Women’s basketball hosts Cleveland State for first place battle on Saturday

Game preview

  • Youngstown State will begin 2022 with a battle for the top spot in the Horizon League standings as it hosts Cleveland State on New Years Day. Kick-off against rival YSU in the North East Ohio takes place at 1 p.m. at the Beeghly Center, and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeartRadio and ESPN +.
  • While two-thirds of the conference roster will remain after this weekend, a victory over the Vikings would give the Penguins a nice head start over six games. YSU would be 6-0 with the win, and the other 11 Horizon League teams would each have at least two losses. Cleveland State is currently 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the league.
  • The Penguins claimed their 21st victory of the 2021 calendar year on Thursday, beating Purdue Fort Wayne 64-41. The margin was 30-25 two minutes into the second half, but YSU held a 42-31 at the end of the third quarter and outscored the Mastodons 22-10 in the fourth.
  • Lilly Ritz finished with 22 points – she has at least 22 in each of her three Horizon League games this season – and Malia Magestro has scored 14 in her first start since the second game of the season. Chelsea Olson just missed their second career triple-double with seven points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Thursday was the first game of the YSU Horizon League with Ritz and Magestro available.
  • YSU has won at least 11 of its first 12 games for the fifth time in program history and for the second time under head coach John Barnes. YSU has not been 12-1 since the 1997-98 campaign. The Penguins are 5-0 to start the Horizon League for the second time in 21 seasons in the conference, and 6-0 would be the best start on the schedule.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League in defensive scoring, allowing just 55.2 points per game. The Penguins have held eight of their top 12 opponents under 70 points, and the bottom three are averaging 36.3 points. The Penguins lead the conference in defense in goals scored at 34.8%.
  • Offensively, four Penguins total at least 8.9 points on average. Ritz is averaging team-highs 16.8 points and 7.0 rebounds, and Olson is averaging 11.8 points and a team-record 4.1 assists. Ritz is one of nine newcomers to the team, and Olson is the only Penguin to have been on the program for over three years.
  • Barnes led his 250th game at YSU against Point Park on December 21 and he has 138 wins as a Penguin. Only the legendary head coach Ed DiGregorio (320 from 1983 to 2003) has more wins at YSU. Barnes needs six more wins to reach 300 in his career.

Basic program

  • Shooting 3s: Youngstown State has led the Horizon League with 3 points per game in each of the past seven seasons. A penguin has ranked in the top five in the conference in 3s per game in each of the past 10 seasons.
  • Strong in the post: The Penguins have been named to the Horizon League first team, second team or freshman for six of the past eight seasons and 11 times in the past 14.
  • Share the ball: A Penguin has led the Horizon League in assists per game for five of the past six years.
  • Academics: YSU has appeared on the WBCA Top 25 Academic Charts 10 times in the past 11 years. The Penguins have been in the top 10 for four consecutive years.
  • Play in the playoffs: YSU has played in the WNIT or the WBI for five of the past nine years.
  • Scratch Strength: YSU has ranked in the nation’s top 20 for free throw percentage in four of the past seven seasons. The Penguins have shot at least 70 percent from the free throw line in nine straight years.

Tickets, promotions and information for fans

Face Coverage Policy: In accordance with university protocols, face coverings are mandatory for all fans, regardless of their vaccination status, in public areas inside the campus.

  • Tickets – Advance tickets for Saturday’s game are available on YSUsports.com, by phone at (330) 941-1978 or at the Stambaugh Stadium Athletics box office. The Beeghly Center box office and doors will open at noon on Saturday.
  • Parking information
  • Visitors guide
  • Promotions | Promotional calendar
    • Camper meeting day
    • Mr. Rooter Plumbing Youth Sports Day – Wear your youth jersey for a $ 5 ticket (Grade 7 and under)

State of Youngstown v State of Cleveland

A victory would be …

  • Improve YSU’s record to 12-1 this season, which would be the fourth time in program history that the Penguins were 12-1 or better in 13 games. The last time was in 1997-98.
  • Give the Penguins an 8-0 record at the Beeghly Center.
  • Give YSU a 6-0 start for the Horizon League for the second time in the program’s history.
  • Be the 295th in Barnes’ career and his 139th at Youngstown State.

January 1 in YSU history

  • This will only be the second time in their history that the Penguins have played on New Years Day, but it will be the second year in a row. Youngstown State opened the 2020-21 campaign on Jan. 1 with a 57-53 loss to Wright State.

Cleveland State Scouting

  • Cleveland State comes to Youngstown State with a 9-2 overall record and a 4-1 mark against opponents in the Horizon League. CSU has two forfeit wins in the league, and it was 9-0 before losing its last two games to Loyola Chicago (66-52) and Robert Morris (63-55). Heading into the game against the Ramblers, Cleveland State was averaging 80 points per game.
  • The Vikings are strong in every aspect as they lead the conference in attacking, rotational margin, blocks, rebound margin and free throws. In fact, they lead the country in points per game from the free throw line.
  • Individually, Destiny Leo ranks among the nation’s leaders in scoring with 22.9 points per game, and shooting 46.9% over a 3-point range. Nadia Dumas is averaging 11.1 points and a best team of 6.9 rebounds per game.

History of the series

Overall: Youngstown State leads 43-34
Barnes: 9-8 • Home: 27-10 • Away: 12-23 • Neutral: 4-1
Current win streak: 1 by Youngstown State

  • Youngstown State has played in Cleveland State more than any other program in its history and has a 43-34 record against the Vikings in a series dating back to January 19, 1976. Rivals from northeast Ohio faced off in less than once in all. 46 seasons of YSU’s intercollegiate program.
  • YSU is 18-25 against Cleveland State since joining the Horizon League in 2001-02. The Penguins have won seven of the last 10 games against the Vikings, and they have won 10 of the most recent 12 games at the Beeghly Center dating back to the 2011-12 season.

Last season against Cleveland State

  • First game: L, 76-73 on February 19, 2021: YSU led by 18 points in the second half, but Cleveland State had five 3s in the game’s 4:03 final to rally to a 76-73 victory. The Vikings have scored on their last 11 possessions in the contest. The Penguins held a 67-53 lead with 5:40 left in the game. Youngstown State led for almost 39 of 40 minutes – from 9:10 in the first period until 13.6 seconds remained. Nneka Obiazor had a career-high 29 points for the Penguins. Barbara Zieniewska and Taylah Levy both made four 3s for Cleveland State.
  • Game two: W, 64-61 on February 20, 2021: Mary Dunn scored 24 points and YSU hung on to beat Cleveland State 64-61 in another close decision with the Vikings. The Penguins led for 35:51, and they managed to fend off another charge in the Vikings’ fourth quarter. YSU’s advantage was 59-49 with 3:18 to go, and Cleveland State scored seven points in the next 37 seconds to narrow the gap to three. Maddie Schires scored five straight points for YSU to reduce the margin to eight to 64-56, and Chelsea Olson blocked Destiny Leo’s desperation at 3 points on the buzzer.

Purdue Fort Wayne Recap

  • Youngstown State played the lockdown defense all afternoon and had a 29-9 run in the second half to beat Purdue Fort Wayne 64-41 on Thursday at the Beeghly Center.
  • YSU kept the Mastodons 12 points or less over the four quarters, and Purdue Fort Wayne only shot 30 percent from the field. Defense made up for a slow offensive start as the Penguins scored 34 of their points in the 17:33 final of the game.
  • YSU’s lead was 30-25 with less than eight minutes to go in the third period, and the Penguins built the lead to 42-31 at the end of the quarter. YSU then outscored Purdue Fort Wayne 22-10 in the fourth quarter.
  • Lilly Ritz scored 22 points and made eight of her first 10 field attempts. She has scored at least 22 points in each of her three Horizon League contests.
  • Malia Magestro scored 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter. She was the only player of either to score from 9:48 to 4:47 of the period. She made two free throws to start the race 10-0, then she followed with a 3, layup and another 3. The margin was 42-33 at the start of the race, and it was 52-33 at the end of it. Magestro also had five career-high assists.
  • Lindsey Mack came off the bench to hit two big 3s in the second period. With a score tied at 15, she scored 3 points at 6:01 to trigger an 11-2 run to give the Penguins a 26-17 lead. The margin was at least five the rest of the game.
  • Chelsea Olson became just the third Penguin to post a double-double in assists and rebounds as she finished with 10 rebounds and 10 assists for seven points. It was only the 11th time that a Penguin had at least 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a game
  • It was the first time that Mady Aulbach and Magestro were together in the starting XI. Magestro started the first two games of the season and Aulbach slipped out of his place in Oakland when Magestro sustained a lower body injury.
  • When Purdue Fort Wayne took a 5-4 lead at 4:54 of the first period, YSU trailed for the first time since the Penn State game. The Penguins led from start to finish against Davis & Elkins and Point Park. Since the game against the Pioneers began on Dec. 17, YSU has led 108:16 of the last 120 minutes of action.
  • YSU matched their low this season with 10 turnovers. The Penguins averaged 12.6 turnovers in December and posted a margin of more than 1.9 on turnover in the month. They had five minus in November.


  • Youngstown State will play their first road game in nearly a month as they travel to Dayton, Ohio, to play at Wright State. The Jan. 7 kickoff against the Raiders is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO and ESPN +.

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