YSU Starts 2015 with Final Non-League Game at Cornell on Friday

Kelsea Newman (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Kelsea Newman (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Youngstown State at Cornell
Date & Time Friday, Jan. 2, at 7 p.m.
Location Newman Arena
Tickets Cornell Athletic Ticket Information
Radio iHeartRadio | 570 WKBN
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Scouting Report

  • Youngstown State will conclude its non-conference schedule with its first game ever against an Ivy League opponent on Friday at Cornell. Tipoff against the Big Red at Newman Arena is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO, iHeart Radio and the Ivy League Digital Network.
  • The Penguins have already set a new school record with 11 non-conference victories, and they are 11-1 for the first time since 1997-98.
  • YSU is coming off an impressive 75-62 win over previously unbeaten Akron on Monday. Heidi Schlegel and Latisha Walker both scored 25 points, and YSU held the high-powered Zips offense to season lows in points and field-goal percentage.
  • YSU leads the Horizon League in scoring defense, field-goal percentage defense, scoring margin, free-throw percentage, assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. The Penguins are third in the country in free-throw shooting at 78.5 percent.
  • The Penguins had their first 10-game winning streak since 1997-98 as they started the season 10-0. YSU has posted winning streaks of at least six games in three straight seasons after not having any from 2000-01 through 2011-12.
  • Schlegel moved into 10th place on YSU's all-time scoring list last week at Pittsburgh, and she surpassed 1,300 point and 600 rebounds against Akron.

A Win Would...

  • Give YSU an 12-1 start for the first time since 1997-98.
  • Be YSU's first against an Ivy League team
  • Be YSU's 23rd in its last 31 games.

On This Date

  • Youngstown State is 6-3 all time in games played on Jan. 2, but the Penguins have lost their last three contests on the date.
  • YSU's last win on Jan. 2 was at home in 1999 in a Mid-Continent Conference contest against IUPUI.
  • Oddly, the Penguins have played just one of the nine Jan. 2 games on the road. That game was at UIC in 2011, and YSU lost 74-61 to the Flames.

Scouting Cornell

  • Cornell is 7-5 following a 90-87 victory in double overtime at Vermont on Tuesday evening. The Big Red has won four of their last five games, and its lone loss during that stretch was at No. 22 Syracuse in which it led at halftime.
  • Cornell and YSU have played two common opponents in the non-conference season. The Big Red lost 59-51 at Bucknell on Nov. 29, and it beat Robert Morris 70-59 in overtime on Dec. 20 in Ithica. Youngstown State defeated Bucknell 69-54 on Nov. 25 and also topped Robert Morris in overtime, 73-65, on Dec. 17.
  • Sophomore forward Nia Marshall ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 17.8 points per game, and fellow post Nicholle Aston is averaging 11.2 points. Both players are shooting at least 47 percent from the field.
  • Cornell was picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League preseason poll. The Big Red has six returning letterwinnners and two starters back from last year's team that posted a 14-14 overall record.

Series with Cornell

  • Youngstown State will play Cornell for the first time on Friday. In fact, YSU has never played a team from the Ivy League.

Recapping Akron

Fifth-year senior posts Heidi Schlegel and Latisha Walker each scored 25 points to help lead Youngstown State to an impressive 75-62 win over previously unbeaten Akron on Monday night.

The pair took turns as Schlegel posted 17 of her season-high 25 points in the first half, and Walker had 16 of her career-high 25 points in the second period. Both players also had double-doubles as Schlegel registered 15 rebounds, while Walker had 11.

Although the score was tied seven times in the game, YSU only trailed for 64 seconds the entire way. Akron's lone lead came at 43-42 on a three-point play with 15:54 left, and YSU answered with a 13-2 run to take its first double-digit lead of the game with 9:00 left. The Zips got no closer than five the rest of the way.

Quick Notes

  • The Penguins made 20-of-25 free throws in the contest while the Zips were just 5-of-7. YSU made its final 10 attempts over the final 2:04 of the game.
  • The Zips made just one 3-pointer in 17 attempts, and that helped YSU hold Akron to 38.9 percent shooting, almost nine percent below its season average.
  • Akron had offensive season lows in points and field-goal percentage. The Zips scored 11 points fewer than their previous low and 22 points below their average.
  • YSU held Akron to 29 fewer points than in the 2013 matchup between the two teams.
  • Schlegel's 17 first-half points accounted for half of YSU's 34 points in the period.
  • Walker was an efficient 9-of-13 shooting, and she added three blocks to go with her 11 rebounds.
  • Schlegel and Walker accounted for 66.7 percent of YSU's points and 65 percent of its rebounds.
  • Although Akron's two leading scorers, Anita Brown and Sina King, combined for 42 points, only one other player scored at least nine points.

Penguins Off To Best Start in 17 years

  • Youngstown State has won 11 of its first 12 games for the first time since the 1997-98 season and for just the fourth time in the 40-year history of the program. YSU was also 11-1 in 1977-78 and 1978-79. The Penguins were 10-0 for the first time at the Division I level and for just the second time (1978-79) before losing at Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.
  • YSU has set a new school record with 11 non-conference victories, surpassing the 10 that the 2012-13 squad posted.
  • The start to 2014-15 has gone supremely better than the start to 2013-14, which was Coach John Barnes' first season. The Penguins were 4-9 in non-conference play last year.
  • The Penguins ended up hitting their stride at the start of Horizon League play in 2013-14 when they won their first six conference games. From the start of conference play last year to the present, YSU is 22-8 over its last 30 games.

Penguins Finish 2014 with 22 Wins

  • With its win over Akron on Monday, YSU ended the 2014 calendar year with a 22-9 record. The 22 victories tied for the fifth-most for a year in school history, and YSU won at least 20 games in a calendar year for the eighth time.
  • YSU has won a high of 25 games twice, and it happened in back-to-back years in 1996 and 1997. The Penguins won 24 games in 1998 and 1991, 22 games in 2014, 1999 and 1990 and 20 games in 1979.

Program on the Rise

  • YSU has been on a definite upward trend over the last three years. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, YSU has a 49-27 record for a .644 winning percentage. The Penguins' record over the previous seven seasons was 48-159 for a .232 winning percentage.
  • The Penguins have finished in the top three in the Horizon League and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament in back-to-back seasons and won a game in the WNIT in 2012-13. The Penguins' 21 league wins over the past two years is one shy of their combined 22 league wins over the previous six years.
  • Youngstown State has posted winning streaks of at least six games in three straight seasons after not having any from 2000-01 through 2011-12. YSU opened this season with its first 10-game winning streak since the 1997-98 season.

Excelling Academically

  • The Youngstown State women's basketball team had another banner semester this past fall as its 13 student-athletes posted a combined grade-point average of 3.51.
  • The 3.51 semester GPA was a high under Coach John Barnes. The Penguins had a 3.42 GPA in spring 2014 and a 3.46 last fall. There were two Penguins on the Horizon League's five-member academic all-conference team in 2013-14.
  • The Penguins were ranked in the WBCA Academic Top 25 in each of the two previous years. YSU was sixth on the Academic Top 25 in 2011-12 and 17th in 2012-13.

Guins Ranked 44th in RPI, 24th in Mid-Major Top 25

  • YSU's 11-1 start has it ranked respectably in the NCAA RPI and the Mid-Major Top 25.
  • The Penguins are 44th in the RPI, which is the highest they've been since joining the Horizon League in 2001-02. Youngstown State finished 75th in the RPI during its 23-win season in 2013-14, and it finished 210th last year.
  • YSU is also in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The Penguins made their first appearance in the poll ranking 24th on Dec. 16, and they have maintained that ranking for the last two releases. Youngstown State is one of three Horizon League teams in the Mid-Major Top 25, joining No. 2 Green Bay and No. 17 Wright State.