By Dan Hiner
The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team couldn’t seem to get out of its own way on Thursday night as the Penguins fell to Northern Kentucky University 70-59.
YSU (18-10, 9-8 in the Horizon League) found itself in foul trouble early in the first quarter. With two minutes to go in the first quarter, the Penguins had to send forwards Janae Jackson and Kelsea Newman to the bench because of fouls.
The Penguins held a 13-11 lead with 2:22 left in the first quarter, but YSU was in the double bonus and the Norse took a 17-13 lead after a 6-0 run at the end of the first quarter. The Norse converted on four straight free throw attempts.
YSU cut down on the fouls in the second quarter, but the Penguins continued to turn the ball over. YSU had six turnovers in the second, but was able to keep itself in the game. NKU took a 32-28 lead into halftime.
The Penguins’ offense couldn’t get a shot to fall in the third quarter. YSU shot 4-13 in the third and was outscored 23-15.
YSU point guard Indiya Benjamin tried taking over the fourth quarter. Benjamin scored six of her 13 points in the fourth as YSU made more of an attempt to shoot 3-pointers. The Penguins went 3-9 from behind the 3-point arch, but they were unable to cut into the Norse lead.
NKU (17-11, 9-8 in the Horizon League) made YSU forward Sarah Cash a non-factor. Cash scored eight points, four coming in the first quarter, and was held scoreless in the fourth.
During his weekly press conference, YSU head coach John Barnes said the Penguins needed to be more aggressive on offense.
“I thought they were the aggressive team against us in terms of attacking,” Barnes said. “Janae [Jackson] and Indiay [Benjamin] are our two best players in terms of bing able to attack the basket and make things happen.”
But with Cash unable to control the post and Jackson’s foul trouble, the Penguins were unable to cut to the basket. Although YSU got the Norse into foul trouble, the Penguins only went to the free throw line nine times — going 6-9 in the game.
The Norse, on the other hand, shot 15-16 (93.8 percent) from the charity strip.
Former YSU guard Shar’Rae Davis had another quality game against the Penguins. In the first game between the Norse and the Penguins, Davis scored a season-high 16 points. She followed that performance with a 15-point game on Thursday.
The Penguins will play their final game of the regular season on Sunday at Wright State University. Wright State is coming off an 81-64 win over Cleveland State University and currently holds the third seed in the Horizon League tournament.
YSU 59, Northern Kentucky 70
YSU (18-10, 9-9) — Indiya Benjamin 4-2-13, Nikki Arbanas 4-0-10, Alison Smolinski 3-1-9, Sarah Cash 4-0-8, Janae Jackson 2-1-6, Kelsea Newman 1-2-4, Jenna Hirsch 1-0-3, Melinda Trimmer 1-0-3, Kelley Wright 1-0-3. Totals: 21-6-59.
NKU (17-11, 9-8) — Shar’Rae Davis 5-4-15, Courtney Roush 5-2-13, Kesay Uetrecht 4-2-12, Christine Roush 4-3-12, Rebecca Lyttle 3-2-9, Molly Glick 2-0-5, Molly Franson 0-2-2, Sarah Kinch 1-0-2. Totals: 24-15-70.
YSU 13 15 15 16 — 59
NKU 17 15 23 15 — 70
3-point field goals: YSU 11 (Benjamin 3, Nikki Arbanas 2, Smolinski 2, Hirsch, Jackson, Trimmer, Wright); NKU 7 (Uetrecht 2, Davis, Glick, Lyttle, Christine Roush, Courtney Roush).
Rebounds: YSU 38 (Cash 8, Jackson 7, Smolinski 6, Wright 4, Benjamin 3, Arabanas 2, Hirsch 2, Trimmer, Team 5); NKU 29 (Uetrecht 6, Davis 5, Courtney Roush 5, Glick 3, Lyttle 2, Christine Roush 2, Kelley Wiegman 2, Franson, Kinch, Team 2).
Turnovers: YSU 21 (Benjamin 5, Cash 5, Wright 3, Arbanas 2, Hirsch 2, Smolinski 2, Jackson, Trimmer); NKU 13 (Davis 2, Glick 2, Kinch 2, Courtney Roush 2, Uetrecht 2, Franson, Lyttle, Wiegman).