Penguins Sweep the Mastodons

Senior Chelsea Olson of the YSU women’s basketball team scores against Purdue Fort Wayne. She’d lead the way to the team’s victory over Purdue, 102-60, Friday. Photo by Kyle Wills / The Jambar

By Kyle Wills

The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team swept Purdue Fort Wayne this past weekend and set a new school record for points in a Horizon League game in their 102-60 victory on Friday.

YSU started the game going on a 16-0 run and led by double digits for the remainder of the game. The Penguins led 24-10 at the end of the first period. YSU’s lead increased 46-30 at halftime, following a 10-1 run by the women.

The women shot at least 56% in every quarter and 60% from the field for the game as they won for the seventh time in eight games.

Mary Dunn was 10-of-12 from the field and scored a game-high 23 points in 19 minutes. She also helped the Penguins hold a 50-14 scoring edge in the paint. McKenah Peters collected the double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Nneka Obiazor, Malia Magestro and Lexi Wagner also scored in double figures for the women. Chelsea Olson also had 11 assists with 7 points in 24 minutes.

The last time Youngstown State scored more than 100 points was when they beat Sacramento State 102-94 on Nov. 20, 2016, in Hawaii.

Following the win on Friday, head coach John Barnes talked about the women’s strong shooting performance and whether shooting is contagious.

“I think it is. When the first few shots go in, it gives everyone confidence and they feed off one another,” he said. “I thought Nneka [Obiazor] and Mary [Dunn], being able to score inside and finish gave our outside players some more confidence. Also them being able to finish in there draws all [the Mastodons’] defenders in, so the perimeter players can stand out there, and catch and shoot.”

On Saturday, the women’s basketball team used a strong effort in the third quarter to beat Purdue Fort Wayne 68-52. The victory has now given the Penguins wins in eight of its last nine games and improves its record to 8-4 this season. 

Peters led the Penguins with 19 points, and she collected the 150th 3-pointer of her career in the second half. Obiazor had 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds, while Dunn scored 15 points in 21 minutes. Obiazor and Dunn would shoot a combined 11-16 from the field.

In the second half, YSU would shoot 57.7 % and 51% for the game. The Penguins had success again inside, shooting 20-of-30 inside the 3-point arc and holding a 38-14 edge in the paint.

Barnes is pleased with the team’s plays as of late, but believes this upcoming weekend will give a better idea of where it is collectively.

“We have four games left and we’ve won eight out of our last nine, which obviously I’ll take any year, so I’m fairly happy,” he said. “We’re still struggling a little bit defensively and trying to be more stubborn on that end, but offensively we’ve been playing much better. Going into IUPUI, one of the best teams in the league, it’s going to tell us a lot more about where we’re at.”

Obiazor was named Nike Horizon League Freshman of the Week for the third time this season following her impressive performances this past weekend.

Obiazor averaged 14.5 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 63.2% (12-for-19) from the field, 1-for-2 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. She had 13 points and eight rebounds in 14 minutes in Friday’s victory, and followed that up with 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes in Saturday’s win.

YSU will be back in action to play their final road games of their regular season this Friday and Saturday as they travel to play the defending conference champion, IUPUI. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m on 1390 WNIO and ESPN+.