Penguins Go for Bounce Back Game in Western Michigan

Youngstown State University logoWestern Michigan logo

game preview

  • Youngstown State will look to shake off back-to-back road losses as it travels to western Michigan for the first time since 2010. The Penguins and Broncos will play Tuesday at 7 p.m. at University Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the game will be streamed live on 570 WKBN and ESPN+.
  • The Penguins are on the back foot this season with a 2-1 home win from nine points in the season opener and consecutive double-digit setbacks. YSU defeated a quality Wofford team 81-72 to start the campaign and led Penn State by six early in the second half last Tuesday before losing 77-63. The Penguins then built a 17-point lead at Akron in the first quarter on Friday before the Zips rebounded to a 61-44 win.
  • YSU couldn’t buy a 3-pointer against the Zips as it missed its last 18 attempts from beyond the arc. With that, the Penguins have shot 23% from long range this season, and YSU has also been plagued by 45 combined turnovers in the last two games.
  • The Penguins won the school’s first regular conference title in 23 years last season when they shared the Horizon League crown with IUPUI. YSU went 24-7 overall and advanced to the women’s NIT behind a roster full of new faces. Now, in 2022-23, five players are returning – Mady Aulbach, Megan Callahan, Malia Magestro, Lilly Ritz and Paige shy – who started at least 20 games in last year’s team that hung a championship banner.
  • While the core of the squad is known, the goal on the Penguins’ backs is not. For the first time in the history of the program, Youngstown State was selected by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to win the Horizon League. Last season, YSU was ranked seventh in the preseason poll.
  • Ritz was named Horizon League Player of the Week after her 27 points and 20 rebounds performance against Wofford to start the season. She was named to the All-Horizon League First Team in 2021-22 after placing in the top three in the conference in scoring, rebounds, field goal percentage, double-doubles and steals.
  • This is YSU’s 10th season under Head Coach John Barnes, who was named Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2021/22. Barnes is second at YSU with 152 career wins, and his win ratio of .557 is the third-best grade in school history.
  • This is the 50th anniversary season of the Beeghly Center, which opened in 1972-73. The first women’s game in the arena took place on January 31, 1976. YSU has been 46-15 at home since the start of the 2018-19 season for a .754 win ratio and is 21-5 in its last 26 games at Rosselli Court.

Youngstown State vs. Western Michigan

A win would be…

  • Improve YSU’s record to 2-2 this season.
  • Be YSU’s second straight win against western Michigan and his third win against the Broncos in the last four encounters.
  • Give the Penguins their first win at WMU in five tries.
  • be head coach John Barnes‘ 309th career win and his 153rd at YSU

Exploring Western Michigan

  • Western Michigan will seek its first win against the Penguins on Tuesday. WMU lost 60-51 to Loyola Chicago in the season opener, and the next two games resulted in sizeable losses at Michigan State (97-49) and Michigan (99-67). The Broncos were scheduled to play Detroit Mercy on Saturday, but the competition was canceled due to snow.
  • Lauren Ross is averaging 20 points and has eight 3-pointers in his first three games. She also leads the Broncos with eight steals, and WMU is averaging 9.3 steals per game.
  • The Broncos were selected for sixth place in the MAC in the preseason poll, and Ross was named to the Preseason All-MAC Second Team. WMU has 13 players back from last year’s team that won 16 games.

series history

Overall: Western Michigan leads 5-3
Barnes: 0-0 • Home: 3-1 • Away: 0-4 • Neutral: 0-0
Current winning streak: 1 by Youngstown State

  • Tuesday marks Youngstown State’s first meeting with Western Michigan since November 30, 2011, and its first trip to Kalamazoo since 2010. The Penguins and Broncos played six times from 1987 to 1991 but have only met twice since then.
  • Youngstown State is 3-1 against WMU at Beeghly Center but 0-4 on the road in the series. At their last meeting at University Arena, Western Michigan recovered from a 21-point halftime deficit and made 31-of-32 from the free throw line to win 69-64 in overtime on December 12, 2010.
  • YSU led by 10 with less than five minutes to go, and a deliberate foul with 1:12 to go changed the course of the game. YSU’s Brandi Brown rebounded after WMU missed a shot, but officials ruled she had elbow contact with a Bronco player’s head, and WMU were awarded two free throws and possession. The Broncos converted that into five points to force overtime, and WMU took their first lead of the game with 26 points remaining in the extra session. Former YSU assistant coach Brenna Banktson was a player on that WMU team that was recovering.

Last meeting against Western Michigan

  • Youngstown State capitalized on a strong second-half performance to earn an 80-55 win over Western Michigan on November 30, 2011 at the Beeghly Center. YSU outplayed the Broncos 50-33 in the second half after connecting 12 of their first 16 shots in the stanza.
  • The Penguins led 30-22 at halftime, and runs of 9-2 and 14-1 blew the game open. YSU made four 3-pointers during a 14-1 second-half run that gave the Penguins a 63-34 lead.
  • Heidi Schlegel scored 15 points and was one of three Penguins to score three 3-pointers in the game. Brandi Brown and Kelsea Fickiesen each had 12 points and Macey Nortey added 11.

November 22 in YSU history

  • Youngstown State is 5-2 in seven previous games played Nov. 22. Tuesday’s game in Western Michigan will be the first of the program on the day since 2014.
  • YSU won its first four contests on November 22, including three against MAC opponents in 2002, 2003, and 2005. After losing in 2008 and 2009, the Penguins won 70-44 at Radford in 2014.
  • In the game against the Highlanders, Latisha Walker had 12 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in 16 minutes. Indiya Benjamin led the Penguins with 16 points and six assists, and Kelsea Newman finished the game with 14 points from the bench. Both Benjamin and Newman hit four 3s and Nikki Arbanas made one when YSU went 9-on-20 from beyond the arc.

Summary of Akron

  • Youngstown State missed its last 18 attempts from 3-point range and got off to a great start, lost in a 61-44 loss at Akron on Friday night.
  • The Penguins were leading 20-3 after less than nine minutes, but they went ice cold, scoring 24 points in the last 31 minutes. After the early burst, Akron surpassed YSU 58-24.
  • Lilly Ritz scored 23 points and was 11-for-16 from the field and Emily Saunders was 2-for-3 from the field for five points in six minutes. Every other penguin scored a combined 15 points in 6-for-42 shooting from the field.
  • YSU scored the first 11 points of the game and didn’t allow an Akron point until the 4:08 mark of the opening quarter. YSU’s lead was 18-3, as Paige shy made a 3 two minutes later, resulting in an Akron timeout. The penguins didn’t manage another treble for the rest of the night.
  • The lead grew to 20-3 after Ritz scored her 10th point of the first period with 1:34 on the clock. Akron hit a 3 in the last minute of the opening quarter and the first minute of the second, and a Saunders basket near the end of the shot clock gave YSU a 22-9 lead, staying 8:04 at the half. After that Saunders basket, YSU scored eight points in the next 21:50.
  • Akron took a 25-24 lead with his first possession in the second period, and the final tie of the night came at 26-26 Megan Callahan scored on YSU’s next possession. The Zips led 46-30 at the end of the third period and beat the Penguins 40-10 in the second and third quarters.
  • Akron blocked seven shots in the game. YSU had blocked seven shots just twice last season — on Feb. 5 in Milwaukee and Dec. 12, 2021 in Penn State.
  • Ritz has the most field goals in a game of her career with 11. No other Horizon League player has scored at least 11 field goals in a game this season.
  • YSU lost consecutive non-conference games for the first time since November 20 (Kent State) and November 23 (Yale) in 2018.
  • YSU held Akron’s top scorer Reagan Bass to eight points in 22 minutes as she struggled with foul trouble.
  • The Zips shot 1 for 12 early in the game but made 20 of their last 37 tries from the field.
  • Youngstown State beat Akron 32-24 in the color, but Akron made six more 3-pointers and seven more free throws.
  • YSU snagged 12 offensive rebounds but could only convert them to six second-chance points.


  • Youngstown State will make a brief stop home at 7 p.m. Saturday to host St. Francis Brooklyn. After the game against the Terriers, YSU will play again in Northern Kentucky on December 2 in the Horizon League opener.