YOUNGSTOWN - John Barnes had to get creative with recent practices.
With less than 10 active players on his roster, the Youngstown State University women's basketball coach has had his fair share of issues.
As the YSU women (0-2) prepare for today's home game against Northern Kentucky (2-1), starting at 5:15 p.m., they won't make any excuses.
"It's tough," Barnes said. "We don't have enough players to practice at this point. Everyone is in different positions. We're trying to get used to that. The players are staying positive. They're continuing to work hard. They're coming into this game like any other game. We're going to do anything we can to get a W."
Sophomore Ashley Lawson scored 10 points in last week's loss against Buffalo, but said the lack of numbers can't be a crutch.
"We get tired, but we have to work through it," she said.
Lawson has fought off injuries her first couple of seasons, something she doesn't want to relive any time soon.
"I hope I stay injury free for the rest of my career," she said.
Melissa Thompson, who didn't play in the Buffalo game, could come back today.
"We're trying to get one more healthy back again for Wednesday," Barnes said.
The Penguins have shot 11 percent from 3-point range and 37 percent from the floor - including 50 turnovers in two games.
"We need to take care of the ball better," Barnes said. "We need to take some more shots. We're not shooting well from the 3-point line, obviously. We start doing that, we're going to win some of the closer games."
So far, YSU has been led by forwards Heidi Schlegel, who averages 25 points and nine rebounds, and Latisha Walker (12.5 points, nine boards).
"Heidi and Tish have been playing very well on the inside, scoring quite a few points," Barnes said. "I'm looking at film and we're getting open looks. They're not going down. Once we start putting that outside game together and making those shots, they're going to be that much more effective."
For now, the Penguins face the Norse, which is led by Melody Doss, who averages 25.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per outing.
"They're well coached, take care of the basketball. They're not going to beat themselves," Barnes said. "It's going to be a challenge. Our team is very hungry for a win."