Penguins Look to Defend Home Court Wednesday vs. Wright State

Penguins Look to Defend Home Court Wednesday vs. Wright State
Youngstown State vs. Wright State
Date & Time Wednesday, March 5, at 7:05 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center (Youngstown, Ohio)
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The Youngstown State women's basketball team will play its final two games of the regular season at home this week, starting with Wednesday's game against Wright State. Tipoff at Beeghly Center is set for 7:05 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the HLN.

The Penguins lost both of their contests last week — 73-65 at home to UIC on Thursday and 75-60 at Detroit on Saturday — to drop to third place in the Horizon League standings. Green Bay is 11-3 and in the driver's seat to win its 16th straight conference title, but Youngstown State still controls its own destiny for the second seed. The Penguins will have to beat Wright State to have any chance for that, and they'll have to win at least one game or get help from other teams this week to host a first-round tournament game.

YSU committed 20 turnovers and allowed 15 offensive rebounds in the loss to UIC on Thursday, and it could never find its shooting touch in the loss at Detroit on Saturday. The Penguins had a rough first seven minutes on Saturday as Heidi Schlegel and Latisha Walker were both whistled for two fouls, and they committed seven turnovers. They still led 17-16 after 12 minutes, but Detroit scored 17 straight points and led by double figures for the duration of the contest. Schlegel scored 25 of YSU's 38 points in the second half, but the Penguins never got closer than 10. They shot 28.8 percent from the field and were just 4-for-26 from 3-point range.

Schlegel ranks second in the Horizon League with 20 points per game, and she is eighth in rebounding at 7.7 per game. She surpassed 500 points for the season last week, and her total of 539 is the ninth-most for a season in school history. The junior became YSU's 18th player to score 1,000 career points at Green Bay on Feb. 23. Liz Hornberger ranks second on the team with 9.9 points per game and ranks second in the conference with 2.5 3-pointers made per game.

Wright State is 21-8 overall and 10-4 in Horizon League play, losing twice to both Green Bay and Cleveland State. Junior guard Kim Demmings leads the league with 22.4 points per game, and she's a front-runner for the Horizon League's Player-of-the-Year award. The Raiders average a league-best 83.1 points per game and lead the country in turnover margin. Wright State beat YSU 93-81 in Dayton on Feb. 5.

The Penguins will host Cleveland State at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday in the regular-season finale.

Top Story Lines

  • YSU tied a school record by winning four Horizon League road games. Two wins this week would give the Penguins a final league record of 11-5, which would match last season.
  • The Penguins have their best scoring offense in 14 years, and they are shooting a conference-best 38.2 percent from 3-point range during league play.
  • In YSU's nine Horizon League wins, opponents have averaged 62 points. In the five league losses, opponents have averaged 82.4 points.
  • Saturday is "Senior Day" for YSU's four seniors.

Scouting Wright State

Wright State boasts a prolific offense and leads the country in turnover margin at plus-9.6. The Raiders average 83.1 points on nearly 80 possessions per game, seven more than YSU. Opponents shoot 45.8 percent, which is one of the bottom 10 in the country.

Junior guard Kim Demmings leads the Horizon League in scoring with 22.4 points per game and is a favorite to be named the Horizon League Player of the Year. Senior Ivory James averages 17.8 points, and Tay'ler Mingo averages 14.1.

Last Time vs. Wright State

Wright State shot 51.4 percent in the second half and was 14-for-28 on 3-point attempts in a 93-81 win over YSU on Feb. 5 at the Nutter Center.

Wright State's Kim Demmings scored a game-high 28 points, and she had 12 points in the first six minutes of the second half as WSU turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 64-56 lead with 13:56 remaining. YSU trimmed the deficit to four twice, the last time with 7:56 left, but the Raiders went an 11-2 run over the next three minutes.

Heidi Schlegel had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead YSU.

Series with Wright State

Wright State holds a slight 25-23 edge in a series that dates back to 1979. YSU beat its old Mid-Continent Conference foe 18 of the first 22 times, but Wright State won 20 of the next 23.

YSU swept the Raiders last season, and it has been within five points in three of its last five losses to Wright State.

Recapping Detroit

Detroit scored 17 straight points in the first half, and Youngstown State couldn't make enough shots to rally in a 75-60 loss at Calihan Hall on Saturday afternoon.

YSU's Heidi Schlegel scored all of her game-high 25 points in the second half and was 9-for-15 from the field, but the other 11 Penguins who played combined to go 10-for-51. Schlegel sat out the final 14:56 of the first half with two fouls.

The Penguins had seven turnovers in the first seven minutes but still led 17-16 with 8:12 left in the first half. They had just one field goal the rest of the period, and the Titans outscored them 22-5 over that span. YSU got no closer than 10 in the second half.

Worst Shooting of Conference Play

Youngstown State had its worst shooting day of the conference season on Saturday. The Penguins shot 28.8 percent overall and 15.4 percent from 3-point range. It was their second-worst shooting game of the season, behind only the 23.1 shooting effort at Bucknell on Nov. 26. The last time they shot worse from beyond the arc was against Buffalo in the second game of the season on Nov. 13. The four 3-pointers were the fewest since going 3-for-19 at Bucknell. YSU was shooting 40.2 percent from beyond the arc in Horizon League play entering Saturday's game at Detroit.

Calihan Shooting Woes

YSU has now lost six straight games at Detroit's Calihan Hall, and offense has been a major issue during the losing skid. Over the six-game losing streak, YSU has averaged just 51.5 points while shooting 29 percent overall and 27.5 percent from 3-point range.

Schlegel's Second Half

Heidi Schlegel was the lone Penguin who had a better-than-average game against Detroit, and she did all of her damage in the second half. Schlegel was whistled for two first-half fouls — one on a rebound at the 16-minute mark and on an illegal screen with 14:56 left — and played just five minutes in the period. She was 9-for-13 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line in the second half for 25 points. Brandi Brown was the last player to score 25 points in a period last season against Wright State on March 2 in her 42-point outing.

Odds & Ends

Schlegel was the only Penguin in double figures... YSU had at least two players score in double figures in 17 straight games... The Penguins had seven turnovers in the first seven minutes but just eight the rest of the contest... YSU was 1-for-12 from 3-point range in the second half... The Penguins forced 20 turnovers, the most by an opponent since Green Bay on Jan. 16.

Senior Class's Legacy

  • While there is still plenty of time to add to its legacy, the Penguins' senior class has been a key part of the significant improvement of the program.
  • The class has been a part of 52 wins, including 27 Horizon League victories, over the last four years. While those totals are modest, they are the highest for a YSU class since the seniors in 2001-02 ended their careers with 64 overall wins and 36 conference wins.
  • Melissa Thompson is a fifth-year senior and is the last remaining member of the program who was part of the winless 2009-10 campaign. Thompson and Monica Touvelle signed their National Letters of Intent while Cindy Martin was head coach, played three years under Bob Boldon and one with John Barnes. Liz Hornberger signed after Boldon was hired, and Karen Flagg transferred to YSU from Daytona State prior to last season.