Penguins Begin Tournament Play Versus Mastodons on Thursday

Chelsea Olson (Photo by Robert Hayes)
Chelsea Olson (Photo by Robert Hayes)

Game Notes

Game Preview

  • Youngstown State hopes a talented and balanced roster will start a run in the Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship as it begins tournament play on Thursday against Purdue Fort Wayne. The game between the seventh-seeded Penguins and the 10th-seeded Mastodons will tip at 5 p.m., and live coverage will be on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio, ESPN+ and the ESPN app.
  • The Penguins enter the postseason as a confident group. YSU won nine of its last 13 games of the regular season, and it led entering the fourth quarter in three of those four losses. Eight of the Penguins' wins came against teams seeded below them, but they had a four-point loss to Wright State in their season opener, split with fourth-seeded Oakland and led by double digits in both setbacks at IUPUI.
  • Youngstown State has won at least one game in the Horizon League in six of the last eight seasons and five times in seven years under head coach John Barnes. The Penguins swept Purdue Fort Wayne earlier this month, winning by 42 and 16.
  • The Penguins had a league-high three players voted to the all-league teams. Mary Dunn was named to the All-Horizon League Second Team, and Nneka Obiazor and Chelsea Olson were voted to the Third Team. Additionally, Obiazor was tabbed the conference's Freshman of the Year. Dunn and Olson were also voted to the Horizon League All-Academic Team, giving YSU two selections on the five-player team.
  • Offense has been YSU's strength this season. The Penguins are shooting 44.5 percent from the field this season, which ranks second in the Horizon League. It's YSU's highest shooting percentage for a season since 1997-98 and the eighth-best mark in program history.
  • YSU has the Horizon League in 3-pointers per game in each of the past six seasons and seven times since 2011-12. The Penguins are averaging 7.38 3-pointers per game in 2020-21, which is 0.15 more than IUPUI.
  • Dunn has scored in double figures in 12 straight games and in 28 of her last 34 games dating back to the 2018-19 season. She was YSU's top scorer in five of the last seven games of the regular season. Dunn ranks seventh in the Horizon League in scoring at 15.6 points per game.
  • Obiazor has scored in double figures in 11 straight games, and she was the Horizon League Freshman of the Week four times in the regular season. She scored 29 points, the third-highest total by a freshman in YSU's Division I era, on Friday against Cleveland State. She ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 15.2 points per game, and she sits fifth in rebounding with 8.3 per contest.
  • Olson leads the league with 5.0 assists per game, and she is the only Division I player in the nation with career total of at least 1,000 points, 650 rebounds and 350 assists. Olson scored her 1,000th career point at UIC on Jan. 15.
  • Dunn, Obiazor, Olson and McKenah Peters provide the Penguins a balanced scoring attack with averages between 15.2 points and 9.5 points per game.
  • Youngstown State posted the second-highest GPA in the country in 2019-20 with a 3.782. The Penguins have had one of the top 10 GPAs in four of the last five seasons.

Youngstown State vs. Purdue Fort Wayne

A Win Would...

  • Give the Penguins a 10-7 record this season.
  • Allow the team to earn at least one victory in the Horizon League Basketball Championship for the seventh time in the last nine seasons.
  • Give the Penguins seven wins in their last eight games at Beeghly Center.
  • Be YSU's fourth straight over Purdue Fort Wayne.
  • Be the 283rd in Coach John Barnes' career and his 127th at Youngstown State.

Scouting Purdue Fort Wayne

  • Purdue Fort Wayne is the 10th seed in the 2021 Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship after posting a 1-21 overall record and a 1-19 mark in conference play. The Mastodons earned their first win of the season on Friday when they won 71-67 against Robert Morris.
  • Sierra Bell leads the Mastodons in scoring and rebounding at 10.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.  Hannah Hess and Shayla Sellers both average more than one 3-pointer per game, and Sellers leads the squad with 22 blocks and 29 steals.
  • Youngstown State vs. Purdue Fort Wayne

Series History

  • Overall: Youngstown State leads 6-2
  • Barnes: 2-0 // Home: 4-1 // Away: 2-1 // Neutral: -
  • Current Win Streak: 3 by Youngstown State
  • Youngstown State leads the all-time series with Purdue Fort Wayne 6-2, and the programs last played in 2011-12 before their two games earlier this month. YSU is 4-1 against the Mastodons in Beeghly Center.
  • The Penguins have scored at least 72 points in six of the eight meetings, including 102 in a 42-point victory on Feb. 5. That set the school record for highest point total in a Horizon League game. Only one of the eight games in the series has been decided by fewer than 10 points.

Horizon League Tournament History

  • Going back to the 2012-13 season, the Penguins have won a game in the Horizon League Tournament in six of the last eight seasons. They are 5-2 in their first game in seven previous seasons under head coach John Barnes. Prior to the 2012-13 campaign, YSU had a 1-11 record in the Horizon League Tournament.
  • The Penguins have appeared in the semifinals in five of the last eight tournaments – in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019.

This Season vs. Purdue Fort Wayne

Feb. 5, 2021 • vs. Purdue Fort Wayne • W, 102-60 | Recap | Stats

  • YSU scored the first 16 points of the game and led by double digits for the final 36:56 as it won 102-60. The Penguins led 24-10 after a quarter and 46-30 at halftime. YSU then outscored the Mastodons 31-9 in the third period, and the lead reached its peak at 102-56 with 1:11 remaining.
  • YSU had its highest-scoring game ever in Horizon League play with 102 points. The last time the Penguins scored at least 100 points was when they beat Sacramento State 102-94 in Hawaii. It was YSU's first time scoring at least 100 points in Beeghly Center since scoring 106 against Chicago State on Jan. 5, 1998.
  • YSU shot 60 percent from the field for just the sixth time in program history. The Penguins shot 60.7 percentage against Detroit Mercy on Feb. 2, 2019. Before that, the previous time the team shot at least 60 percent was in 1998.
  • YSU shot at least 56 percent in each quarter – 64.7 percent in the first, 56.3 percent in the second, 61.1 percent in the third and 57.1 percent in the fourth.
  • The Penguins went 13-for-26 from 3-point range. That was their most 3s in a game since making 16 against Muskingum on Dec. 20, 2019. Seven different players made at least one 3-pointer, and McKenah Peters (5), Malia Magestro (2) and Maddie Schires (2) combined for nine of them.
  • YSU had 28 assists as a team, which was its most in a game since also having 28 against Penn State Beaver on Dec. 20, 2017.
  • Mary Dunn went 10-for-12 from the field for 83.3 percent. That tied for the 16th-best shooting percent for a single game in program history. Dunn scored 23 points in just 19 minutes.
  • Chelsea Olson had a season-high 11 assists and impressively did not commit a turnover. It was her third career game with at least 10 assists, which is the sixth-most by a Penguin in program history.

Feb. 6, 2021 • vs. Purdue Fort Wayne • W, 68-52 | Recap | Stats

  • Youngstown State held Purdue Fort Wayne scoreless for an eight-minute stretch in the second half and used another strong effort in the third quarter to win 68-52 and complete the series sweep.
  • While YSU led 16-0 on Friday, Purdue Fort Wayne led 15-12 in the final minute of the opening quarter. Malia Magestro hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to spark a 13-3 run, and YSU led the rest of the way. The margin was just 32-31 at the 6:44 mark of the third period, but YSU didn't allow another point until there was 8:38 left in the fourth period. The lead grew to 60-38 with 4:20 remaining in the game.
  • YSU outscored Purdue Fort Wayne 18-7 in the third period as the margin grew. In the two games, the Penguins held a 49-16 scoring edge in the third quarter.
  • McKenah Peters led all scorers with 19 points, and she made the 150th 3-pointer of her career in the second half. She went 8-for-16 from 3-point range in the two games against the Mastodons. She is the 11th player in program history to make 150 3s.
  • Nneka Obiazor had 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds, and Mary Dunn had 15 points in 21 minutes. That duo combined to go 11-for-16 from the field. Obiazor grabbed at least eight rebounds for the 10th straight game.
  • YSU shot 57.7 percent in the second half and 51 percent for the game. The Penguins had success again inside, making 20 of their 30 attempts inside the 3-point arc and holding a 38-14 edge in the paint. YSU outscored Purdue Fort Wayne 88-28 in the paint in the series.
  • Purdue Fort Wayne shot 30.6 percent, but it turned 15 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points and forced 14 YSU turnovers.
  • Dunn made her 200th career free throw. She is one of 19 players in program history to make at least 200. Dunn is 17-for-18 from the free-throw line over the last three games and ranks third in the Horizon League in free-throw percentage.

Last Week vs. Cleveland State

Feb. 19, 2021 • vs. Cleveland State • L, 73-76 | Recap | Stats

  • Youngstown State led by as many as 18 points in the second half, and the Penguins held a 67-53 lead with 5:40 left in the game, but Cleveland State made five 3s in the final 4:03 to rally for a 76-73 win.
  • YSU made 11 3-pointers, which was its second-highest total of the season. The Penguins were 11-for-27 overall, but they went 2-for-8 in the fourth period.
  • The Penguins had 20 assists on 26 field goals. The 20 assists were the second-most in a game this season.
  • YSU lost for the third straight time when holding a lead entering the fourth period. Prior to the last three games, the Penguins were 75-8 in head coach John Barnes' tenure when holding the lead entering the fourth quarter.
  • Youngstown State led for nearly 39 of the 40 minutes – from the 9:10 mark of the first period until there were 13.6 seconds left.
  • Cleveland State made 10 3s, which was the most by an opponent this season. The Vikings went 5-for-6 from 3-point range over the final 4:03 of the game and scored on its final 11 possessions.
  • Nneka Obiazor scored a career-high 29 points. She was 11-for-18 from the field, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line. Cleveland State limited her to one field-goal attempt over the final 5:58 of the game. The 29 points were the third-most scored by a YSU freshman in the school's Division I era.
  • Mary Dunn became the 12th player in program history to make at least 500 career field goals.
  • Obiazor has made nine 3-pointers in the last two games after having seven total in her first 13 contests. She went 5-for-8 at IUPUI, and she was 4-for-6 against the Vikings.
  • Dunn and Obiazor combined for 41 of YSU's 73 points and 17 of its 37 rebounds.

Feb. 20, 2021 • vs. Cleveland State • W, 64-61 | Recap | Stats

  • Mary Dunn scored 24 points, and YSU hung on to beat Cleveland State 64-61 on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both schools.
  • The Penguins led for 35:51, and they were able to hold off another fourth-quarter charge by the Vikings. YSU's advantage was 59-49 with 3:18 left, and Cleveland State scored seven points in the next 37 seconds to close the gap to three.
  • Maddie Schires scored five straight points for YSU to push the margin back to eight at 64-56, and Chelsea Olson blocked the Destiny Leo's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
  • Olson finished the game with a career-high five blocks, and she had a big part in limiting the Horizon League's leading scorer Mariah White to 13 points on 25 field-goal attempts. The five blocks were the most by a Penguin in two years. Olson also had seven assists for the second straight game.
  • Dunn was 10-for-12 from the field in a game for the second time in three weeks (also against Purdue Fort Wayne on Feb. 5). Dunn was also 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.
  • Nneka Obiazor collected her third double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. She helped the Penguins hold a 43-37 rebounding edge.
  • Schires scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half. The 12 points matched her season high from the season opener.
  • Cleveland State went scoreless for the first 5:05 of the second period. YSU didn't make a field goal in the fourth period until a Dunn layup at the 4:03 mark.
  • Youngstown State shot 41.1 percent for the game, and it was 21-for-42 through three quarters.
  • Emma VanZanten started at Beeghly Center for the first time in her career for Senior Day. She had three assists and six rebounds in 18 minutes. It was her second straight game with three assists.

Up Next

  • If the Penguins beat Purdue Fort Wayne, they will play in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship on Tuesday. If the top seeds all win in the first round, YSU would play at Milwaukee.