YSU Looks to Keep Momentum in Saturday Contest vs. Milwaukee

YSU Looks to Keep Momentum in Saturday Contest vs. Milwaukee
Youngstown State vs. Milwaukee
Date & Time Saturday, Jan. 18, at 4:35 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center (Youngstown, Ohio)
Radio 570 WKBN | iHeartRadio
Video Horizon League Network
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The Youngstown State women's basketball team will attempt to remain unbeaten in Horizon League play when it hosts Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon at Beeghly Center. Tipoff against the Panthers is set for 4:35 p.m., and the contest will be the first half of a doubleheader with the YSU men's team. Live coverage will be available on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the HLN.

After a significant victory on Thursday against 15-time defending conference champion Green Bay, the Penguins have won their first three Horizon League contests for the first time in their 13 years in the conference. YSU maintained its recent stretch of strong defensive efforts to hold the Phoenix to 31.3 percent shooting, including 22.5 percent from 3-point range, in its first win over Green Bay since 2005. Youngstown State held the Phoenix without a field goal for the final 11 minutes of the first half and scored 12 straight points to go up 27-18. YSU went on an 8-0 run once Green Bay got within three points with eight minutes left, and it scored 11 consecutive points to pull away in the final four minutes.

YSU freshman point guard Jenna Hirsch scored a game and career-high 20 points, and senior guards Monica Touvelle and Liz Hornberger joined her in double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively. The Penguins were able to win with leading scorer Heidi Schlegel being limited to seven points in 12 minutes before fouling out in a game where there were 51 fouls called. Schlegel ranks third in the Horizon League with 19.4 points per game.

Milwaukee will enter Saturday's contest with a 5-10 overall mark and a 1-1 record in Horizon League play. The Panthers beat Green Bay 75-64 last Saturday and lost 73-63 at Cleveland State on Thursday. Senior guard Angela Rodriguez leads the Horizon League with 6.1 assists per game, and she ranks sixth in scoring at 17.3 points per contest.

Youngstown State will continue its four-game home stand against Oakland in another doubleheader next Saturday. Tipoff against the Golden Grizzlies is set for 4:35 p.m.

Top Story Lines

  • Youngstown State is 3-0 in the Horizon League for the first time in its 13 seasons and is 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1999-2000.
  • YSU started the season 1-6 but has gone 6-3 since. The uptick coincides with Jenna Hirsch moving into the starting lineup and Monica Touvelle getting healthy from a foot injury.
  • In 16 games, Preseason Second-Team All-Horizon League forward Heidi Schlegel has posted the nine highest scoring games of her career, ranging from 28 points to 22.
  • The Penguins had the Horizon League Freshman of the Week in back-to-back weeks. Jenna Hirsch was the honoree on Dec. 23, and Kelsea Newman was the honoree on Dec. 30.
  • Youngstown State went 23-10 last season, its best record since 1997-98. The Penguins finished second in the Horizon League, played in the conference tournament semifinals and won a game in the WNIT.

Scouting Milwaukee

Milwaukee is 5-10 overall and 1-1 in Horizon League play following its 73-63 loss at Cleveland State on Thursday. The Panthers were 2-8 after a loss to Marquette on Dec. 15 but won three of their next four. They started league play with a 75-64 win at Green Bay.

Senior guard Angela Rodriguez leads the Horizon League with 6.1 assists per game, and she ranks sixth in scoring at 17.3 points per contest.

Last Time vs. Milwaukee

Heidi Schlegel made five free throws in the final 26 seconds, and Amanda Barger drew a big charge to help YSU hold on for a 58-56 win at Milwaukee on Feb. 14, 2013.

The Penguins led for just 15 seconds in the first 28 minutes, but a 14-3 run in the second half turned the game in favor of YSU. They led 52-45 with just over four minutes left, but Milwaukee trimmed the lead to 53-52 with 39 seconds left. Barger drew a charge with YSU up 55-52 with 15 seconds left.

Brandi Brown finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Schlegel added 15 points off the bench. Thompson finished with a career-high 11 rebounds.

Series with Milwaukee

Milwaukee holds a 24-7 edge against Youngstown State in the all-time series that dates back to 1991.

Youngstown State won both meetings last year with Milwaukee, winning 67-50 at Beeghly Center and 58-56 at UWM's Klotsche Center. Milwaukee had won 15 straight against YSU prior to last year.

Recapping Green Bay

Youngstown State used a strong team effort and a career-high 20 points from Jenna Hirsch to beat preseason Horizon League favorite Green Bay 66-57, on Thursday.

YSU held Green Bay scoreless over the final eight minutes of the first half and led for the final 26:47. The Penguins outshot the Phoenix 31.3 percent to 44.7 percent and outscored them by 16 at the free-throw line.

Hirsch led all players with 20 points, 11 of which came in the final 5:09 of the game as YSU closed out the win. Monica Touvelle had a season-high 15 points and hit back-to-back 3s when Green Bay had closed the deficit to four early in the second half.

Stopping Streaks

Youngstown State stopped a 17-game losing streak to Green Bay with its 66-57 victory. The Penguins had not beaten the Phoenix since Feb. 19, 2005, when Green Bay was ranked 23rd in the country. In fact, 15 of those 17 defeats were by double digits. YSU was 0-14 all-time versus Green Bay in Beeghly Center.

Bench Stepped Up

YSU's starting posts Heidi Schlegel and Latisha Walker were both plagued by foul trouble, but reserves stepped up. Schlegel was held to seven points, 13 below her average, in just 12 minutes before fouling out. Walker played just 14 minutes and scored six points. Monica Touvelle scored a season-high 15 points off the bench, and Melissa Thompson added six points in a reserve role. The trio of Touvelle, Thompson and Kelsea Newman combined for 42 of YSU's 100 team minutes in the first half.

Big Runs Keyed Victory

Youngstown State used several big runs in the win over Green Bay. YSU scored six straight points to tie the game at 11 at the 11:44 mark, and it scored the final 10 points of the first half and first two of the second half to turn a three-point deficit into a 27-18 advantage. The Penguins scored eight straight points from 8:19 to 6:18 of the second half once Green Bay cut the margin to three, and they scored 11 straight from 4:16 to 2:02 to pull away.

Odds & Ends

Green Bay's .313 shooting percentage was the lowest by an opponent this season... YSU attempted just 38 field goals but made 17 of them... Green Bay attempted 26 more field goals but made just three more than YSU... The Phoenix were 9-for-40 from 3-point range while YSU was an efficient 8-for-20... The last time YSU attempted fewer than 38 field goals was when it attempted 37 at Green Bay on March 4, 2010... Green Bay's 18 first-half points were the fewest by an opponent since Western Michigan scored 13 on Dec. 12, 2010 (YSU assistant coach Brenna Banktson was on that WMU team)... YSU tied a season high for free throws made.