Archive for the ‘YSU Basketball’ Category
The Youngstown State Penguin Club is now accepting renewals and new memberships for the 2013-14 campaign. Being a part of the Penguin Club offers fans benefits while funds go directly to supporting our student-athletes.
The Penguin Club is the primary Athletics fund-raising organization and works diligently to enhance the student-athlete experience at YSU for Penguins from all sports. Members can join to assist the football program, the “Gridiron Club”, or the men’s and women’s basketball programs, the “Courtside Coaches”, or just have a general membership which provides support for all other teams.
Members who join the “Gridiron Club” have access to tailgating permits and mid-field Chairback seating at YSU football games. Members who sign up for the “Courtside Coaches” group have access to the best seats as well as The Coaches Court, a room that provides refreshments to members before and during games.
Membership levels in the “Girdiron Club” are as follows: Booster Level ($75), Royal Level ($250), Emperor Level ($475), Kingbird Level ($950), Coaches Level ($1,425), Captains Level ($2,500) and Champions Level ($5,000). This year the Penguins play seven regular-season home games for just the second time in school history so prices have been adjusted accordingly.
The different membership levels include tickets, access to parking, priority seating, post-season ticket availability and other benefits.
Membership levels in the “Courtside Coaches” are as follows: Booster Level ($75), Royal Level ($300), Emperor Level ($600), Kingbird Level ($1,050), Coaches Level ($1,500) and Captains Level ($2,500). All benefits are for men’s and women’s basketball games.
The Penguin Club has also created an easy way to be a member and spread out your contribution through an ACH Recurring Payment plan.
Once again the ACH Recurring Payment feature is available for 2013-14. Through an Automated Clearing House (or ACH), YSU fans can pay for a membership with ease and are now able to spread out their membership dues over a period of months.
The option of paying for a membership in one payment still exists, however fans now have the convenience of having membership dues come directly from a checking or savings account automatically each month for an amount that works for them. Authorized regularly-scheduled payments, or “ACH Debits” to the Penguin Club will be made on the 15th day of each month.
For example, a $75 membership can be spread out over a five-to-seven month period for a payment of about $12-15 each month. Plus with a regularly-scheduled payment, fans save time, postage and don’t have to worry about late charges or any other hassles. Charges for each month must be the same.
The Penguin Club is a crucial part of YSU Athletics. Revenues from memberships generated by the organization cover costs of athletic grant-in-aid provided to student-athletes, which is the single-largest investment made by the Athletic Department. Athletic grant-in-aid can cover tuition, books, room and board. In addition, Penguin Club revenues support and enhance the Athletic Department’s general fund.
Here is a schedule of Penguin Club events for the 2013-14 academic year:
July 21 – Debra L. Hinkle Scholarship Bocce Social at Cassese’s MVR
Nov. 7 – Penguin Club Jamboree
Nov. 16 – Hall of Fame Ceremony
Feb. 18 – Scholarship Ring Banquet at Mr. Anthony’s
June 11, 2014 – Penguin Club Scholarship Golf Outing at Youngstown Country Club
National recognition is something that Kendrick Perry should get used to this season. The rest of the country is going to realize what the extended Horizon League fan base already knows – this guy is real good.
Perry, a YSU senior, has been named one of the Top Ten Mid-Major Point Guards to Watch in 2013-14 by MidMajorMadness.com, the website release on Thursday.
Perry, a two-time All-Horizon League First-Team selection, was selected National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District First Team and Named All-Horizon League First-Team in 2012-13. Named to 2013 Cousy Award Watch List, Perry was named the 2013 YSU/Vindicator Male Athlete of the Year.
He ranked second in the Horizon League with 17.3 points per game and tied for the league lead with 1.9 steals per game. He also ranked fifth in the Horizon League with a .845 free-throw percentage, sixth with 4.1 assists per game and 10th with 5.5 rebounds per game.
Perry led the Penguins to an 18-16 overall record last season, the most win for the program since 2000-01, and Youngstown State first Division I postseason berth in the CIT. The Penguins also recorded the program’s first win over a BCS opponent, a 68-59 win over Georgia. Perry scored a team-high 23 points with six rebounds, five assists and four steals against the Bulldogs.
He ranks 17th in school history with 1,309 career points, third all-time with 170 career steals (school record is 182), fifth with 365 career assists, eighth with 139 career 3-pointers made and tied for 9th with 314 career free throws made.
One of the best kept secrets in the ranks of NCAA Women’s Basketball got out of the bag this year. Bob Boldon, who would have received multiple offers if he already hasn’t, has decided to accept an offer from Ohio University to coach the Bobcats.
Boldon, who went 39-46 in three seasons with the Penguins, was lauded as the Horizon League Coach of The Year for guiding YSU to a 23-10 season.
Boldon was outstanding at maximizing the talent surrounding Brandi Brown. Everyone knows Brown was good, it was what he was able to get out of the supporting cast that made him a special mentor.
Boldon will be remembered as the coach who revitalized a basketball program rich with tradition but not getting it done in the past ten or so years. He had a very good staff to help him reach goals that seemed unrealistic to many.
It is our loss Penguin fans, this guy was fantastic. The search for a successor will begin immediately.
Good Luck Bob!
Before you get to read about who scored what, or how many blocks Damian Eargle had, or how many threes Blake Allen had, or what magic Kendrick Perry whipped up – a pat on the back goes to YSU Coach Jerry Slocum.
Three years ago when this Penguins program was bubbling under, Slocum’s head was called for by several. For him to have a second consecutive winning season – albeit minus his starting lineup for half of the season- says a lot about where the program has advanced to in three years.
Slocum and staff put yet another exclamation point on a fantastic season with a thrilling tournament run that ended to Canisius. The Golden Griffins overcame a 20-point second half deficit to overtake YSU and end their season, 84-82.
“This is a very disappointing loss”, said Slocum. ”We didn’t take care of the ball and they got 15 points on the defensive side. It is not how we wanted this season to end.”
The Golden Griffins entered the game ranked third in the country for three-point field goals made per game at 9.2. The Penguins made 9 three-pointers in the first half. Credit Slocum for cutting the perimeter with a nifty zone which held the normally high-powered Canisius offense to 28 first half points.
In the first half, Allen and Eargle combined to score 12 of YSU’s first thirteen points. But the storyline of the first twenty minutes was YSU’s defense setting up the offense. The normally explosive Golden Griffins were more than just held in check. Canisius could only muster 15.4 % from three while the Penguins knocked down 9-16 long balls (56.4%) to take 45-28 led to intermission.
Allen, who poured in 27 points for YSU, led the quick start and finished the half with 16 points. Eargle, Perry, and Kamren Belin all added eight points each. Canisius got seven from Jordan Heath.
The second half started much like the first half ended. YSU was drilling threes and had a commanding 53-33 lead at the 18:02 mark. The twenty point lead turned into a two-point edge over the next seven minutes. Canisius used a 18-0 run to get right back into the game and the score was 53-51 with 11:08 remaining. D J Cole made a free throw to break the drought and Belin nailed a three with 9:37 to play and YSU ahead 57-54.
Canisius tied the game at 60 on a Alshwan Hymes three with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.
Eargle and Allen started it and seemed poised to finish it. Allen hit his seventh three of the game and Eargle hit a pair of free throws that staked YSU to a 69-64 advantage with 4:15 left in the game.
Canisius would not go away quietly. They came back from 20 to tie the game and this time they were only down seven and cut the YSU lead to 69-66 with 3:41 left to play. Bill Baron then hit a three to tie the game again.
YSU held a 71-70 lead when Perry drove in from the right for an easy deuce that made it 73-70. Baron again struck for three as the Golden Griffins had a possession in which they got to take three shots from long range.
With the crowd standing, Canisius held the ball for the last shot. Baron dribbled at center but when the Golden Griffins attempted their approach to end it, Belin poked the ball out of bounds. With 0.9 seconds left, Canisius inbounded but could not get a shot off.
In the overtime, Perry got things rolling with a three. Canisius retaliated with a layup to cut the lead to one and then had a chance to nab the lead. Perry was fouled after garnering a rebound. The junior forward nailed both with 3:45 left to put YSU back up by three. Another three tied the game at 3:18.
One of the Heath brothers, Jordan, hit the first of two and then his Canisius teammates got yet another offensive rebound. The Penguins would dodge a bullet as Hymes attempted a three that went over the backboard to give YSU the ball. Perry gave the Penguins the lead at 80-79 with 1:15 left to play.
With just under a minute to play, YSU missed a three and Canisius went back to work. Baron was fouled and hit both free throws to make it an 82-80 lead for the visitors. YSU took a timeout with 36.7 seconds to play.
With Eargle seemingly trapped at the top of the key, he spun and made a drive to the hoop while being fouled. The shot fell, Eargle went to the line, and YSU was in a dogfight. Eargle missed the charity toss setting up Canisius for the last possession.
Baron, who ended up with 30 points, cranked up for another three and what looked like a clean block was whistled a foul with 2.1 seconds left. Barron made two of three free throws to give the Golden Griffins an 84-82 lead. YSU could only muster a Perry desperation heave and the game would end.
“This is the most enjoyable season I have had since I got to Youngstown”, said Slocum. ”They are a great bunch and were all in, all year. It is sad that it ended this way for them.”
Three years ago, Bob Boldon took over a program that lost every game they played the year before. He inherited Brandi Brown and a puzzle that needed to be put together. A few years later, Boldon finds himself leading a team into the NIT Tournament on the heels of a 22 win season.
“We really were at the lowest of the lows”, recalled Brown. ” I am grateful to be a part of this team and feel like we are in a really good place right now.”
Youngstown State had their hands full with an Indiana State team that won 18 games and had a size advantage, nothing new to the YSU Lady Penguins. The host team played hard and enjoyed a 63-51 first round NIT win.
The Penguins raced out to a 29-23 lead at the half. Liz Hornberger (below) had ten points and Brown added nine to lead the YSU offense. The Sycamores got eight from their big post player, Marina Laramie.
YSU got the first points of the second half to take a 31-23 lead, but Indiana State got it back to 31-29 in just two minutes. Heidi Schlegel (below) hit a bucket with 15:27 left to increase the YSU lead to 34-31. Good to see Schlegel back on the floor after missing seven games with an injured knee.
“Two years ago, we only won six games”, said Schlegel. ”Playing Saturday will be something we are used to after a Thursday game because that’s how the conference worked out too.”
You would never know by watching Boldon’s Penguins that the 22 wins they already had eclipsed the previous four years combined.
With 13:09 left in the game, Hornberger went down with what appeared to be an injured right knee. An eerie silence muffled the cheers for a minute or so before Hornberger was helped to the YSU bench.
When play resumed, Brown went into Horizon League Player of The Year mode. She would first hit a basket that would make it 42-37 with 12:33 to play.
YSU seemed to let Indiana State get within arms’ reach and then pull back away. With 10:01 left in the game and YSU ahead 44-41, Karen Flagg drove in from the right side, hit a layup and got fouled. Flagg hit the charity toss to bring the edge back to six points at 47-41.
The Penguins started to put some distance between themselves and the Sycamores when Brown went to the line to shoot a one-and-one and knocked both down to crank the lead up to 49-41 with 9:03 left to play.
Brown (below) was repeatedly guarded very physically. There were several instances throughout the game where a player from either team would be on the deck.
“There aren’t a lot of bad teams still playing basketball right now”, remarked Boldon.
“We have things to work on, if you look at the stat sheet you would think our players shot with their opposite hands. We won’t have a lot of time to prepare for a very good Toledo team, and they won’t have any more time than we do to prepare.”
Brown and company showed their toughness throughout the game. With 3:55 left in the game, Brown again stymied any momentum the Sycamores were building. Brown hit a shot to make the score 54-46 in favor of YSU.
With less than two minutes remaining, YSU held a 56-47 lead. Indiana State would go into foul mode and YSU converted enough chances to get the win.
The Penguins (23-9) got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Brown. Schlegel chipped in with 11, and Flagg contributed 10. YSU was also aided by a technical foul on the Indiana State bench in each half.
Indiana State got a very balanced scoring attack with Natasha Zurek, Laramie, Taylor Whitley, and Anna Munn reaching double figures. Munn was the Sycamores top scorer this season as she averaged 17.1 per game. It was odd to see a top scorer in an Indiana State uniform wearing #33.
YSU will face Toledo in the second round game, in Toledo. YSU is 3-0 against the MAC this season, and as a league the Horizon holds a 16-7 advantage.
The Youngstown State men’s basketball team will host Canisius in the second round of the 2013 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, Saturday, March 23, at 7:05 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.
Ticket prices will remain the same as the first round: $10 for reserved, $7 for general admission, YSU students are free with a current and valid ID. Tickets go on sale at 2 p.m. at the YSU ticket office and will be on sale at the YSU women’s basketball WNIT game at the Beeghly Center.
Penguin Club members and season-ticket holder have until 5 p.m. Friday to renew their tickets at the YSU ticket office. The ticket office will be open on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.
The Penguins (18-15) won the first postseason tournament game in school history by defeating Oakland, 99-87, on March 19 to advance to the second round. Canisius (19-13) moved on by knocking off Elon, 59-53, on March 20.
Youngstown State set a school single-game record with 18 three-pointers against Oakland to secure its 18th win of the season, the most since 2000-01. Junior Kendrick Perry scored a game-high 31 points, and senior Blake Allen tied a career high with 27 points to become the 35th YSU player to score 1,000 career points.
This is just the fourth meeting between the Penguins and Golden Griffins in a series that dates back to 1941. Canisius won all three previous games, the last one a 71-59 at the Beeghly Center on Nov. 26, 2006.
Canisius, who has recorded a 14-win improvement from 2011-12, finished fifth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with an 11-7 record in and its 19 wins are the most since the 2000-01 season. The Griffs’ 11 conference victories were the most since the 1998-99 campaign.
Youngstown State’s first-ever Division I postseason tournament game was physical, emotional, high-scoring, and full of thrills. In the end, the Penguins rode 18 three-pointers to advance in the CIT Tournament over a good Oakland team, winning this one, 99-87.
“I didn’t think we would have to get 99 to win” said Coach Jerry Slocum. ” The difference was at around the twelve minute mark of the second half, both teams had converted about four possessions in a row. At the timeout, I told our guys that we needed to make some stops. We got four stops and converted our offensive chances and the lead went from two points to eight.”
Oakland entered the game making its fifth postseason tournament finishing in the CIT Final Four in 2012. Travis Bader scored 700 points during the regular season and averaged 21.9 ppg. Bader lived up to his billing as he knocked down 30 points for the Golden Grizzlies.
“It’s disappointing for the season to end this way”, said Bader. ”We wanted better for the seniors and all we can do is take what we learned this season to get better next year.”
In the first half, a track meet broke out and both teams were scoring. Oakland took a 44-43 led into the intermission off of 16 points from Corey Petros and ten from Bader. The Penguins Blake Allen (below) knocked down six first half threes for 18 points to lead YSU.
In the second half, Kendrick Perry blew up. Perry had ten points in the first half, but really ignited the Beeghly Center crowd with 11:11 left to play. Allen started a break on the Oakland end of the court. As he entered the circle, he lobbed a ball for what appeared to be an alley-oop to Perry. The pass was a little high, but Perry caught the ball, almost at the top of the square, with his right hand and pushed it down to give YSU a 66-60 lead.
Allen reached the vaunted 1,000 point milestone on a free throw that would put the Penguins up by 6 points. Allen became the third active Penguin, joining Perry and Damian Eargle. Allen is the 35th Penguin to accomplish that fete.
“We knew he was close”, said Slocum. ”It was one of the many reasons we wanted to play this game. He is what is good in this business and we wanted he and Damian to play as much as they could. I am really happy for him.”
Perry would then start connecting with threes. More impressively, this was the farthest into a game this season that YSU would make every free throw that they attempted. Bobby Hain connected on an and-one with 8:25 left. With his made free throw, YSU was a perfect 10-10 from the line.
With YSU ahead 76-69, Shawn Amiker drove and converted to push the Penguin lead to 78-70 with just over seven minutes to play.
Oakland went to full-court pressure, but the patient Penguins advanced the ball through the pressure, got into their offense, and got a dunk from Eargle to go up 81-75 with 5:32 left to play.
Perry went back to work as he drew a foul on Bader and converted both free throws to put YSU up 86-77. The crowd was really riding Bader most of the second half.
Oakland would not quit. Derek Mondy broke out of a pack to draw a foul on a contested layup. Mondy missed the shot but would go to the free throw line. He would hit one of two charity tosses to make it 86-80 with just under three minutes to play.
Perry pushed the Penguins back out by nine with another three, and then Eargle hit a free throw to make it 90-80 with 2:54 to play.
Bader hit a pair of free throws with 1:21 left to cut the lead to 95-87. The Penguins would convert free throws down the stretch to maintain the margin and ice the game.
Perry finished the game with 30, Allen contributed 27, and Belin knocked down 16. With the win, YSU had their first 18-win season since the 2000-01 season. They are also 1-0 in Division I postseason games now.
Where they go next is still in the air – the way the tournament works there are more first round games on Wednesday night. The winning teams will all be reshuffled to see who plays who based on who wants to pay to host the game.
To host a first round game, the Penguins had to cough up $35,000.00. Slocum remarked after the game that he was humbled by the financial support provided to the university by the local businesses.
“There was no financial burden on the university due to the generosity of several local businesses”, commented Slocum. ”It is amazing that those businesses and boosters would come up with that kind of money for this to take place. I am deeply touched by their gratitude.”
The Youngstown State women’s basketball team will play host to Indiana State at Beeghly Center on Thursday in the first round of the 2013 Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The bracket was released Monday at 11 p.m.
Tickets for the game will go on sale on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Athletics Ticket Office in Stambaugh Stadium. Reserved tickets will be $10, and general admission tickets will be $7. YSU students will be admitted for free with a valid and current ID. Season ticket holders will have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to purchase tickets before their seats are released.
YSU will enter the WNIT with a record of 22-9 and looking to rebound from its 72-45 loss to Loyola in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament. The Penguins have not played in a postseason tournament since making the NCAA Tournament in 1999-2000, and they will be in the WNIT for the first time in school history. YSU earned the Horizon League’s automatic berth into the WNIT by finishing second in the regular season standings and fellow conference member Green Bay making the NCAA Tournament.
Indiana State will come to Beeghly Center with an 18-12 overall record and a 10-8 mark in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Sycamores have lost three of their last four contests, two of which came to Northern Iowa. Indiana State holds opponents to 55.3 points per game, which ranked second in the MVC. The Sycamores and Penguins played two common opponents during the regular season. Indiana State lost 71-67 to IUPUI, a team YSU beat 58-57. The Sycamores beat UIC 64-33, and YSU topped the Flames twice.
Damian Eargle is unique in so many ways. He will leave a legacy of statistics behind, including becoming the all-time leader in blocked shots in Horizon League history. More than that, Eargle will leave a hollow void in the charisma of Youngstown State Athletics. It is refreshing to watch a student athlete truly enjoy what he is doing on the court. His friendly demeanor is not a gimmick either because his personality has been top shelf since he came back home to play basketball at Youngstown State.
Paneech: You might be the happiest Division I basketball player ever. Does Coach Slocum ever give you an earful for smiling in games or practices?
Eargle: All the time. I try to stay positive and would like to think I made coach happy with my smile. It definitely gets me into some trouble, but not that much. I’m smiling because I love playing basketball, I love the game. You will not always get calls, especially when you start complaining, so I always try to be friendly with the officials.
Paneech: What about when coach stomps his feet and goes on a tirade with an official at a game, how hard is it for you not to smile and be yourself?
Eargle: (laughs) I get busted all the time…. all the time. Coach Slocum seems to have gotten used to it, and it is not really that big of a deal anymore. He knows that the smile is a genuine reflection of my personality. The whole coaching staff is used to it. When we are having a bad day at practice, I do my best to cheer everyone up.
Paneech: On a more serious note, six young people from your hometown of Warren recently tragically passed away in an automobile accident. Did you have any ties to the victims or know any of the families?
Eargle: I did not know any of the victims. Warren is a small community with a family setting. Our hearts go out to all of them. You probably hear a lot of bad things about Warren, but the citizens of that community are surely going to support those families.
Paneech: To be the all-time leader in any Horizon League category must be an honor. Does it enhance your value to get to the next level?
Eargle: It was an honor to break both the Horizon League career record and the Horizon League Tournament record for blocks. It is a good thing to have on your resume. I believe it may give me an opportunity to play at the next level.
Paneech: Is there any one blocked shot that you had that may be your best ever?
Eargle: It would have to be when I blocked Stephen Curry my freshman year. He threw up a floater and I came out of nowhere to get it. I was headhunting because I wanted to get him so bad. It felt so good even though he ended up with like 33 points in that game.
Paneech: You have had to adapt and learn to play with a protective mask (below) on your face in the last few weeks. What is different?
Eargle: It gets sweaty under there and sometimes the sweat gets into my eyes. I also sometimes have a hard time looking up. On the positive side, it helps me be more aggressive, I am more open to contact because it does protect. It was hard at first, but I have gotten used to it. Since I started wearing it, my shooting percentage and rebounds have gone up, and I don’t know why. When I feel comfortable enough, I will take it off. I will never know when, but someday it will stay off.
Paneech: How big of a deal is it that YSU has finally earned the right to play in a postseason tournament?
Eargle: It is huge for the program. It is the first time in the history of YSU that a men’s basketball team will be playing in a postseason tournament. We are excited about it and even though we sacrificed our entire Spring Break to practice, we all welcome that trade, to play in that tournament. I probably would have been sitting in my room or chilling at home, so I am much happier playing basketball.
Paneech: Who is your favorite NBA player and why?
Eargle: Penny Hardaway was my favorite player ever. He was a 6’6″ guard and that is what made me want to dribble. He and Shaq were my idols back in the day when they played for the Orlando Magic. I remember the commercials with Little Penny, stuff like that made me admire him. He was an amazing player and I wish he was still playing.
Paneech: I have watched you shoot free throws in practice and you make 19 of 20. Then you get to a game and you miss one, does it screw your head up?
Eargle: It has a snowball effect, I’m telling you! I can hit them regularly in practice. Today, I think I hit 30 of 35. It just gets mental. I do practice them and they really are mental. You can hit a pair and it gets easier, but when you miss that first one you think, ‘man, what am I doing wrong here?’
Paneech: I love Coach Slocum’s emotional prowess, but from where I sit at home games I see two things when you shoot a free throw – you at the line and him in the same line of sight, staring at the floor unable to watch.
Eargle: I can’t look that way when I am at the line. I think the assistant coaches tell him what happens. If I look that way, I might just miss, so I don’t even go there.
Paneech: I respect the direction that Coach Slocum has this program going. In any way, do you feel that maybe with the all-time leader in conference history in blocked shots, the all-time school leader in threes with Blake, and a first team offensive / defensive selection with KP that this team underachieved this year?
Eargle: We wanted to do better, but we did take a big step up and doing things never before done here at YSU. We made some history, and we are comfortable with where we are at right now.
One Word Answers
Favorite Cereal: Trix
Fast Food: Pizza Hut. I get a P-Zone and a chicken alfredo family sized side and Mountain Dew.
Favorite Drink After Practice: Water
Alternate Sport You Would Play: Football, Tight End
Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad and Walking Dead
Song On ipod No One Would Expect: Work To Do – Average White Band
Who Wins NCAA Tournament? This year it is so random that I wouldn’t be surprised if Valpo won. I will say Syracuse.
What Happens Next? Camps, If not the NBA, Overseas. If not overseas, I will work at a corrections facility in Elkton. My college experience has taught me a lot about networking, it isn’t always what you know, but rather who you know. I toured prisons, I’m fine with it. I have tough skin.
Tough skin well hidden by a big smile. Thanks Damian for your accomplishments at Youngstown State. Many people are glad you came home to play.
Recently named Horizon League Player of The Year for the Horizon League Coach of The year, Brandi Brown put on a clinic. Brown had 20 points at half and ended the game with 31, in leading Bob Boldon‘s YSU Lady Penguins to a first-round 69-62 victory over Cleveland State, but it wasn’t easy.
Playing as a #2 seed and coming off of their best season in 15 years, the Penguins were ahead for most of the game. Cleveland State, who only lost two games to the Penguins by a combined total of 13 points played their hearts out, but Brown and her teammates proved to be destined for bigger things in the victory.
The Penguins established a 37-31 lead after the first twenty minutes of play. Brown had four three pointers in the opening half, seemingly stealing the momentum right out of the Cleveland State team.
Shar’Rae Davis chipped in nine in the first half. Davis was doing an outstanding job of penetrating and drawing fouls while getting her shots to fall.
YSU coaching royalty, Ed DiGregorio, was honored at the half in front of a decent crowd. DiGregorio was surrounded with some of his best players from over the years. YSU Athletic Director, Ron Strollo and the former players surrounded DiGregorio for a jersey presentation (above). He finished his coaching career with 319 victories.
“I wish I could have been out there at halftime”, said Boldon. ”My players probably wish I was out there at halftime too. He set a standard here for women’s basketball. He put it on the map and it was nice to see him honored in such a nice atmosphere.”
When play resumed, the Penguins maintained their 7-10 point lead throughout the second half. The YSU defense pressured the Vikings offense into 13 first half turnovers, a trend that would continue into the second.
With 6:25 remaining in the game, Karen Flagg made a nice spin move in the paint to increase the YSU lead to 52-43. Flagg would twist her ankle and exit.
On the next possession, Brown drove, made a bucket, and got fouled. The old-fashioned three-point play made it 55-43. Brown then nabbed a rebound and started the play the other where where Davis hit a bucket and got fouled. Davis nailed the charity toss to increase the lead to 58-43 with just over five to play.
Cleveland State was able to cut the lead to four but would get no closer.
“We are anxious to find out who we play next”, said Brown. ”As long as we focus on what we do we can win.”
The Penguins (22-8) will face the winner of the Loyola vs Milwaukee game. Ultimately, YSU could be headed for a third shot at the Horizon League’s darling, Green Bay. The Penguins lost both regular season meetings to Green Bay and will have their hands full against the only undefeated team in the Horizon League. They would have to win one more game before that chance would occur.
The win against Cleveland State also serves as a measure of small revenge. The Vikings eliminated YSU from last year’s conference tournament. The win also marks YSU’s first postseason victory since the 2007-08 season.
Besides the Player of The Year type effort put forth by Brown who also had 13 rebounds, the Penguins got 18 points from Davis and eight more from Flagg, who eventually returned after the ankle scare.
“This ranks up there with with the accolades I have gotten this week”, said Brown.
This was obviously a nice thing because the whole team wins. This ranks pretty high up there. It is nice to not have to play in the first round Monday game, which we have every other year since I got here.”
Cleveland State got 19 from Shalonda Winton, 16 more from Cori Coleman, and Honesty King scored 11.