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
  • YSU was 21-for-23 from the free-throw line and outscored NKU by 12 at the FT line.
  • Kailey Coffey scored a season-high 19 points for NKU.

Last Year at NKU: W, 60-59 (Feb. 19, 2018)

  • YSU made six 3s in the first period to build a big lead and held on late in a 60-59 win over NKU at BB&T Arena last year.
  • The Penguins led 23-9 after 13 minutes, but NKU rallied to get within four at halftime and trailed by just one with 2:54 left in the fourth.
  • Indiya Benjamin's layup put YSU ahead 57-54, and Nikki Arbanas made three free throws in the final 12 seconds to put the Penguins up four. NKU made a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final tally.
  • Sarah Cash scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth period, and McKenah Peters made three 3s. YSU made 7-of-10 from 3 to start the game but 2-of-16 after that.

On This Day

  • YSU is 5-1 overall and has won its last three games played on Feb. 22. YSU's last action on the date came in an 80-74 overtime win at Butler.
  • Danielle Carson had 20 points and 14 assists in a win over Austin Peay on Feb. 22, 1986, and Dorothy Bowers scored 32 points vs. Middle Tennessee in 1988.

Recapping Milwaukee

  • Youngstown State held Milwaukee to seven points over a 19-minute stretch and finished off a perfect Horizon League home record with a 67-47 win over the Panthers on Sunday at Beeghly Center.
  • After UWM's Lizzie Odegard tied the score at 18 with 9:48 left in the second period, Milwaukee made just three if its next 27 attempts from the field. YSU scored 32 of the next 39 points over that stretch.
  • YSU led 35-21 at halftime then outscored Milwaukee 17-6 in the third period. The margin was its highest at 56-28 with 8:20 left when Alison Smolinski made her sixth 3 of the game.
  • Smolinski finished 6-for-7 from 3-point range with her only miss coming at the 5:47 mark of the first period. She made her last five attempts to increase her season total to 89, which tied YSU's single-season record. It was only the fifth time in YSU history that a player made at least six 3s while having one miss or fewer.
  • YSU won on Senior Day for the sixth time in the last seven years.
  • The 20-point margin bucked the recent trend in the series. Each of the last six meetings had been decided by four points or fewer and by a total of 17 points.
  • The rebounding battle was completely different this time than in the first matchup. YSU outrebounded the Panthers 45-28 and held UWM to two second-chance points. On Jan. 10, Milwaukee held a 38-33 edge and scored 19 points off 13 offensive rebounds.
  • YSU was 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) from 3-point range and 10-for-31 (32.3 percent) inside the arc.
  • Mary Dunn (14 point) and Melinda Trimmer (10) joined Smolinski in double figures. Chelsea Olson had six points on six field-goal attempts but added seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.

Up Next

  • Youngstown State will play at Horizon League-leading Wright State on Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio, ESPN+ and WatchESPN.