For the sixth time in the last seven years, the Youngstown State women's basketball team posted one of the 25 best grade-point averages in the country. The Penguins tied for 24th on the 2016-17 Women's Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll that was released on Wednesday.
YSU registered a team GPA of 3.492 during the academic year, which matched Kentucky for the 24th-best mark among all 349 Division I teams. Youngstown State is one of just six Division I programs in the nation to be in the academic top 25 six times in the past seven years.
"It's hard to express how proud I am of the team and staff for making the WBCA Academic Top 25 again this season and for the sixth time in the last seven years!" YSU head coach John Barnes said. "The team has done a fantastic job of staying focused and excelling in the classroom despite the tough job of being Division I student-athletes. Only six teams in the nation have been in the top 25 six of the last seven years, so it just goes to show hard it is and what a special achievement it is."
Youngstown State made its first appearance in the academic top 25 in 2010-11, and it has been on the list each season except 2013-14 since. The Penguins were third in 2015-16, sixth in 2011-12, 17th in both 2010-11 and 2012-13, and 22nd in 2014-15.
Green Bay was the only other Horizon League member on the list, and it led the country with a 3.819 team GPA. Bowling Green joined YSU as the only institutions from Ohio on the prestigious list. Youngstown State, Bowling Green, DePaul, Eastern Washington, Northern Iowa and St. Francis Brooklyn are the programs that have been in the academic top 25 six times in the last seven years.
Individually, Mary Dunn, Kelsea Newman and Melinda Trimmer carried a 4.0 GPA in both semesters. Sarah Cash and Izzy Meese both had a 4.0 during the fall, and Alison Smolinski and Kelley Wright posted a 4.0 in the spring. Youngstown State had 14 of its 16 student-athletes earn at least a 3.0 in each semester.
The WBCA Academic Top 25 recognizes NCAA Division I, II and III; NAIA and junior/community college women's basketball teams across the nation that carry the highest combined GPAs inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. The 2016-17 season is the 22nd in which the WBCA has compiled the honor rolls.
"The WBCA family is committed to the student-athlete experience and celebrates these teams that have demonstrated excellence in the classroom," said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. "This year's WBCA Academic Top 25 is a powerful list of teams, and their head coaches who have winning cultures that prepare their student-athletes for success in life."