Penguins Hope to Bounce Back at Wright State on Wednesday

Penguins Hope to Bounce Back at Wright State on Wednesday
Youngstown State at Wright State
Date & Time Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Noon
Location Nutter Center (Dayton, Ohio)
Radio 1390 WNIO | iHeartRadio
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The Youngstown State women's basketball team will complete its first half of Horizon League play on Wednesday at Wright State in a special noon contest. The game, which is tabbed Education and Hoops Day at the Nutter Center, will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeart Radio and the Horizon League Network.

The Penguins will be looking to cleanse the sour taste in their mouths from Saturday's loss at Cleveland State. YSU allowed Cleveland State to score the final six points of the game and surrendered 22 points off of CSU's 23 offensive rebounds in the game. Two of those second-chance points came when Cleveland State tied the score with 40 seconds left, and the Vikings went on to take the lead on a steal and layup. Karen Flagg was whistled for charging on a drive to the bucket with 12 seconds left, and Kelsea Newman missed an open attempt to tie the game with under five seconds left. YSU led by as many as 11 in the second half and lost despite outshooting Cleveland State 48.4 percent to 37.5 percent.

YSU, which is off to its best start ever in Horizon League play with a first-pace record of 6-1, continues to be led by redshirt junior Heidi Schlegel. She has double-doubles in four of YSU's seven conference games and is averaging team highs with 19.7 points and 7.8 rebounds for the year. She went over 900 career points against Cleveland State and has moved into the top 20 on YSU's career scoring list. Flagg had one of her best weeks of the season with averages of 17 points and seven rebounds in the two games, and she is a solid all-around threat with 9.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per contest.

Wright State is 16-6 overall and 5-2 in the Horizon League, and a win over YSU on Wednesday would allow the Raiders to catch the Penguins in the standings. Wright State is coming off a big 77-74 win at UIC on Saturday, and its two league losses are to Cleveland State and Green Bay. Junior guard Kim Demmings was the league's preseason player of the year, and she leads the conference with 21.5 points per game. Wright State averages a league-best 80.1 points per game.

Youngstown State will end its three-game road trip at Oakland on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Top Story Lines

  • Youngstown State is off to its best start in 13 years of Horizon League play at 6-1. The previous best start through seven games was last year at 5-2.
  • YSU started the season 1-6 but has gone 9-4 since. The uptick coincides with Jenna Hirsch moving into the starting lineup and seniors Monica Touvelle and Melissa Thompson recovering from early injuries.
  • In 20 games, Preseason Second-Team All-Horizon League forward Heidi Schlegel has posted the 10 highest scoring games of her career, ranging from 28 points to 22.
  • 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 Wright State

Wright State is 16-6 overall and 5-2 in the Horizon League, one game back of YSU. The Raiders started the season 6-1 and also won four straight games in December. Their two league losses came at home to Cleveland State and at Green Bay

Wright State ranks second in the country in turnover margin at plus-9.8, but it is third-worst in defensive field-goal percentage at .468. Wright State averages six more points than any other league team, and Kim Demmings in the league's top scorer at 21.5 points per game.

Last Time vs. Wright State

Brandi Brown had one of the best performances in the 2012-13 college basketball season with 42 points and 21 rebounds as YSU beat Wright State 64-54 on March 2, 2013. Brown went on to earn national player-of-the-week honors for her effort.

Brown had 25 points and 11 rebounds at halftime, outscoring the Raiders' 20 points on her own. At one point she accounted for 17 consecutive points for YSU. She went on an 11-0 run on her own at YSU turned a 16-13 deficit into a 24-16 lead. The Penguins ended the first half on a 21-4 run, and they led by at least six the entire second half.

Series with Wright State

Wright State holds a slight 24-23 dge in a series that dates back to 1979. YSU beat its old Mid-Continent Conference foe 18 of the first 22 times, but Wright State won 20 of the next 23.

YSU swept the Raiders last season, and its been within five points in three of its last four losses to Wright State.

Recapping Cleveland State

Youngstown State led by as many as 11 in the second half, but Cleveland State rallied and scored seven of the final eight points to hand YSU its first conference loss 84-80.

The game was within five points for the final eight minutes. Cleveland State tied it on two free throws with 40 seconds left after an offfensive rebound, and YSU turned the ball over twice and missed an open layup on its final three possessions of the game.

Heidi Schlegel posted game highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Melissa Thompson scored all 13 of her points in the first half. Jenna Hirsch added 10, and four other Penguins scored eight points. All five of Cleveland State's starters reached double figures, and Cori Coleman matched Schlegel with 22.

Allowing Costly Offensive Rebounds

Youngstown State allowed a season-high 22 second-chance points to Cleveland State in the loss. The previous high by an opponent was 19 by VCU in the season opener. The Vikings scored 19 of those 22 second-chance points in the first half, and second-chance points accounted for 47.5 percent of their points. Two of the three second-chance points in the second half were especially damaging. With the Penguins up 80-78, CSU's Kiersten Green grabbed an offensive board with 40 seconds left and was fouled. She made both free throws to tie the score, and the Vikings grabbed the lead on their next possession when Adesuwa Aideyman picked Jenna Hirsch's pocket and converted a breakaway layup.

Schlegel Surpasses 900 career Points

Junior Heidi Schlegel surpassed 900 career points in Saturday's contest at Cleveland State, and her countdown to 1,000 has started. Schlegel currently has 917 points in her career – 47 as a true freshman when injuries limited her to seven games, 261 as a redshirt freshman, 216 last year as a sophomore and 393 this season. There have been 17 players in YSU history to reach 1,000 points. The latest to reach the milestone was Brandi Brown on Nov. 25, 2011.

Odds & Ends

YSU scored at least 80 points in a loss for the first time since a 94-87 double-overtime setback against Milwaukee on Feb. 9, 2008... There were 13 lead changes, the most in a YSU contest this season... It changed hands five times in the final 5:02 of the game... The Penguins scored 38 points in the paint, the most against a Division I opponent this season... YSU's Latisha Walker had eight points and seven rebounds in 10 minutes but also had three fouls and three turnovers... The Penguins registered 20 assists for the second time in four games... They also had more assists than turnovers for the fourth straight game.

3-Pointers Still Key to Offense

  • Youngstown State's offense was built around 3-point shooting the last three seasons, and head coach John Barnes was quick to assure that, while he was going to emphasize the post more, the 3 was still going to be a big part of the offense.
  • The Penguins have really been zoned in from distance in league play. They've averaged a conference-best 9.6 3-pointers per game in league play while shooting at a 41.1-percent clip, which also leads the conference.
  • YSU made at least 11 3-pointers in the final three games of its four-game home stand, and it was 9-for-18 on Saturday at Cleveland State. The Guins have made at least seven triples in all seven conference contests.
  • Only four teams in the country made more 3-pointers in the previous two seasons than YSU. The Penguins are 49th nationally in 3-pointers per game this season, but their 3-point shooting percentage is actually the highest its been since 2004-05.

Hornberger, Touvelle in 3-Pointer Race

  • Youngstown State seniors Liz Hornberger and Monica Touvelle both have a chance to break the school's record for career 3-pointers. Hornberger currently ranks second with 167 career triples, and Touvelle is tied for third with 166. The record is 198, held by Dianne Rappach from 1988-92. If the Penguins played only the 10 remaining games they are guaranteed, Hornberger would have to average 3.1 3-pointers per game to tie Rappach.
  • Hornberger has attempted 500 3-pointers, which is the third-most in school history. Touvelle is right behind her at 457. Rappach also holds that record with 525.
  • Hornberger and Touvelle have combined for 333 triples in their careers. Prior to them, Shannon Beach and Caroline McCombs had the most combined 3-pointers by a duo in the same YSU class at 292.

Winning Formula Starts with Defense

  • Youngstown State has played some if its best defense of the season to start Horizon League play. The Penguins are holding conference opponents to an average of 64.9 points, which ranks second in the conference, and a league-best 36.2 percent shooting. YSU allowed non-conference opponents to average 71.7 points and 41 percent shooting.
  • YSU is 6-0 when holding opponents under 65 points and 7-0 when opponents shoot under 37.5 percent this season.
  • In all nine of its wins, YSU scored at least 62 points, had at least three players reach double figures and shot more free throws than its opponents. Green Bay is the only team to out-rebound YSU in a Penguins victory, and YSU has led at halftime in each of its wins except against Detroit.

Offense Has Improved as Season Progresses

  • YSU's was really in high gear in January. The Penguins shot 42.1 percent overall and 37.9 percent from 3-point range while averaging 71.4 points.
  • Going back even further, YSU has shot 41.2 percent overall and 36.7 percent from 3-point range since the start of December. The Penguins shot 33 percent overall and 22.8 percent from the arc in five games in November.
  • YSU's average of 67.7 points per game is its highest since 2000-01 (68.0 ppg), and its .390 shooting percentage is the highest since 2004-05 (.397). YSU has upped its scoring by 3.9 points per game in 2013-14 despite losing two of its top three scorers from last year.

Top Rebounding YSU Team in 18 Years

  • Youngstown State is averaging 40.7 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 12 of their 20 games this season, and they are 9-3 in those contests. They had the edge just 13 times in 33 games last season and nine times combined the previous two seasons combined.

Trimming Down Turnovers

  • Youngstown State has done a good job of trimming down its turnovers in league play. The Penguins have committed fewer than 15 turnovers in each of their last four games and in five of their seven league games.
  • YSU committed an average of 18.4 turnovers during league play and turned the ball over at least 15 times in nine of the 13 games. The average is down to 14.4 in league play.

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 19.7 points with a total of 393 in 20 games. That is just four points behind Brown's total at this juncture last season.
  • Schlegel ranks third in the Horizon League in scoring. She has already posted the highest scoring (393) and rebounding (156) totals of her career, surpassing the 261 points and 123 rebounds she had as a redshirt freshman.
  • Schlegel has 12 20-point efforts in YSU's 20 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.