Women's Basketball Starts 40th Season Saturday Hosting Niagara

Preview: YSU vs. Niagara
Preview: YSU vs. Niagara
Youngstown State vs. Niagara
Date & Time Saturday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m.
Location Beeghly Center
Tickets YSU Athletic Ticket Office
Radio iHeartMedia
Video ESPN3
Live Stats PrestoSports Prime Time
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Hash Tags #GoGuins | #HLWBB
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YSU Scouting Report

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team begins the 40th season in program history on Saturday with an 11 a.m. contest against Niagara. The game will be broadcast live on iHeartRadio and ESPN3.
  • The morning affair starts a tripleheader on campus with the YSU football and men's basketball teams, and fans can attend all three games for just $10 through a promotion with Rulli Bros. Tickets for the "3-Point Play" Day are available at the YSU Athletic Ticket Office or at the Rulli Bros. locations on Kirk Road and South Avenue.
  • The Penguins are in their second season under head coach John Barnes. YSU went 15-16 last season, which included a 10-6 mark in Horizon League play. Those 10 league wins were the second most for YSU since it joined the conference in 2001-02.
  • YSU returns three starters but just five letter winners from last year's squad. The Penguins have a Horizon League high seven freshmen on the roster.
  • Senior Heidi Schlegel was named Preseason First-Team All-Horizon League in the conference preseason poll and by College Sports Madness. Schlegel's 621 points last season were the most by a junior in program history. She also YSU season records for free throws made and free throws attempted.

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU its first win over Niagara since 1991 and snap a four-game losing streak to the Purple Eagles.
  • Be YSU's second in a season opener in the last three years.
  • Allow YSU to snap a seven-game losing streak to teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Scouting Niagara

  • Niagara returns 11 letter winners from last year's team that went 10-20 overall and 8-12 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
  • Senior Meghan McGuinness and sophomore Victoria Rampado were named to the All-MAAC Second and Third team, respectively. McGuinness made 84 3-pointers and averaged 12.9 points per game in 2013-14, and Rampado was the MAAC Rookie of the Year.
  • Kendra Faustin is in her eighth season as the head coach of the Purple Eagles.

Series with Niagara

  • Although YSU and Niagara have scrimmaged each other regularly in recent years, the programs have not played during the regular season since 2008.
  • YSU holds a 6-4 edge in the all-time series, but the Penguins have not defeated the Purple Eagles since 1991. Youngstown State won the first six contests but has lost the last four.

Last Time vs. Niagara

  • YSU trimmed a 13-point second-half deficit to as few as three before falling 65-51 to Niagara on Nov. 22, 2008, at Beeghly Center.
  • Niagara led 35-24 at halftime but scored just 10 points in the first 14-1/2 minutes of the second half. YSU shot just 33.3 percent, was 5-of-24 from 3-point range and missed 10 free throws.
  • Jaquetta Westley led YSU with 12 points, and Macey Nortey finished with nine.

Program on the Rise

  • YSU has been on a definite upward trend over the last four years. The Penguins have finished in the top three in the Horizon League and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament in back-to-back seasons.
  • Last year, YSU finished with its second-best record since joining the Horizon League in 2001-02 at 10-6. The Penguins' 21 league wins over the past two years is almost as much as their combined 22 league wins over the previous six years combined.
  • In 2012-13, YSU had its best record to date in the Horizon League by finishing 11-5. The Penguins finished second in the conference and advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time. YSU also earned the league's automatic bid to the WNIT.

Offense Flourished in Barnes' First Season

  • Statistically, Youngstown State's offense last season was the program's best in at least a decade. Among the highlights, YSU's 70.3 points per game scoring average was the best since 1999-00, and the .404 shooting percentage was the best since 2001-02.
  • After a rough five-game November where YSU shot 33 percent and averaged 59.4 points, the Penguins shot 41.9 percent while averaging 72.4 points over the season's final four months.

Schlegel Returns After Breakout Season

  • After a breakout junior season, Youngstown State senior Heidi Schlegel has been named Preseason First-Team All-Horizon League in the conference poll and by College Sports Madness.
  • Schlegel averaged 20 points and 8.0 rebounds to earn First-Team All-Horizon League honors in 2013-14. She surpassed 1,000 career points last year, and she set new school records with 192 free throws made and 238 free throws attempted. Her 19 20-point games were the most by a Penguin in 26 years, and the 621 points she scored were the fifth-most in school history.
  • Schlegel ranked second in the Horizon League in scoring while also ranking third in double-doubles, fifth in rebounding and ninth in field-goal percentage last season. She averaged 9.4 points per game over her first three seasons, which included a medical redshirt season in 2010-11.

Five Other Returners

  • In addition to Schlegel, there are five other returners on Youngstown State's roster. Latisha Walker is the other senior on the squad, and she contributed 7.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 2013-14 in her first year as a transfer from Xavier.
  • Fourth-year junior guard Ashley Lawson averaged 9.7 minutes over 23 games, and sophomores Jenna Hirsch and Kelsea Newman were 3-point threats in their first years. Hirsch was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman team while making 37 3-pointers, and Newman made 34.
  • Junior Janae Jackson will finally get her first action as a Penguin after sitting out 2012-13 due to NCAA transfer requirements and 2013-14 with an injury.

Seven Freshmen on Roster

  • Youngstown State has seven talented true freshmen on its roster who come to YSU with tons of collective accolades. Five of the seven players finished their careers as their high school's all-time scoring leader, and four were named first-team all-state. Additionally, three players led their high school teams to their best seasons in more than two decades, and Kelley Wright posted the most varsity wins in Michigan's history.
  • No other team in the Horizon League or Ohio has seven true freshmen on its roster. Six of the other eight schools in the Horizon League have four or fewer true freshmen, and seven of the other 12 schools in Ohio have four or fewer true freshmen.
  • Youngstown State has seven true freshmen on its roster for the fifth time in its 40-year history. The last time seven freshmen were on the same team was 1994-95, and three of those seven freshmen – Colleen Cook, Caroline McCombs and Ann Marie Martin – are now in YSU's Athletics Hall of Fame. The other three seasons with seven freshmen on the roster are 1988-89, 1985-86 and 1977-78.

Penguins Picked Tied-For-Fourth in Preseason Poll

  • Youngstown State was tabbed to finish in a tie for fourth in the preseason poll of the Horizon League's coaches, sports information directors and select media. That was the second-highest preseason ranking for YSU in the Horizon League poll, behind only last season's third-place ranking.
  • Defending regular-season champion Green Bay was picked as the preseason favorite with 16 of 27 first-place votes, and defending tournament champion Wright State was picked second. Cleveland State was tabbed to finish third, and YSU and UIC tied for the fourth-most votes. Oakland was picked sixth in the poll, followed by Milwaukee, Valparaiso and Detroit.