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YSU WOMEN Penguins search for home intensity



Published: Wed, February 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Coach Hill is looking for Beeghly Center momentum against Wright State.

YOUNGSTOWN -- There's no place like home for the Youngstown State women's basketball team.

Six of the team's nine victories have come at the Beeghly Center, and after two losses last week to Cleveland State and Loyola on the road, coach Tisha Hill is looking for a return of the intensity that led them to a victory against UW-Milwaukee on Jan. 29 at home.

Wright State (12-10, 6-5 Horizon League) visits tonight at 7 and Hill said it's time for the Penguins (9-13, 3-13) to get off the carnival ride of this season.

"Those losses last week were two games where we really wanted to go in and prove that our momentum, our intensity on the road can change," Hill said. "Credit to both of those teams they really protected their home court well and shot well and we didn't. You can't go out on the road and shoot that poorly and expect to win games.

"We're back home again and right now I'm looking for people to step up. It's been a roller-coaster ride -- we come out and we play hard at home and we go out on the road and we play hard in spurts. You have to put together an entire game, especially defensively, when the shots aren't falling for you."

Wright State won first game

In the first meeting Jan. 8, Wright State closed the game with a 33-9 run and rolled to 65-38 victory. The run in the last 11 minutes was fueled by turnovers and points in transition.

Brittney Whiteside leads the Raiders with 12.9 points per game and had 17 in the first meeting against YSU. Jeanette Woodberry is averaging 11 per game for Wright State.

Hill said preparing for Wright State's quickness has been this week's challenge.

"They are a very quick team, a team that can get up and down and cause a lot of turnovers. That's what they use well -- their speed.

"We have to buckle down," she added. "We've done a better job taking care of the ball within these last couple of games. That needs to carry over. We have to absorb their pressure and work for good opportunities to score."

Next two games are key

Winning the next two games could be significant for the Penguins. It could mean the difference between a home game to open the Horizon tournament or having to take to the road for a play-in game.

YSU has lost nine of its last 11 games, including a 68-61 loss to Loyola in Chicago on Saturday. Wright State is coming off a demoralizing loss. No. 24 UW-Green Bay drilled the Raiders 73-46 Saturday. Wright State, which shot just 35 percent in the home loss, was just 2-of-15 from three-point range.

"The consistent play has been [senior forward Jen] Perugini both scoring and on the boards," Hill said "We don't tell them the standings, but they know. It's kind of a gut check right now and it depends on what team plays the hardest on a given night. These are big games for us."




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