YSU women face Norse at Beeghly

YOUNGSTOWN — Time is winding down for the Youngstown State women’s basketball team, but something is on the upswing.

The Penguins took nationally-ranked Green Bay to the wire and were beaten by Milwaukee on a last-second shot. Then, YSU defeated a quality Cleveland State team.

It’s slowly coming together for the Penguins (7-12, 3-5 Horizon League).

The Penguins have been without redshirt junior Nikki Arbanas, who was in concussion protocol after the loss at Milwaukee.

“The symptoms didn’t show up right away,” YSU coach John Barnes said. “I basically leave that to the trainers. If she’s not feeling right, she gets evaluated. It could be more precautionary than anything else. It’s in that gray area, but we’re going to err on the safe side.”

She’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game against Northern Kentucky, starting at 7 p.m., at the Beeghly Center.

Also, junior Alison Smolinski, who suffered a broken foot during the Dec. 20 game against Penn State-Beaver, is being re-evaluated by her doctor on Tuesday.

Freshman Chelsea Olson was named Horizon League Freshman of the Week with her performance against CSU. Morgan Brunner and Natalie Myers have come off the bench to be contributors for the Penguins.

It helps in the absence of Arbanas and Smolinski, the team’s best defensive player and last year’s MVP of the team.

“We need players to step up,” Barnes said.

The Norse (5-14, 3-5) are tied for sixth in the Horizon League with Oakland and YSU.

Northern Kentucky can throw plenty of defenses at opponents, but the Penguins are looking forward to the challenge, along with Saturday’s game against Wright State, starting at 1 p.m.

YSU wants to defend its home court the next two games.

“Both games will be difficult, but it’ll be nice to be at home,” Barnes said.