Women's Basketball Heads to Detroit on Saturday
The Youngstown State women's basketball team will try to rebound from a rough second half on Thursday against Wright State by putting together a strong 40 minutes against Detroit on Saturday. Tipoff against the Titans at Calihan Hall is set for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 1390 WNIO and the Horizon League Network. YSU needs to win at least one of its final two regular-season games if it wants to host a first-round Horizon League Tournament game. The Penguins beat Detroit 80-67 on Jan. 26 in the first meeting, but they've won just once since then.
- After posting more points in the second half than in the first 23 times in the first 24 games, YSU has done the reverse each of the last three games.
- Five of YSU's last seven Horizon League losses have been by five points or fewer. Two were in overtime to third-place Wright State and No. 11/12 Green Bay, and another was by a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left.
- YSU is averaging 10.8 3-pointers in Horizon League play and 9.5 per game overall. The Penguins rank tied-for-third in the nation in 3-pointers per game and have already broken the school record for 3-pointers in a season by 52.
- With two Horizon League games left, the Penguins have already surpassed the previous record for 3-pointers made in conference play by 43.
- With their 10-17 start, the Penguins have surpassed their win total from the previous three years combined. YSU was 3-57 combined in the two years prior to coach Bob Boldon's arrival.
- Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Brandi Brown is averaging 18.2 points and 8.3 rebounds in league play.
Series With Detroit
Detroit is 16-13 all-time against Youngstown State in the series that dates back to 1983. YSU won five of the first eight meetings and claimed five straight victories against the Titans in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. Detroit then won six straight contests vs. the Penguins before YSU won 80-67 earlier this season in Youngstown. YSU's last win in Detroit was Feb. 14, 2008, and the Guins lost 53-42 at Calihan Hall last year.
Detroit has won six of its last seven games since losing at YSU on Jan. 26. One of those victories came at previously undefeated Green Bay. The Titans' only loss in February was at Wright State last week. Since Horizon League play began, the Titans lead the conference in field-goal percentage and rank second in scoring. Freshman Shareta Brown is a conference newcomer-of-the-year candidate, averaging 17 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 55.9 percent from the field. Senee Shearer's 57 3-pointers are the third-most in the league.
Last Game: L, 84-62 at Wright State
Wright State used runs of 10-0 and 13-0 in the second half to pull away in an 84-62 win over YSU on Thursday at the Nutter Center.
After 14 lead changes and nine ties in the first half, Wright State led the entire second half and outscored the Penguins 43-23. That included an 18-5 edge in the final six minutes.
Three Raiders scored at least 20 points, led by Courtney Boyd's 24 points. Brandi Brown scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second half.
YSU trailed just 52-48 with 15 minutes left, and Wright State capitalized on a Penguin turnover with a 10-0 run. YSU trailed 66-57 with under six minutes left when the Raiders scored 13 straight points.
- Heidi Schlegel, playing without her protective face mask for the first time, scored 14 points and led YSU with seven rebounds. It was her highest scoring output since the league opener against Cleveland State on Dec. 31. The seven rebounds were her highest since Nov. 25 at Loyola Marymount.
- Devan Matkin was 2-for-3 from 3-point range in 16 minutes. Her six points were a high during Horizon League play.
- Brandi Brown was 1-for-8 from 3-point range. She had made nine of her last 14 attempts over the previous three games.
- Kenya Middlebrooks made three 3-pointers in the first five minutes but did not score the remainder of the game.
- The Penguins made at least 10 3-pointers in their sixth straight game as well as for the eighth time in nine games.
- YSU had just three steals, which matched its season low. Wright State managed just four.
- The Penguins' bench outscored Wright State's 29-5.
- Last Time vs. Detroit: W, 80-67
- Kenya Middlebrooks set YSU's single-game record with eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 30 points to lead YSU to an 80-67 win over Detroit on Jan. 26 at Beeghly Center.
- Middlebrooks scored 24 of her 30 points in the final 16:20 of the game. She was 8-for-10 from 3. YSU shot 15-for-25 from the arc as a team.
- YSU led just 41-36 when Middlebrooks hit three treys in 2:39 to give the Guins a 50-40 lead. Detroit made the deficit eight points four times before back-to-back 3s from Monica Touvelle and Middlebrooks put the Guins up by double digits for good.
- YSU led by 20 twice before Detroit scored the final seven points of the contest. YSU led by as many as 13 in the first half.
Last Time at Detroit: L, 52-43
Detroit went on a 17-2 run in the first half and scored 12 of the final 14 points of the game to win 52-43 on Feb. 17 at Calihan Hall.
Brandi Brown scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for YSU, which led 41-40 with 7:26 left. Detroit committed 10 more turnovers than the Penguins but held a 55-31 edge in rebounding. YSU shot 25 percent, and everyone but Brown went a combined 5-for-35.
So Close, But...
Last Saturday's heart-breaking 77-72 loss to No. 11/12 Green Bay is just the latest in a rough stretch of setbacks for the Penguins.
Seven of YSU's 12 Horizon League losses have YSU have come in overtime or by five points or fewer. YSU has lost overtime games to third-place Wright State and fourth-place UIC, and it also suffered a 65-63 defeat against fifth-place Butler by a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left.
YSU has showed that it is not going to go down without a fight. On six occasions this year, the Guins have trailed by double digits in the second half and have taken the lead or got within one possession of tying the score.
Looking at the Big Picture
Although YSU has hit a slide lately, it's hard to ignore the improvements that the program has made under second-year head coach Bob Boldon. Right before Boldon's arrival, YSU went 0-30 in 2009-10 and lost games on average by 25.8 points. Only two Horizon League games that season had a final margin fewer than 10 points. This season, YSU's scoring margin is minus-2.6, a 23.2-point improvement from two years ago. The Guins have won 10 games, and they've lost two league games by more than 10 points – 16 fewer than two years ago.
Offensive High Marks in 2011-12
- YSU's 38.9 percent field-goal shooting is its best since making 39.7 percent in 2004-05.
- The Penguins have already shattered the previous school record for 3-pointers in a season by 52.
- YSU's .339 3-point percentage is its highest since .363 in 2004-05.
- YSU is averaging 64.8 points, which is its best averaging 66.0 points in 2001-02.
Offense (Was) Better in 2nd Half
YSU has scored more points in the second half than in the first 23 times in 27 games. However, YSU has scored more points in the first half in three straight contests. Still, for the year, YSU averages 8.1 more points and shoots 9.3 percent higher in the second half than in the first. Five times, YSU has scored 20 more points in the second half than in the first. YSU is 7-2 when ahead at halftime and 3-15 when trailing.
Draining 3s in League Games
In its 16 Horizon League games, YSU has made 173 3-pointers – an average of 10.8 per game. That is already a league-record total, shattering the previous mark of 130, and 3.7 more per game than any other team is averaging in league play. Wright State is the only other league team to make at least 173 3s for the entire season. YSU is shooting 36.4 percent from distance in league play, up from 29.7 percent in non-conference games.
Guins Among NCAA's Best at 3s
Through Feb. 23, YSU ranks fourth in the country with 9.5 3-pointers made per game. Fresno State is third with 9.7, and UT Martin is second with 10.1 per game. Florida Gulf Coast, led by YSU head coach Bob Boldon's mentor Karl Smesko, leads the nation with 10.9 per game. YSU is averaging 10.8 3-pointers in Horizon League play. YSU is one of nine teams in the country that has made at least 16 3s in a game this season.
New 3s Game Record at Loyola
YSU set a new school record by making 16 3s at Loyola on Feb. 11, breaking the old mark of 15 (which was matched earlier this season). YSU has made at least 12 3-pointers seven times this year. The Guins made 12-plus triples just eight times in the first 36 years of the program.
Guins Break 3s Season Record
With at least three games remaining on its schedule, YSU has already broken the school record for 3-pointers made in a season. The Guins have 257 this season, topping last season's record of 205. They broke the attempts record Thursday at Wright State. More than 49 percent of YSU's field-goal attempts are from beyond the 3-point arc.
Middlebrooks is Money from 3
Senior Kenya Middlebrooks ranks third in school history with 158 career 3-pointers in 117 games. She has 72 in 27 games this year and leads the Horizon League with 2.7 3-pointers per game. Her 72 treys ranks third on YSU's single season list.
Middlebrooks was just 28-for-139 in the first 66 games of her career – 0.4 per game and 20.1 percent shooting. She has 130 makes in 352 attempts over her last 51 games – an average of 2.5 per game and 36.9 percent.
Middlebrooks made eight 3-pointers against Detroit on Jan. 26 to set a new school record. Previously, she was one of two YSU players to make seven 3-pointers twice.
Seniors' Careers Closing
YSU's senior class of Tieara Jones, Kenya Middlebrooks and Macey Nortey is guaranteed just three more games. Jones joined the program in 2009-10 and made her debut in 2010-11, and Middlebrooks and Nortey have been mainstays the last four seasons.
• In two seasons, Jones established herself as one of the top blockers in YSU history. Her 52 career blocks ranks as the 12th-most in school history, and her 39 last season rank seventh on the yearly chart.
• Middlebrooks has developed into a top 3-point shooter in the Horizon League. After making 26 treys total her first two seasons, she sank 60 last year and has a league-high 72 this season. She ranks third in YSU history with 158 career 3s.
• Nortey is one of six players in YSU history to start 100 games. She ranks fourth in career minutes, sixth in starts, seventh in assists, 15th in steals and 16th in free throws. This year she has a career-best 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Brown is Ninth on Scoring List
Junior forward Brandi Brown has moved into ninth place on YSU's all-time scorers list. Brown has scored 1,396 points in her 87 career games for an average of 16.0 per game, which is the fourth-best in YSU history. She has scored at least 20 points in 10 of YSU's 16 league games, and she's been in double figures 52 times in the last 57 games. Brown also ranks sixth in school history in career rebounds with 842.
Fickiesen's Strong Start to Career
Freshman Kelsea Fickiesen has gotten off to a solid start in her promising career. She has scored at least eight points in nine of her last 13 games. Fickiesen leads YSU in field-goal percentage (.433) and ranks second in assists (51) and blocks (7) and third in steals (34). No freshman guard has ever led YSU in shooting percentage for a season.
Touvelle Improving in Year Two
Monica Touvelle has shown a big improvement in her sophomore year. She has more than doubled her scoring output (3.0 points to 6.2), and she's upped her shooting percentage from 28.7 percent to 40.7 percent. Touvelle is 47-for-121 from 3-point range, which gives her the third-most makes ever by a YSU sophomore.
YSU wraps up the regular season at Cleveland State next Saturday at 2 p.m.