YSU Starts Four-Game Home Stand Thursday vs. Green Bay

YSU Starts Four-Game Home Stand Thursday vs. Green Bay
Youngstown State vs. Green Bay
Date & Time Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7:05 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center (Youngstown, Ohio)
Radio 570 WKBN | iHeartRadio
Video Horizon League Network
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After starting 2-0 in Horizon League play for the first time in six years, the Youngstown State women's basketball team will try to sustain momentum over a four-game home stand that starts Thursday against Green Bay. The game will start at 7:05 p.m., and it will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the Horizon League Network.

The Penguins earned double-digit road wins at Valparaiso and UIC last week behind a strong defensive effort and the outstanding play of junior forward Heidi Schlegel. YSU held the Crusaders and Flames to an average of 53.5 points in the two wins, an 18.2-point improvement from the 71.7 points it allowed to non-conference opponents. Both opponents shot under 33 percent, and YSU was plus-11 in rebounding in the two victories. Schlegel had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds in the 62-49 win at Valparaiso on Thursday, then posted a career-best 28 points and 11 rebounds in an encore performance at UIC on Saturday in a 69-58 victory.

Schlegel's strong week furthered her reputation as one of the top breakout players in the Horizon League. She's already scored 303 points – 42 more than any other season – and her 19 rebounds against Valparaiso last week are the most in a game by a league player this season. Schlegel ranks third in the Horizon League with 20.2 points per game, and her 100 made free throws are the seventh-most in the country. Liz Hornberger has also been on a hot streak, reaching double figures in four of the last five games.

Green Bay is 8-6 overall and 1-1 in league play following a 66-50 win over UIC and a 75-64 loss to Milwaukee last week. The Phoenix, who have won at least a share of 15 straight conference titles, won six of their first seven games but have gone 2-5 since. Kaili Lukan, one of four first-year starters, averages a team-high 12.3 points.

Youngstown State will host Milwaukee on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader with the YSU men's team.

Promotions

Fans in attendance will receive a stadium cup, courtesy of Lyden Oil, 21 WFMJ and Handel's Ice Cream.

Top Story Lines

  • Youngstown State has never been 3-0 in the Horizon League and hasn't started conference play with three victories since 1999-2000 in the Mid-Continent Conference.
  • YSU head coach John Barnes was the associate head coach at Green Bay last season under current Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth. He also coached with Borseth at Michigan in 2011-12.
  • In 15 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.

Scouting Green Bay

Green Bay is 8-6 overall and 1-1 in Horizon League play with a young squad. The Phoenix were 6-1 to start the year but have gone 2-5 since.

The Phoenix lead the conference in scoring defense but are seventh in scoring offense. Green Bay, which has won 15 consecutive Horizon League regular season titles, is led in scoring by first-year starter Kaili Lukan with 12.3 points per game.

Last Time vs. Green Bay

Green Bay got off to hot starts offensively in both halves, and its defense kept YSU from making a second-half push in a 60-46 victory on Feb. 16, 2013, at the Kress Center.

YSU's Brandi Brown scored a game-high 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting while battling foul trouble for the final 24 minutes. Liz Hornberger had 11, and Shar'Rae Davis added 10 for the Penguins.

The Penguins saw their six-game winning streak stopped while Green Bay won for the 16th straight contest. The win gave the Phoenix a three-game lead atop the conference standings with five games remaining.

Series with Green Bay

Green Bay leads the all-time series with Youngstown State 29-1 and is 14-0 against the Penguins at Beeghly Center. YSU's lone win in the series came on Feb. 19, 2005, when the Penguins won 60-56 against the 23rd-ranked Phoenix.

YSU lost 77-72 in overtime at home to Green Bay two years ago when it was ranked 11th in the country.

Recapping UIC

Youngstown State used an early flurry of 3-pointers and strong defense throughout in a 69-58 win at UIC on Saturday.

The Penguins made six 3-pointers in the first 8:20 of the game, and their aggressiveness on the offensive end helped out the defense as UIC's top scorers battled foul trouble. Youngstown State led from start to finish.

Heidi Schlegel had game highs with 28 points and 11 rebounds, and fellow Penguin forward Latisha Walker used a strong second half to post 10 points and 10 rebounds. Liz Hornberger had three early treys and finished with 16 points.

Penguins Overcome Turnovers With Hot Shooting

Youngstown State led by double digits for all but three seconds of the final 12:47 in a game in which it committed 22 turnovers – 15 more than UIC. The Penguins shot a season-best 48.8 percent while limiting the Flames to 32.4 percent. UIC attempted 25 more field goals than YSU and outscored the Penguins 23-7 off turnovers.

Hornberger Extends Scoring Streak

Senior Liz Hornberger continued her recent hot streak in the points column with 16 points against the Flames. Hornberger made three 3-pointers in the first four minutes and finished the game with 16 points. She has now scored in double figures in three straight games for the second time in her career, and she's scored at least 11 points four times in YSU's last five games. She has scored 46 points over the last three games, which is the highest total for a three-game stretch in her career.

Walker's Big Second Half

Latisha Walker had a very solid second half in the win over UIC. After going 0-for-2 from the field with three rebounds in the first half, Walker was 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line while adding seven rebounds in the second half. She finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season while adding two assists and three blocks. She was also a big part of the defensive effort that held UIC starting posts Ruvanna Campbell and Katie Hannemann to a combined 19 points, 8.3 points below their average.

Odds & Ends

YSU was never tied and never trailed in a game for the first time this season... YSU shot a season-best 48.8 percent while attempting a season-low 43 field goals... The Penguins were 6-of-8 from 3-point range in the first 8:20 of the game, but they were just 1-for-9 the rest of the way... YSU outrebounded the Flames by 14... UIC was a league-best plus-6.4 in rebounding margin entering the game.

Schlegel Emerges as One of League's Top Scorers

  • One of the biggest questions entering the 2013-14 season was who was going to replace 2013 Horizon League Player of the Year Brandi Brown in the scoring column. Heidi Schlegel has answered that pretty clearly.
  • Schlegel is averaging 20.2 points with a total of 303 in 15 games. That is four points ahead of Brown's total at this juncture last season, and it is the most by a Penguin through 15 games since Dorothy Bowers had 403 in 1987-88. Schlegel is one of only three players to have at least 300 points through 15 games in the last 27 years, and a Penguin has had 250 points through 15 games only 10 times since 1987-88.
  • Schlegel already has the highest scoring total of her career, surpassing the 261 she had as a redshirt freshman. She's also just 11 rebounds shy of her previous career high.
  • Schlegel has nine 20-point efforts in YSU's 15 games. The Wapakoneta, Ohio, native had eclipsed 20 points just once in 56 games coming into this season, and she scored more than 15 points just once last season.
  • Perhaps the biggest eye-popper is Schlegel's free-throw total. She's made 100 free throws, the seventh-most in the country, in 15 games for an average of 6.7 per game. The school record for free throws in a season is 140 by Brianne Kenneally in 1999-2000.
  • Schlegel was named the Horizon League Female Scholar Athlete of the Month for December. She averaged 17.6 points and 7.0 rebounds during the month and carries a 3.74 GPA as a middle-childhood education major. She had a 4.0 GPA in the fall.

Winning Formula Starts with Defense

  • Youngstown State had arguably its two best games defensively last weekend to start Horizon League play. The Penguins held UIC and Valparaiso to an average of 53.5 points on 32.3 percent shooting. YSU is 4-0 when holding opponents under 65 points and 5-0 when opponents shoot under 37 percent this season.
  • Brandi Brown dominated the headlines during last season's 23-10 season, but YSU's outstanding defense went under the radar. The Penguins allowed just 57.8 points per game last season, the lowest total since 1978-79.
  • In all six of their wins, YSU has led at halftime, held the rebounding edge, scored at least 62 points, had at least three players reach double figures and shot more free throws than its opponents.

Barnes To Take On Old Team

  • Youngstown State head coach John Barnes will see plenty of familiar faces when he looks toward the Green Bay bench on Thursday. Barnes was the associate head coach for the Phoenix last season when Green Bay went 29-3 overall and 16-0 in league play.
  • Barnes is also very familiar with Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth. Barnes was on Borseth's staff last year and at Michigan in 2011-12 when the Wolverines went 20-12.
  • Going back even further, Borseth was the head women's basketball coach at Michigan Tech while Barnes was a player there from 1991-95. In 2003-04, five years after Borseth started his first stint at Green Bay, Barnes became Michigan Tech's head women's coach.

Scoring Up Under Barnes

  • Despite the loss of Horizon League Player of the Year Brandi Brown (20.1 ppg) and starting point guard Shar'Rae Davis (9.6 ppg) from last year's team, Youngstown State has upped its scoring by 1.7 points per game in 2013-14. YSU's average of 65.0 points per game is its highest since 2001-02.
  • YSU's shooting percentage is slightly down (38.8 percent to 38.1), and the Guins are making 1.7 fewer 3-pointers per game (8.0 to 6.3). They've offset that by averaging 2.3 more points from the free-throw line (12.2 to 14.9).
  • The Penguins are also playing at a faster pace under first-year head coach John Barnes. YSU is averaging 72.4 possessions per game, its most since 2002-03. The Penguins averaged just under 68 possessions per contest last season.

Top Rebounding Team in 18 Years

  • Youngstown State is averaging 41.0 rebounds per game this season, which is the most by a Penguins team since 1995-96. YSU averaged just 34 rebounds last year and had its lowest rebounding average in school history just three years ago.
  • The Penguins have held the rebounding edge in nine of their 15 games this season. They had the edge just 13 times in 33 games last season and nine times combined the previous two seasons.