Penguins Go for Home Stand Sweep Against Detroit on Wednesday

Penguins Go for Home Stand Sweep Against Detroit on Wednesday
Youngstown State vs. Detroit
Date & Time Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7:05 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center (Youngstown, Ohio)
Tickets (330) 941-1YSU | Purchase Online
Radio 570 WKBN | iHeartRadio
Video Horizon League Network
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The Youngstown State women's basketball team will try to complete a sweep of its four-game home stand on Wednesday when it plays Detroit. Tipoff against the Titans is set for 7:05 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the Horizon League Network.

The Penguins are off to their best start in Horizon League play at 5-0 and hold a two-game lead in the loss column in the conference standings. YSU's latest victory came on Saturday with a 79-64 triumph over league newcomer Oakland. The Penguins led the entire way and jumped out to a 21-3 lead through nine minutes. The Golden Grizzles started 1-for-21 from the field and could never recover, although they did trim a 25-point deficit down to six in the second half. Heidi Schlegel and Karen Flagg scored all 11 points during an 11-1 YSU run that turned the six-point lead into a 68-52 advantage. Oakland got no closer than eight the rest of the way.

Schlegel ranks third in the Horizon League in scoring at 19.7 points per game and registered her 11th 20-point game against the Golden Grizzlies. Liz Hornberger has had a notable January with averages of 15.3 points, 3.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds. She is 23-for-46 from 3-point range this month and now ranks second in the conference with 2.6 treys per contest. Fellow starters Karen Flagg and Latisha Walker both average more than eight points, and Monica Touvelle is among the league's top bench scorers at 7.5 points per contest.

Detroit has been plagued by injuries this season and is 3-16 overall and 0-6 in Horizon League play. Senee Shearer leads the conference in 3-pointers per game, leading YSU's Hornberger by 0.5 per contest, and she is second in scoring at 20.5 points per game. The Titans have lost starting point guard Rosanna Reynolds for the season, and they've been without starting posts Ellisha Crosby (17.5 ppg) and Megan hatter (11.7) for the last five games.

Youngstown State will play five of its seven games in February on the road, starting with a contest at Cleveland State on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Top Story Lines

  • Youngstown State is 5-0 in the Horizon League for the first time in its 13 seasons and is 5-0 in conference play for the first time since 1997-98.
  • YSU started the season 1-6 but has gone 8-3 since. The uptick coincides with Jenna Hirsch moving into the starting lineup and seniors Monica Touvelle and Melissa Thompson recovering from early injuries.
  • In 18 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.
  • Liz Hornberger was last week's Horizon League Player of the Week, and she has scored at least 11 points in all six games this month.
  • 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 Detroit

Detroit is 3-16 overall and has lost nine straight games, including the first six of Horizon League play. The Titans are 0-7 on the road and lost games at Valparaiso (85-44) and Milwaukee (81-69) over the weekend.

Senior guard Senee Shearer leads the Horizon League with 3.1 3-pointers per game, and she is second in scoring at 20.5 points per game. Detroit's next two leading scorers, Ellisha Crosby and Megan Hatter, have both missed the last five games with injuries, and starting point guard Rosanna Reynolds is out for the season with a knee injury.

Last Time vs. Detroit

Youngstown State trailed by eight at halftime and couldn't make a push to catch Detroit in the second half in falling 62-48 at Calihan Hall in last year's regular-season finale. Horizon League Player of the Year Brandi Brown missed the final 27 minutes with an ankle injury.

The Penguins trailed by 13 with just over 10 minutes left but hung around and trimmed the deficit to six with 7:18 remaining. They still faced just a seven-point hole with 4:28 left when Detroit scored the next seven points to put the game out of reach.

Series with Detroit

Detroit is 18-14 all-time against Youngstown State in the series that dates back to 1983. YSU won five of the first eight meetings and claimed five straight victories against the Titans in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.

Detroit has won eight of the last 10 games since the start of the 2008-09 season. YSU has won two straight at home.

Recapping Oakland

YSU used key runs at the start of the contest and at the finish to outlast Oakland 79-64 on Saturday at Beeghly Center.

The Penguins scored 18 of the first 20 points and had a 9-2 run to finish out the game after Oakland had pulled to within eight points with 2:18 remaining.

The Golden Grizzlies started 1-for-21 from the field and missed 18 straight shots at one point. They were 5-for-9 to end the first half and shot 53.1 percent in the second half.

Trimming Turnovers

Youngstown State committed a season-low eight turnovers in the victory over Oakland. The eight turnovers came immediately after YSU had 13, which tied the previous season low, against Milwaukee. The Penguins posted a season-best 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and their three starting guards combined for 14 assists and two turnovers. The Golden Grizzlies came into the contest forcing opponents into 17.2 turnovers per contest, and no team had committed fewer than 13 turnovers against them.

Season High in 3s

YSU made a season-high 12 3-pointers on just 24 attempts in the win over Oakland. Liz Hornberger was 6-for-9 on her own, and Heidi Schlegel and Jenna Hirsch both went 2-for-4. The Penguins have made at least seven 3-pointers in each of their Horizon League contests and are shooting a conference-best 39.7 percent from beyond the arc in league play. YSU made seven-or-more 3-pointers just four times in 13 non-conference contests.

Thompson Providing Lift

Senior Melissa Thompson has been a solid contributor off the bench the past four games. Dating back to the win at UIC on Jan. 11, Thompson has averaged six rebounds and 4.8 points in 22 minutes. She is battling a nagging knee injury that forces her to practice on a limited basis. Thompson started all 33 games last season as YSU's primary on-ball defender.

Odds & Ends

YSU played a season-low seven players in the game... The Penguins had two players – Jenna Hirsch and Liz Hornberger – finish with at least five assists for the first time this season... Karen Flagg added four assists, and the trio combined for 14 assists and two turnovers... Latisha Walker was 4-for-5 from the field and had 10 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes... She added two blocks for her seventh multi-block game of the season... There were a total of 21 offensive rebounds in the game but only 13 combined second-chance points... YSU shot at least 40 percent for the fourth straight game, which is the longest streak of the season... The Penguins beat Oakland for the first time since Jan. 8, 2000... Oakland's Bethany Watterworth fouled out with 4:53 remaining, and three other Golden Grizzlies had four fouls.

Hot Shooting Lately

Youngstown State has been very efficient shooting the basketball this month. The Penguins are shooting 44.1 percent over their last six games dating back to the contest against IUPUI on Jan. 4. YSU shot 33 percent in November and 40.3 percent in December. The Penguins have shot better than 40 percent in four straight games for the first time this season.

Hornberger's January

Senior Liz Hornberger has certainly had a January to remember. She's scored in double figures in all six games and is averaging 15.3 points during the month. She is 23-for-46 from 3-point range and shooting 53.4 percent overall. She averaged 6.9 points and shot 29 percent the first two months of the season.

Five Straight Wins

A trademark of good programs is long periods of winning, and YSU has now posted five-game winning streaks in back-to-back seasons. Prior to the streak last year, YSU had not had won five straight games since 2000. YSU is 5-0 to start league play for the first time since 1997-98.