Penguins begin three-game homestand

The YSU women's basketball team celebrates with fifth-year Dena Jarells after a made 3-pointer.Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

By Madeline Hippeard

The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team started its three-game homestand Jan. 18 with a victory over Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

Throughout the game, Youngstown State and Fort Wayne exchanged the lead 14 times until the final 12 minutes. 

Fifth-year Dena Jarrels watches the ball after shooting a 3-pointer. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

The ‘Guins started out the fourth quarter with a 41-37 lead over the Mastodons. 

The Penguins built their lead, reaching 57-46 with 1:46 left on the clock, but Purdue Fort Wayne fought its way back to 60-55.

Despite full court pressure from PFW, junior guard Haley Thierry pushed past the defenders and extended the ‘Guins lead to 62-55 with a layup. Thierry scored again 15 seconds later, bringing Youngstown State’s lead to 64-55. 

Fifth-year guard Shay-Lee Kirby scored a layup for the Penguins in the final seconds of the game, bringing the final score to 66-57. 

Interim head coach John Nicolais credited the Penguin’s victory against Fort Wayne to the team’s strong defense. 

“We’ve been gritty for 10 years plus. That’s kind of our identity, and that’s something we haven’t shied away from, we’ve always embraced that,” Nicolais said. “We would certainly like to score more points— don’t get me wrong there — but I think that’s kind of the identity of this place.”

Sophomore Abby Liber prepares to shoot a free throw. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

Earlier in the week, the Youngstown State lost to both the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which Thierry credited as the team’s motivation against Fort Wayne. 

“Coming off of a three-game losing streak, we really wanted to win this game so we could build off of it and use it as momentum. We’ve been working really hard in practice trying to set our players up so we can get open and moving the ball, and I feel like we did that really really well today. So, building off of that, I feel like that will help us in the long run,” Thierry said. 

The ‘Guins started their Wisconsin road trip with an 85-47 loss against Green Bay. 

In the first minute of the game, senior forward Paige Shy scored her 150th career 3-pointer, which gave the Penguins their first basket of the night. 

Throughout the second half of the matchup, Youngstown State was unable to recover from the large point deficit, resulting in a loss.

Youngstown State and Milwaukee traded leads for the majority of the first quarter of the game. However, by the end of the second quarter, Milwaukee overtook the Penguins, 50-37. 

The ‘Guins were down, 53-39, heading into the fourth quarter, but the Penguins fought back to 60-58 with 2:20 remaining in the game. However, they were unable to keep their momentum up and were defeated, 66-58.

The Penguins played Northern Kentucky University on Jan. 24. For results, visit

The women’s basketball team will be back in action to round out its three-game stretch against Robert Morris University on Jan. 27. 

Tip off is set for 1:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.