Youngstown State Returns to WBCA’s Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll

Nikki Arbanas was one of four Penguins who had a 4.0 during the Fall 2014 semester
Nikki Arbanas was one of four Penguins who had a 4.0 during the Fall 2014 semester

For the third time in the last four years, the Youngstown State women's basketball team has been recognized for having one of the top 25 grade-point averages in the country.

The Penguins posted a team GPA of 3.422 during the 2014-15 academic year, which ranked 22nd on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll presented by AT&T that was released Tuesday. YSU was sixth on the list in 2011-12 and 17th in 2012-13.

YSU is one of just 11 programs in the country to appear on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll three times since 2011-12. Youngstown State has also played in the Women's NIT twice in the last four years, making it one of nine Division I programs to be in the academic top 25 and play in the postseason twice since 2011-12.

"I'm so proud of our team for putting forth the effort to be as outstanding in the classroom as they are on the court," YSU Head Coach John Barnes said. "To be in such a distinguished and select group of programs that excel in the classroom while also playing in the postseason is exciting. It says a lot about the culture and expectations our players have at Youngstown State."

Youngstown State joins fellow Horizon League member Green Bay and Ohio schools Bowling Green and Toledo on the prestigious top 25.

"The WBCA applauds these teams for their commitment to academic excellence during the 2014-15 school year," said Danielle Donehew, Executive Director of the WBCA. "The student-athlete experience is an exciting and challenging time period, and we appreciate these programs for setting an academic standard that other teams can strive to achieve. We value the hard work and dedication the players and coaches have put forth to thrive in the classroom and on the basketball court."

"We applaud these young women for delivering on the court and in the classroom," said Ryan Luckey, AVP, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. "They set a tremendous example for all student-athletes."

All 13 Penguins on the roster had at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the fall, and Nikki Arbanas, Sarah Cash, Morgan Olson and Heidi Schlegel each had a perfect 4.0 GPA. Eleven student-athletes had at least a 3.0 in the spring, and Schlegel had a 4.0 again.

Schlegel was an Academic All-Horizon League selection during the year, giving YSU five honorees in the last four years. Green Bay also has five in that stretch and is the only other school with more than three.

A team's GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of hours attempted by all team members in the academic terms (semesters or quarters) that the season spans. Weighted grades are converted to a 4.0 scale. The GPA's are rounded to the nearest thousandth of a point. Teams are nominated for the honor by a WBCA-member head coach. A team must have a 3.000 or better GPA to be nominated.