By Dan Hiner
The Penguins will take on Wright State University on Jan. 22 at the Beeghly Center. Wright State is entering the game with a record of 14-4 and 3-1 in conference play. The Raiders are second in the Horizon League.
The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team began conference play a couple weeks ago. So far the women’s team has gone 2-1 in Horizon League play.
“They’re just really good,” YSU head coach John Barnes said. “They’re very athletic, they”re fast, they can shoot. They have all aspects of the game covered — they’re well coached. It’s going to be a really tough game for us.”
Wright State’s offense has created problems for opposing defenses all year. The Raiders are first in the Horizon League with 76.9 points per game and out-rebounding their opponents by nearly seven more rebounds per game.
“Any time you can attack the basket and put pressure on the defense it creates problems … that’s what Wright State does,” Barnes said. “They’re constantly forcing the action or attacking the basket, so you either have to help or foul, and if you help they’ll kick it out for a three. They put you in bad situations and it makes it difficult. So the more you attack the basket, that puts the other team in tough spots.”
The Penguins offense revolves around working the ball into the paint. YSU is shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from behind the 3-point line. YSU is currently first in the conference in both categories.
“Well a big part of our offense is getting into the post,” forward Kelsea Newman said. “So that’s what we try to do. Once teams can’t stop us in the post, then they have to start double-teaming which leaves guards open on the outside.”
The differences between the two styles of offense might cause a problem for the Penguins. The Raiders like to run the ball up and down the court. Since YSU prefers to run a slowed down offense, the Penguins will need to make sure they don’t lose their offensive identity.
“They like to run it a lot, and I’m not saying we don’t,” Newman said. “We definitely like to slow it down and try to push it inside. With our height and our post players that will be good for us.”
The Penguins are coming off a win against fourth-place Cleveland State University. Barnes said the 79-65 win against the Vikings gave the team confidence heading into the game. YSU has not played since Jan. 15 and the Penguins will look to maintain their confidence despite the long layoff.
“Obviously the confidence will still be there from getting a good win,” Barnes said. “I think the biggest thing is to be rested. We gave them a couple extra days to rest up and this time of year it can be a grind. When you get an opportunity to rest it’s always nice. We came back with a lot of energy today. We had a very solid practice and we will continue that the rest of the week.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Beeghly Center.