The Youngstown State women's basketball team begins the final stretch of the regular season with its longest home stand of the season, beginning with Thursday's game against UIC at 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN, iHeartRadio and the Horizon League Network.
Thursday's game versus UIC starts a busy stretch where YSU plays three games at Beeghly Center in five days. A win over UIC will guarantee that the Penguins will finish no worse than fourth in the Horizon League standings and give them a home tournament game on March 13. YSU also plays Wright State and Valparaiso on this home stand, which will feature the final regular season games in Youngstown for seniors Brandi Brown and Devan Matkin.
Youngstown State went 1-1 last week, beating Cleveland State at home on Thursday before losing at Loyola 41 hours later on Saturday. Even with the loss, the Penguins remain a game ahead of Detroit and Loyola for second place in the Horizon League standings. Brown was magnificent against the Vikings, scoring 21 second-half points en route to a season-high 33. She finished with 16 against Loyola in the loss. Shar'Rae Davis earned her first career double-double against the Ramblers with 15 points and 12 rebounds while adding six assists. Melissa Thompson matched her season high with 13 points against Loyola, and Liz Hornberger added 10. With 20 rebounds last week, Brown pulled to within 19 of Wanda Grant's career record of 1,178. The Penguins senior also eclipsed 1,900 career points at Loyola and is 90 away from reaching 2,000.
UIC went 2-0 last week with two home wins over Wright State and Detroit that were both decided by one possession. The Flames beat Wright State 81-78 in overtime and topped Detroit 76-74 in the final minute. Rachel Story is a Horizon League Newcomer-of-the-Year contender, averaging 15.2 points. YSU beat UIC 67-54 in Chicago on Jan. 31, and the Flames are 1-11 on the road this year.
Tickets and Promotions
Tickets are available for purchase on YSUsports.com, by phone at (330) 941-1978, and at the main YSU Athletics Ticket Office in Stambaugh Stadium until 5 p.m. on Thursday. The Beeghly Center ticket office will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Fans in attendance will receive a women's basketball team picture, courtesy of The CW WBCB, ValleyCare Health and Bottom Dollar.
- YSU is in its 38th season in 2012-13 and its third under head coach Bob Boldon.
- The Penguins already have their most wins in a season since 1999-2000.
- The Penguins are averaging 8.4 3-pointers per game this season, which ranks eighth in the country. They averaged 9.2 3-pointers per game last season.
- YSU is plus-7.1 in scoring margin this season. That's a 10-point improvement from last season and a 32.9-point improvement from three years ago.
- Opponents are scoring 57.2 points per game against YSU, the lowest since 1978-79. They averaged 67.5 points last year.
- YSU is averaging 64.3 points this season, down 0.3 points from last season.
A Win Would
- Give YSU 19 wins in its first 26 games for the first time since 1999-2000.
- Give YSU a school-record nine Horizon League victories.
- Give YSU 19 wins, matching its win total from the previous four years combined.
- Be YSU's 10th at Beeghly Center, which would be its most since 1998-99.
Game Recap vs. Loyola
Loyola scored nine of the final 10 points and won for the fifth straight game, beating YSU 67-59 in an early Saturday afternoon game.
The game featured 12 lead changes and nine ties, the final of which was at 58-58. Loyola's Simone Law broke that tie with a bucket on the low block with 1:57 remaining. The Ramblers went on to score the next seven points.
Law finished with 24 points and was 12-for-21 from the free-throw line. Brandi Brown led YSU with 16 points.
- Shar'Rae Davis had 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for her first double-double. Eight of her rebounds were on the offensive end. Davis added six assists.
- YSU shot 25 percent overall in the second half, including 14.3 percent (2-for-14) from 3-point range. The Guins missed their last 12 attempts from distance.
- Melissa Thompson matched her season high with 13 points, and Liz Hornberger finished with 10. Both hit two 3-pointers.
- In a key three-possession stretch, with less than three minutes left, Karen Flagg fouled out, Brown missed the first of a one-and-one chance, and Brown fouled out.
- Loyola attempted 19 more free throws and was whistled for 12 fewer fouls. Three Penguins starters fouled out, and two other YSU players had four fouls.
- The Penguins led by six on three different occasions in the first half and led 33-32 at halftime. Neither team led by more than four in the second half until the final minute.
- The Penguins went without a field goal for the final 6:56 left.
- Law scored 10 straight points for the Ramblers over the final five minutes.
- Loyola outscored YSU 34-18 in the paint.
UIC enters this week at 9-16 overall and 5-7 in Horizon League play. The Flames have won three of their last five contests to move into fifth place in the conference standings. They won a pair of one-possession games last week, beating Wright State 81-78 in overtime and Detroit 76-74 in the final minute. Rachel Story, a transfer from Louisville, averages 15.2 points and four assists. Katie Hannemann, averaging 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds, is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week.
Last Time vs. UIC
Youngstown State had five players score at least seven points and hit 11 3-pointers in a 67-54 win at UIC on Thursday evening.
Brandi Brown finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Liz Hornberger (12) and Monica Touvelle (11) joined her in double figures. UIC's Rachel Story finished with 19 points.
After UIC led 18-16 with 11:30 left, YSU finished the half on a 19-6 run. Hornberger hit two big 3s in the second half once UIC cut a 12-point deficit down to five.
Series With UIC
UIC owns a 17-10 edge in the all-time series with YSU that dates back to 1993 when the teams were both members of the Mid-Continent Conference. The Penguins won five of the first six contests, but UIC won the next eight and has won seven of the last nine meetings. The Penguins beat the Flames in Chicago earlier this season on Jan. 31, and they beat UIC at home two years ago. UIC won 77-68 in overtime last year at Beeghly Center.
- Brandi Brown needs 20 rebounds to break YSU's career record.
- Brandi Brown is 90 points from 2,000.
- Brandi Brown is one free throw make from 400.
- Liz Hornberger is 22 points from 400.
- Monica Touvelle is 19 3-pointers from 150.
Best Season Since 1999-2000
- With 18 wins, Youngstown State has its most victories since going 22-9 in 1999-2000, which was 13 years ago. The Penguins were 10-20 last year.
- YSU's eight conference wins are tied for the most in 12 seasons in the Horizon League. The Penguins also won eight league games in 2001-02 and 2007-08.
- The 10 non-conference wins tied the 1997-98 team for the most in school history.
- The Penguins won their first six home games for the first time since the 1991-92 season. Their nine wins at Beeghly Center are the most since 1999-2000.
- YSU's nine road wins are the most in the last 13 years. The Penguins had seven road wins combined in the last four years.
Among the Nation's Most Improved In...
- RPI – The Penguins have improved their RPI from last season by 194. That is the best improvement in the country. YSU was 257 last year and is 63 this year. Mercer is second at 190.
- Wins – YSU has eight more wins in 2012-13 than it did in 2011-12. Only five teams have improved their win total by more.
- Scoring defense – YSU is allowing 10.3 fewer points per game in 2012-13 than it did in 2011-12. Only nine teams in the country have improved its scoring defense by more. The Penguins are allowing 57.2 points per game this season, down from 67.5 in 2011-12.
Looking at Tournament Seeding (Unofficial)
- With four Horizon League games remaining, it appears Youngstown State can be seeded anywhere from second to seventh in the upcoming conference tournament.
- The Penguins (8-4) lead both Loyola (8-5) and Detroit (7-5) by one in the loss column. YSU split its series with Loyola and beat Detroit in the first meeting on Feb. 7.
- UIC is fifth at 5-7, which means a win over the Flames on Thursday guarantees the Guins would finish no worse than fourth. As a result, YSU would host a home tournament game on March 13.
- Detroit, Loyola and UIC still have league-leading Green Bay on their schedules.
Racking Up Conference Wins
- YSU has eight league wins, matching the 2001-02 and the 2007-08 teams for the most since joining the conference in 2001-02.
- The Penguins won six straight Horizon League games from Jan. 24 to Feb. 14 for the first time in school history.
- The Penguins have led by at least 11 points in seven of their 12 conference games.
- YSU is plus-4.8 in scoring margin in conference games. Its previous best scoring margin since joining the Horizon League is minus-2.4 in 2007-08.
Brown Named Academic All-America
- Senior Brandi Brown earned perhaps the biggest award of her career up to this point on Thursday when she was named First-Team Capital One Academic All-America.
- Brown is the first Youngstown State female in any sport to earn First-Team Academic All-America honors.
- She joined Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Northern Iowa's Jacqui Kalin, North Carolina State's Marissa Kastanek and Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike in earning first-team honors.
- Brown holds a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average in communications studies.
Brown Nearing 100 Double Figures Games
- YSU senior Brandi Brown has scored in double figures 97 times in her 115 career games, which is 84 percent of her games played. She needs three to get to 100.
- Brown has been in double figures in all 25 games this season. She scored at least 10 points 19 times as a freshman, 28 times as a sophomore and 25 times last year as a junior.
- Brown has scored at least 20 points on 43 occasions, including 13 times this season.
- She recorded her second career 30-point game on Feb. 21 with 33 points against Cleveland State. That was two points off her career-high 35 points against UIC on March 3, 2011.
Responding from Losses
- A key to YSU's success so far has been responding from losses with emphatic wins. The Penguins are 6-0 up to this point following losses.
- Following losses, YSU has won its next game by an average of 17.2 points. The closest game was a four-point victory over Cleveland State on Feb. 21. Two other games were decided by nine points.
Penguins Rank 63rd in RPI
- YSU ranks 63rd the official NCAA RPI. That is its best ranking since 1997 and 194 spots better than last year.
- No team in the country has improved its RPI from last season more than YSU.
- Green Bay is the only Horizon League team above YSU at 26. Detroit is next at 118.
- Dayton (13) and Toledo (43) are the only schools in Ohio above Youngstown State. The other schools in Northeast Ohio rank 132nd (Akron), 219th (Cleveland State) and 337th (Kent State).
Brown Nearing Rebounds Record
- Brandi Brown is closing in on YSU's career rebounding record. Brown has 1,159 rebounds in her career, just 19 shy of tying Wanda Grant's career record of 1,178 from 1977-81.
- Brown already has already set career records this year for games started, free throws made and free throws attempted.
- Brown could also break the minutes record this year. She is 154 shy of Danielle Carson's record of 3,839 minutes from 1982-86.
- Brown is also 29 rebounds and 185 minutes from setting other career records. She currently ranks second in YSU history in both points and rebounds.
- In 115 career games, Brown has 1,910 points, an average of 16.6 per game. Dorothy Bowers holds the school record with 2,324. Brown is 90 points from 2,000 with at least five games remaining.
Brown's Place in League History
- With four games left in her Horizon League career, Brandi Brown continues to cement herself as one of the top players in conference history.
- The senior forward ranks sixth in league history in career points with 1,910, 11 points behind fifth place. Three players in league history have scored 2,000 points.
- Brown is even better in career rebounds, ranking third with 1,159. She is 34 behind second.
- Brown is the active career leader in both categories. She leads the closest active player in scoring by 125 points and the closest active rebounder by 92 caroms.
- Brown is one of two players in conference history with 1,900 points and 1,100 rebounds.
Brown at the National Level
- Brandi Brown ranks eighth in all of Division I with 18 double-doubles. She is also 11th with 11.4 rebounds per game and 20th in scoring with 19.7 points per game.
- Brown and Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike are the only two players in the country who rank in the top 20 in both scoring and rebounding.
- Brown ranks fifth among all active NCAA players regardless of division in career rebounds. She is also 18th among all active players in career points. In Division I, she is fourth in rebounds and 16th in points.