By Brian Yauger
Down 54-46 after the third quarter, the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team outscored the Northern Kentucky University Norse 31-12 in the final quarter, mounting a massive comeback to win 77-66.
“I thought Northern Kentucky came in with a great mindset,” Penguins coach John Barnes said. “They were ready to go, I thought they played really well and it took everything we had to find a way to win this one.”
After the leaking ceiling that pushed the game back a day, it was only natural for the Penguins to show some rust. But to Barnes, there’s no excuse since Northern Kentucky was just as affected by the delay.
“It was definitely different,” Barnes said. “When you go through the whole thing yesterday and not play … When you get keyed up to play, get ready, get fired up and then not have it happen, then you have to do it all again. But they went through the same thing and they’re on the road, which I think is even tougher to do. They came out and played great. I’m just proud we found a way to get it done.”
The Penguins were down by as many as 14 points during the game, but their furious fourth quarter rally propelled them to an 11 point win. YSU only led for 10 minutes of game time, but had the lead when it counted.
Mary Dunn put up another stellar performance, scoring 23 points and 11 rebounds. Dunn shot 8-of-11 from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Dunn had five blocks, the most by a player since 2015 and the Penguins’ 10 as a team is the most since 2009.
“We knew we needed to step it up,” Dunn said. “We knew we weren’t playing the way that we know how to play. I hate to say it but sometimes we start a little soft and we need to work on that, but we knew that we weren’t getting the loss today.”
The duo of Dunn and Sarah Cash combined for 35 points and posed problems for the Norse on the defensive side, using their size to force defensive stops.
“I love playing with [Cash],” Dunn said. “I’ve learned so much from her. Just being in there with her. Not a lot of teams have two players with our size in their post. It’s a disadvantage for other teams and we need to use that to help us.”
McKenah Peters continued her hot streak, racking up 18 points. Nine free throws and nine points from the field on five shots. Three Penguins scored in the double-digits with Dunn (23), Peters (18) and Cash (12) each getting into double figures.
In her homecoming game, Garrettsville native Grayson Rose scored four points and brought down five rebounds. The sophomore was heavily recruited by YSU but chose to attend Northern Kentucky.
The win moves the Penguins to 14-5 and 6-2 in conference play and remain third in the Horizon League.
Next up for the Penguins is a contest against Cleveland State University on Saturday at 1 p.m.