Penguins Start Final Stretch versus UIC on Thursday with "Beach Night" at Beeghly

Penguins Start Final Stretch versus UIC on Thursday with "Beach Night" at Beeghly
Youngstown State vs. UIC
Date & Time Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7:05 p.m.
Location Beeghly Center (Youngstown, Ohio)
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Radio 570 WKBN | iHeartRadio
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Following two big road wins over the weekend, Youngstown State has the opportunity to play extremely meaningful home games the final two weeks of the regular season, starting with Thursday's contest against UIC. Tipoff against the Flames is set for 7:05 p.m. at Beeghly Center, and the game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the Horizon League Network. YSU's Student Government Association is sponsoring a Beach Night Funfest in conjunction with the contest. YSU students can receive free food and giveaways near the pep band, and all fans are encouraged to dress for the theme.

Youngstown State is in a three-way tie at the top of the Horizon League standings with Green Bay and Wright State at 9-3. The Penguins beat Green Bay 72-63 on Sunday to sweep the regular season series with the Phoenix, and they play host to Wright State on March 5. If YSU wins each of its last four games, it will be the top seed in the Horizon League Tournament.

YSU scored the first nine points of the second half and led for the final 13:25 in its win at the Kress Events Center on Sunday. Junior Heidi Schlegel scored her 1,000th career point early in the first half, but Green Bay built a 21-14 lead. YSU used an 11-4 run to tie the score, a 9-0 run to start the second half and another 9-0 run late to pull away for the nine-point victory. The Penguins, who beat Green Bay 66-57 at home on Jan. 16, became just the second league team in the last 16 years to sweep the regular season series against the Phoenix.

Schlegel is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week after averaging 24 points and 7.5 rebounds last week. She has moved up to second in the conference in scoring at 19.9 points per game, and her 7.9 rebounds per game rank fifth. Senior Liz Hornberger is averaging 20 points and shooting 62.5 percent from 3-point range (20-for-28) during YSU's three-game winning streak. The pair combined for 51 points at UWM on Friday and for 26 in the second half at Green Bay.

UIC has won eight of its last 11 games and is tied for fourth in the Horizon League standings at 8-5. The Flames have three of the top 12 scorers in the conference – leader Rachel Story is fourth at 17.6 points per game – and possess arguably the top post tandem in the league in Ruvanna Campbell and Katie Hannemann. Youngstown State beat UIC 69-58 in Chicago on Jan. 11.

YSU will play its final road game of the regular season at Detroit on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Top Story Lines

  • Youngstown State is off to its best Horizon League start ever through 12 games at 9-3.
  • In YSU's nine Horizon League wins, opponents have averaged 62 points. In the three league losses, opponents have averaged 88 points.
  • The Penguins have their best scoring offense in 14 years, and they are shooting a conference-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range during league play.
  • Of YSU's four remaining games, three are against teams in the top five of the conference standings.
  • Heidi Schlegel is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week. She scored the 1,000th point of her career at Green Bay on Sunday.

Scouting UIC

UIC is 19-7 overall and 8-5 in Horizon League play. The Flames won their final 11 non-conference games, and they've won eight of their last 11 dating back to Jan. 16. They beat Milwaukee 79-54 in their last game on Feb. 17.

All five starters average at least eight points, and Ruvanna Campbell and Katie Hannemann form arguably the league's top post tandem. Rachel Story averages a team-high 17.6 points.

Last Time vs. UIC

Youngstown State used an early flurry of 3-pointers and strong defense throughout in a 69-58 win at UIC on Jan. 11 in Chicago. 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.

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.

Series with UIC

UIC owns a 17-12 edge in the all-time series with YSU that dates back to 1993 when the teams were members of the Mid-Continent Conference.

Youngstown State won five of the first six meetings, and it has won three straight decisions and four of the last six overall.

Recapping Green Bay

Heidi Schlegel scored a game-high 23 points, including the 1,000th of her career, and Youngstown State created a three-way tie atop the Horizon League standings with a 72-63 win at Green Bay on Sunday.

Jenna Hirsch scored 16 points, and Liz Hornberger scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half. The senior hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half as the Penguins started the period on a 9-0 run. YSU did not trail for the final 19:02, and it led for the final 13:51.

Green Bay led by as many as seven in the first half, but an 11-4 Penguins run tied the score at 25. The Phoenix hit a 3 at the end of the first half to go up 34-31. YSU led by as many as 12 with 2:09 remaining.

Significance of Win

YSU swept the regular-season series with Green Bay for the first time in school history, and it is only the second time in the last 16 years that any conference team has swept the Phoenix during the regular season. YSU was 1-29 versus Green Bay all-time entering this season, and it was 0-7 at the Kress Events Center (including the tournament semifinals loss last season to Loyola). The average loss at the Kress Center was 29.4 points.

Win Was Extra Special for Seniors

Sunday's win at Green Bay meant a little more to the program's senior class. In 2010-11, the freshman year for Liz Hornberger, Melissa Thompson and Monica Touvelle, the Penguins lost 84-25 at the Kress Events Center. YSU did not score until the 8:07 mark of the first half and trailed 26-0. The Green Bay fans cheered when the Penguins scored their first points of the game.

Green Bay Brings Out Hirsch's Best

Jenna Hirsch had one of her best games on Sunday with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists against Green Bay. She was an efficient 4-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-4 from distance, and was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. Hirsch scored a career-high 20 points in YSU's first meeting with Green Bay on Jan. 16.

Odds & Ends

YSU shot 55.6 percent from 3-point range, going 10-for-18... That was the second-best percentage from 3 this season for YSU, trailing only the 11-for-19 effort (57.9 percent) against Northern Kentucky... The score was tied nine times, the most in a YSU game this season... Schlegel tied for the fourth-most free-throw attempts in school history with 17... Schlegel and Hornberger combined for 26 of YSU's 41 points in the second half... The 72 points scored by YSU were the sixth-most scored by an opponent in the seven-year history of the Kress Events Center.... It was Green Bay's PinkZone game, and $14,569.46 was raised.

Schlegel Joins YSU's 1,000 Points Club

  • Junior Heidi Schlegel became the is the 18th player in YSU women's basketball history to score 1,000 points during Sunday's game at Green Bay. She reached the milestone on a bucket in the lane with 19:02 remaining in the first half on a pass from Melissa Thompson.
  • Schlegel is the ninth Penguin to reach 1,000 as a junior, and she now ranks 17th in school history with 1,021 points.
  • Schlegel scored 47 points in seven games in an injury shortened true-freshman campaign in 2010-11. She scored 261 as a redshirt freshman, and she had 216 last year. She has 497, 236 more than her previous high, in 25 games this season. She is three points from becoming the seventh player in school history to score at least 500 points in a season.
  • Of the 18 players at YSU have scored 1,000 points, Schlegel is the 16th player from Ohio.

Schlegel Named Horizon Player of the Week

  • Heidi Schlegel is the Horizon League Player of the Week following a weekend when she averaged 24 points and 7.5 rebounds while scoring the 1,000th point of her career.
  • Schlegel finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds against Green Bay on Sunday as YSU moved into a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings. On Friday in the win over Milwaukee, the junior forward had 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.

Three-Way Tie Atop the Standings

  • By beating Milwaukee and Green Bay last week, Youngstown State moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Horizon League standings at 9-3. The Penguins are tied with Green Bay and Wright State, two teams that play each other Thursday evening in Dayton. YSU plays host to Wright State on March 5.
  • Since YSU owns the tiebreaker with Green Bay by sweeping the season series and still plays Wright State, the Penguins will host the league tournament if they win their final four games of the regular season.

Remaining Schedule is Challenging

  • YSU definitely has a tough task ahead if it wants to be the Horizon League Tournament's top seed. The Penguins still play Wright State, a team tied with them for first place at 9-3, as well as the two teams tied for fourth in Cleveland State and UIC, in their last four games.