Youngstown State pushed their record to 7-2 on Sunday as they easily handled Division-III Wilmington College, 83-52. The Penguins rode Monica Touvelle for 20, Brandi Brown for 17, and got 11 from Taylor Hvisdak (above), an undersized freshman from the undersized town of Lowellville.
In fact, about half of the paid attendance were Hvisdak’s relatives, Touvelle’s relatives, and friends from Lowellville.
“They support me every game and it was nice that they were in the stands today”, said Hvisdak.
If you were wondering, Wilmington is just to the Northeast of Cincinnati and if you are female, the first thing you receive at orientation is a basketball uniform. The Quakers (6-3) had 24 players on their roster (19 dressed and played), and had won five in a row before dropping this one.
For YSU, it was a final tuneup heading into finals week and a meeting with #23 West Virginia next Sunday.
“It is a stressful week”, addd Hvisdak. ”All the teams are going through the same thing with finals. We will be practicing hard though and getting ready for West Virginia. It is a big game for us.”
In the first half, Youngstown State raced out to an 11-2 lead as they hit three baskets from three-point range within the first three minutes. The Penguins had the lead as high as 17 points in the half, but when the buzzer sounded to end the first twenty minutes, YSU was ahead 37-23. Brandi Brown had 15 points and seven rebounds in the opening half.
Coach Bob Boldon took advantage of the padded advantage to use his bench throughout the contest. Ashley Lawson, redshirted all of last season with a torn shoulder in two places, saw her first action as a Penguin.
In the second half, YSU kept Wilmington at arms length, maintaining between a 17 to 20 point advantage. With 14:04 left in the game, Karen Flagg stole a pass and dribbled up the left side to find a hustling Hvisdak for a bucket that made it 47-31. The layup accounted for Hvisdak’s first points as a Penguin, and she finished the game with eleven and emerged as a new weapon in Boldon’s growing arsenal.
Brown finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Flagg finished with nine points and five rebounds, and is looking more and more like a younger Brandi Brown each game, with the ability to be a difference-maker on both sides of the court. Monica Touvelle was firing up threes and ended up making 6 of 9 attempts and finished with 20 points in all, to lead all scorers.
Liz Hornberger did not dress for the Penguins.
“Liz sitting was precautionary, we were resting her, and I expect her to play every other game from here on out”, said Boldon.
Wilmington got 11 points from Wippel Makenzie.
To think the Penguins would be 7-2 at this point of the season might have been a stretch for the casual fan. In reality, they should be 8-1, and if you asked the players, they should be 9-0. Credit to Boldon, his players, and his staff for really turning the program, well beyond respectability. The Horizon League will surely take notice.
“I am happy we are 7-2. We have only played three games at home. Since the first week, I feel that we have shown significant improvement as players and as a team”, said Boldon.