By Cameron Niemi
The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team continued its three-game homestand Jan. 24. The Penguins welcomed Northern Kentucky University to Beeghly Center and were defeated by the Norse, 62-56.
The Penguins led by three points at the end of the first quarter. NKU then outscored YSU in the second, 23-9, and went into halftime with a 34-25 lead.
Northern Kentucky came out in the third quarter and extended its lead to 18 points as they capitalized off the ‘Guins turnovers. YSU cut the deficit to 13 and went into the final quarter down, 57-44.
Youngstown State climbed back and brought the game within six points, but the Norse finished out the game with a win despite being held to five points by the Penguins. NKU finished the game scoring 21 points off of 17 YSU turnovers.
Interim head coach John Nicolais spoke after the game about the team’s loss.
“I thought we would shoot the ball better than what we did tonight. Unfortunately, we didn’t,” Nicolais said. “We were a little too careless with the basketball early, especially in the first half — way too many turnovers.”
YSU ended its homestand against Robert Morris University on Jan. 27. The Penguins secured their fourth conference win of the season by a final score of 71-46.
The ‘Guin’s jumped out to an early 12-2 lead in the first quarter. The Colonials cut the lead down to six, but the Penguins held the 16-10 lead heading into the second quarter.
YSU continued to play stout defense in the second quarter as the Penguins held RMU to just six points and went into halftime with a 31-16 lead. Fifth-year senior Emily Saunders had 13 points at the break for the Penguins.
By the third quarter, the Penguins pulled away to extend their lead to 18 points before heading into the final quarter with a 50-32 lead.
In the fourth quarter, YSU went on a 13-point scoring run and held the Colonials to just six points.
Senior Malia Magestro finished the game with 20 points and led the team with four steals. Saunders finished the game with 23 points, four blocks and five rebounds. Junior Haley Thierry led the team with 11 rebounds, a career-high.
Magestro credited the team’s defense for getting the offense going.
“Our offense stemmed from our defense today. We tried some new things on defense, and it worked for us. I really think we got a lot of really good looks because of our defense,” Magestro said.
The Penguins hit the road Jan. 31 to play Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. YSU fell to the Jaguars by a final of 69-63.
Despite the loss, Magestro made her 150th career 3-pointer and joined three other teammates who have reached that mark this season.
YSU moves to 8-14 on the season and 4-8 in the Horizon League with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Youngstown State will return home to host the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at noon on Feb 3. To watch the game, visit ESPN+ or listen on 570 WKBN.