Youngstown State head women’s basketball coach John Barnes is excited to announce that five players have signed a National Letter of Intent to become future Penguins.
The class includes guards Mady Aulbach (Beaver Falls, Pa. / Blackhawk H.S.), Quinece Hatcher (Las Vegas, Nev. / Centennial H.S.), Maddie Schires (Wausau, Wis. / Wausau West H.S.) and Lexi Wagner (Galesville, Wis. / Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau H.S.) along with post Jen Wendler (Owen, Wis. / Owen-Withee H.S.). Schires, Wagner and Wendler all play for Team Wisconsin, which is the same AAU program as current Penguins Chelsea Olson and Taylor Petit.
“I am so excited about 2019 class,” Barnes said. “We have addressed our needs for the future and will have much more depth in all positions as we move forward. We are very fortunate to have such a talented group of young women join our program who will not only do great things on the court, but they will also be great representatives of YSU off the court and in the classroom.”
Aulbach is a 5-foot-5 point guard who has been named to the second team on the Pennsylvania Sports Writers all-state squad at Class 4A. She’s also been named Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first-team all-conference for three straight seasons, and she’s been an all-section honoree as well. Aulbach scored her 1,000th point as a junior when she averaged 16 points per game. She played for SLAAM during the AAU season.
“Mady is a very quick point guard who has an endless motor,” Barnes said. “She goes 100 percent all the time and has no stop in her. She is a very good defender who can shoot from deep. Mady is very unselfish and can make the players around her better.”
Hatcher is a 5-foot-8 combo guard who has been part of a very successful program at Centennial High School. She helped the Bulldogs win the 2017-18 Nevada Class 4A State Championship, and the team finished the season ranked eighth in the country by USA Today. She played for the Vegas Bulldogs AAU program.
“We are very excited to have Quinece join our program as she brings a great deal of athleticism and a high basketball IQ,” Barnes said. “She can play a variety of positions and comes from one of the best high school programs in the country. She is a competitor and will do whatever the team needs her to do in order to win.”
Schires averaged 20.5 points overall and 19.9 points in conference play to be a unanimous first-team all-conference selection as a junior at Wausau West High School. A 5-foot-8 guard, she was also a WBCA Division I all-state honorable mention selection and a NewsChannel 7 All-Star in 2017-18. As a sophomore, Schires led the Wisconsin Valley Conference in scoring with 19.8 points per game while also averaging 4.8 rebounds and shooting 49.3 percent from 3-point range to be named first-team all-conference.
“Maddie is a very tough kid who can shoot the lights out,” Barnes said. “She plays high-level high school and summer basketball and finds a way to get it done when the game is on the line. She is already very connected to the program and will hit the ground running when she gets to Youngstown.”
Wagner was named the Winona Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the Year and was a Division 3 all-state selection as a junior at G-E-T High School. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 20.9 points as a junior and also led her team with 148 rebounds. She scored 51 points, which ranked as the 10th-most in Wisconsin history for points in a game, in a contest last season with 15 field goals, seven 3-pointers and 14 free throws. A three-time first-team all-conference selection, she enters her senior year with 1,248 career points.
“Lexi is one of the hardest workers I've ever recruited,” Barnes said. “She is constantly in the gym working on her game. She comes from a basketball family and can play a variety of positions. Lexi has a very high basketball IQ and can score in a variety of ways.”
Wendler is a 6-foot-2 forward who averaged 21.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks as a junior. She was a Division 5 WBCA all-state selection and the Cleverbelt East Conference Player of the Year as well as a NewsChannel 7 All-Star this past season. Wendler was also an honorable mention all-state pick as a sophomore.
“Jen will bring great size and strength to our post play,” Barnes said. “She has good hands, a nice touch around the basket and range out to the 3-point line. The fact that she is an outstanding student just solidifies what a great fit she is for our program.”
Youngstown State is coming off a 64-55 win at Pitt on Tuesday evening in what was its first win over a Power Five opponent since 2012. The Penguins have played in a postseason tournament in four of the last six seasons, and they will look to improve to 4-0 in 2018-19 when they host Carlow on Friday at 7 p.m.