By Jordan Boitnott
Over the holiday break, Youngstown State University men’s and women’s basketball teams began the 2020-2021 seasons. However, the women started their season late. According to YSU Sports website, “a member of the team’s Tier 1 bubble tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 10.”
As a result, the team paused all activities and pushed their season start back to Jan. 1. The men’s season began on schedule Dec. 9.
The men started off hot, winning their first three games against Point Park, Binghamton and West Virginia Tech. They won all three games by at least 14 points.
They then began league play against Northern Kentucky and split the two-game series, losing the first game 79-64 and winning the second 70-60.
After the first two-game series in Kentucky, the team traveled to Cleveland State for another two-game series where they would get swept losing 87-69 and 81-74.
After a tough weekend in Cleveland, the team returned home to face Green Bay where they split the series winning the first game 84-77 and losing the second 79-69
Last weekend led to the most exciting game of the year. On the road at Wright State, with the game tied and the clock running down, senior forward Naz Bohannon found senior guard Garret Covington on a backdoor cut for a game winning layup as time expired. The buzzer beater was the deciding factor in YSU’s 74-72 victory. This seemed to give them momentum into Saturday night where they won in a blowout 93-55.
The men will enter this weekend’s series against Oakland with a 6-6 record. They won three of their last four games, so this could be a key series in giving them momentum for the rest of the season.
The women have only played four games up to this point. They had two, two-game series canceled against Northern Kentucky and Green Bay in December. They opened up the season on New Year’s Day, losing to Wright State in a nail biter 57-53 and also lost the second leg of the series 54-39.
The team was able to get their first win of the season against Oakland. After losing the first game 71-61 they came out and won the second half of the series 72-57. Senior guard Chelsea Olson was the leading scorer with 24 points. The star of the night was freshman forward Nneka Obiazor who showed out with a double-double scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. This outstanding performance led to the Horizon League awarding her with the Freshman of the Week Award.
The women’s team will travel to UIC this weekend for a two-game series. This could be a big series for the team — if they can sweep they could get back to the .500 mark. Due to missing four games in an already shortened season, every game matters even more from here on out.