Posts Tagged ‘Boki Dimitrov’

2011-12 YSU Women’s Basketball Preview

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The same people who vote on where Youngstown State would finish in the Horizon League this season, also vote for who the best player in the conference is.  Brandi Brown was named the preseason Horizon League Player of The Year, but her team was picked, by the same people, to finish tenth out of ten teams.  Second year coach, Bob Boldon, enters this season optimistic that his team is better for the opening tip this season than they were a year ago.  Down the stretch, the Lady Penguins were hot, and nobody wanted to play them because they came around a corner few thought they could.  The strong finish included three home wins and a buzzer loss in the opening round of the Horizon League Tournament.

This just in – Brandi Brown is really good.  The thing that the Penguins need is consistency from her supporting cast to be successful.  Brown became the first scoring leader in conference history to not be voted onto the league’s first team, thus the Penguins will enter this season with sizeable chips on their shoulders.  Is it a case of as Brown goes, so do the Penguins?

“Yes, that is true”, remarked Boldon. “Last year, Brandi shot the ball 150 to 200 times more than anybody else.  I don’t know if it will be that drastic this year, but she is going to shoot the ball more than anyone else is, Brandi is a really good player.  We need to more consistently provide her help.  It seems that last year when a couple of other players stepped up and had good games, we won.  Brandi is still going to take the last shot, everything will run through her. We still need to improve on scoring when she doesn’t have the ball. She will be a big part of everything until she graduates.”

“We all felt responsible for Brandi not being on the first team last year simply because we underachieved as a team,” Boldon said. “(Being picked to finish 10th) hurt some people’s feelings because they felt like they turned the corner a little bit,” Boldon said. “They thought we should have gotten some more respect from the voters. Whatever fuels us is good for me. There were some people who felt like we weren’t ‘that team’ anymore.”

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The Penguins lost Boki Dimitrov to graduation.  Makala Gasparek and Maryum Jenkins will not be playing this year either.  Enter a new group of players, to be custom-molded by Boldon and tidy up a slick spread-motion system. Newcomers Kelsea Fickiesen and Ashley Lawson add some depth at the guard positions.  Junior transfer Devan Matkin further deepens the guard pool.  Second-year guard Melissa Thompson should see more time this season.

Familiar faces to continue the march forward include Kenya Middlebrooks and Liz Hornberger.  Middlebrooks, a senior, and Hornberger, a sophomore, both ranked in the league’s top-10 in three point shooting percentage.   Another sophomore, Monica Touvelle, returns with a wealth of experience, making appearances in all 30 games last season.  Heidi Schlegel could really be a big player for Boldon.  The redshirt freshman played in the first seven games before injuring her foot and missing the remainder of the 2010-11 campaign.

Tiera Jones and Macey Nortey, both seniors, round out Boldon’s active roster.  Jones really came on last year and was very productive when she could stay out of foul trouble.  Nortey is a ball of energy and a vocal presence with a do-what-it-takes attitude.  They should both play a role in the fortunes of this year’s campaign.

“We want to continue to improve on what we did last year”, said Boldon. “The new people we brought in are good shooters and we spent time this offseason working with the players who are returning, and as a result, they have become better shooters as well.  It is a collective movement.”

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“There are still a multitude of things that we can teach the players”, said Boldon.  “However, it has been easier this season because the system base was already installed, so we are at a higher starting point.  Our returning players do not know it all, but the turnaround time with them will be quicker this season.  It is more about refreshing them than starting from scratch.”

Boldon’s team opens the season on Friday night at West Virginia.  They then travel to IPFW and Bucknell before returning home for the 2011 home opener against American University on November 21.  This team will not compete for an outright championship this season, however, I would be surprised if they did not win at least 13 games. This year will be more about being competitive and winning games they should win.  With the lack of respect shown by that grand voting panel of Horizon League Wizardry, that means they will finish about 2-28…  I say 14-16.  Hopefully better.

Boldon outlined his short and long-term goals.

“Long term, you start to think about the Horizon League Tournament.  You want to try to get yourself into a favorable position, out of that seven, eight, nine, or ten slot.  We would love to be in a position to host a home game in the tournament.  Short term, we failed to build off of our successes when we had them last year.  We had a little success and got so happy with ourselves that we did not get better.”

YSU Women Picked To Finish 10th of 10 In Horizon League

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The Youngstown State women’s basketball team was recently picked to finish last in their conference.  In an oxymoron-type move, Brandi Brown was voted Horizon League Preseason Player of The Year.  Do the people that vote fail to realize that the best player, of their choosing, is on the team they picked to finish last?

If I were Bob Boldon, second year head coach, I would relish being picked last.  It opens the door for a lot of putting the stick in the mud at season’s end.  Granted, this years women’s team may not be cutting down any nets, but they will win at least 12 games.  Even if they only win ten and my prediction is wrong, it is marked improvement from where the program was when Boldon and staff came to town.

Warning Horizon League readers outside of the Youngstown area… Take this team lightly and you will lose to them this year.  Boki Dimitrov is gone, but all of the others are back, and then some.  I will do a full women’s basketball preview piece this weekend, but for now, write my fearless prediction of 12 wins down somewhere, if you lose it, I will remind you in February.

Fresh off its Sweet 16 run last season, Green Bay was chosen as the preseason favorite in the team poll. The Phoenix received 29 out of 30 first-place votes for 299 points, and Cleveland State was a distant second with 238 points. Wright State, Butler, UIC and Milwaukee all finished within 35 points for the third through sixth spots. Detroit was picked to finish seventh by a sizeable margin, and Loyola, Valparaiso and Youngstown State rounded out the bottom three. The Penguins defeated Valpo in both meetings last season and came within a bucket of forcing overtime at Loyola in the opening round of the Horizon League Tournament.

Head coaches, sports information directors and select media members voted in the poll.

The last Penguin to earn conference player-of-the-year honors was Brianne Kenneally in 1999-2000 while YSU was competing in the Mid-Continent Conference. YSU’s last first-team all-league performer was Jen Perugini in 2004-05.

Youngstown State begins the 2011-12 season at West Virginia on Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

2011-12 Preseason Poll

(First Place Votes)

  1. Green Bay (29) – 299
  2. Cleveland State – 238
  3. Wright State – 212
  4. Butler – 197
  5. UIC – 186
  6. Milwaukee – 177
  7. Detroit (1) – 141
  8. Loyola – 88
  9. Valparaiso – 64
  10. Youngstown State – 48

Player of the Year: Brandi Brown, Youngstown State

All-League Team

First Team
Brandi Brown, F, Youngstown State
Julie Wojta, G/F, Green Bay
Molly Fox, F, Wright State
Shalonda Winton, F, Cleveland State
Jasmine Bailey, G/F, UIC

Second Team

Angela Rodriguez, G, Milwaukee
Yar Shayok, F, Detroit
Shamiea Green, G, UIC
Monica Albano, G, Loyola
Betsy Adams, G, Valparaiso

YSU Women Celebrate Senior Day

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Saturday Bojana “Boki” Dimitrov played her last home game as a Youngstown State Penguin.  The ending was bittersweet for the fiery Serbian because she rolled her ankle, only logged five minutes, and did not score a point in the Penguins victory over Loyola–not quite the way it was planned. Before the game during the shoot around, Dimitrov made her way over to the media table and thanked everyone, just a fraction of the class this kid has.

Penguin Coach Bob Boldon talked about losing his lone senior.  ”She provided a lot of character and perspective.  She lived through a war, an actual war.  So as we complain about gas prices going up and all of our problems, someone who lived through a war keeps things in perspective for us. She genuinely loves to play basketball.  She always played hard and that just carried over because she always practiced hard too which is great for the younger kids to learn from.”

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Brittney Zemko (above) also participated in her last game as a YSU Cheerleader.  Zemko was the lone senior honored of a great cheering squad that is appreciated but seldom written about.  Give credit to these young ladies and men for the hard work and preparation that goes into all of the backflips, pyramids, and chants we often, as fans, take for granted.

Congratulations also go to Vytas Sulskis and Dan Boudler who played in their last games as Penguins.  Sulskis had a fantastic career and did his home country, Lithuania, very proud.  Boudler was a quieter and more reserved guy who did a lot of the dirty work inside during his playing career.  They will both be missed.

Congratulations to all of the seniors on a job well done!

Youngstown State Coasts To 84-65 Win Over Loyola To End Regular Season

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Youngstown State University finished the season on a high note and kept their momentum heading into the Horizon League Tournament as they handled Loyola, 84-65, on Senior Day.  Brandi Brown was sensational in the win, scoring 27 points and grabbing seven rebounds.  This was a physical game, especially the first half, when three players had to leave the contest injured, one being Boki Dimitrov.

Bojana Dimitrov was honored as the lone senior player before the game and had to leave the game when she sprained her ankle with 11:31 left in the first half.  Not the storybook ending anyone would have wished for the bubbly Serbian in her last home game.  Brown caught an inadvertent elbow to the face while contesting a shot and would miss a stretch of just over seven minutes for the Penguins, who proved worthy even without Brown holding a 13-11 lead while she was attended to.  When she came back with what looked like a half-roll of Charmin in her nose (see top picture), Brown made up for lost time.  In the second half, she moved into 18th on the YSU all-time scoring list, quite an accomplishment for just a sophomore.

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Brown impacted the game as soon as she returned scoring  12 and extending her consecutive free throws made streak to 17-17 on a 5-5 first half.  The streak would end at 17 as she missed the first of two charity tosses in the second half.  With 13:25 left in the game, Brown hit a couple more free throws to put YSU comfortably ahead, 52-38.  Monica Albano did her best to keep Loyola in the game when she buried a three with 10:59 left in the game to cut the YSU lead to 54-43.

Kenya Middlebrooks and Liz Hornberger each hit a three to extend the Penguin lead to 66-55 with 5:58 left in the game.  Albano again responded for Loyola hitting another three from the corner to cut the lead to 66-58.  The Penguins stretched their lead to 80-62 on a pair of free throws from Macey Nortey with 1:38 left in the game.

“Our intensity at practice has really kicked up”, said Hornberger after the game.  ”Brandi always shows up and if the rest of the team intensity can stay where it is, we can play with anyone in the league.  We are going into the tournament hot.”

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YSU got big numbers from Brown again as she set a few more records.  Brown finished the game with 27 points and moved into 18th all-time on the scoring list.  She also recorded the fifth highest point total in a season.  Hornberger had a career high in points with 12, all threes, and has given some quality minutes the last few games.  Tieara Jones played a solid game recording 11 rebounds to go with her 11 points.  Monica Touvelle (above) and Kenya Middlebrooks each hit four threes.  For Touvelle, the twelve points was a career-high.  In fact, five Penguins hitting double figures had not happened since 2004.

With the win, Youngstown State nabbed their second in a row to end the regular season and improved to 6-23 and 4-14 in the Horizon League.  The 84 points scored was the highest total for the Penguins offense this season who shot a blazing 53.8% from the floor in the second half.

Loyola got a great effort from Monica Albano who finished the game with 34 points.  The Ramblers dipped to 11-18 and 5-13 in the Horizon League.

Coach Bob Boldon talked about the constant improvement and expectations heading into the league tournament.  ”The way our offense is run, it takes time to pick things up and develop.  We are better than we were last month and this is when you want the team to be playing their best basketball.  It is better to be a bottom team in a tournament and make crazy things happen, than being one of the good teams and having all of the crazy stuff happen to you.”

Competitive Lady Penguins Lose Tough One, 76-71, at Cleveland State

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Cleveland State rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 40 seconds to beat the Youngstown State women’s basketball team 76-71 on Saturday at the Wolstein Center.

YSU’s Brandi Brown scored 28 points, and Tieara Jones had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Shawnita Garland scored 25 points for Cleveland State, including eight in the final minute. Her steal of a short pass and fast-break lay-up with a minute remaining broke a 66-66 tie.  Shalonda Winton added 20 points for the Vikings, who improved to 17-10 overall and moved into a tie for third place in the league standings at 10-6.

Cleveland State held its largest lead of the game at 43-36 with 15:26 left, but Youngstown State scored 16 straight points over the next three minutes to go up 52-43. Boki Dimitrov’s basket then gave the Penguins their largest lead at 63-51 with 7:04 remaining, but Cleveland State went on a 15-1 run to regain the lead on Garland’s bucket with 2:44 left.

Brown’s basket with 2:24 remaining tied the score at 66-66, and neither team scored until Garland’s steal and lay-up with a minute left. Honesty King hit two free throws with 38.2 seconds remaining to put the Vikings up four, but Brown’s old-fashioned three-point play cut the margin to 70-69 with 25.6 ticks left.  Garland made two free throws for the Vikings to put them up 72-69, and Jones missed the tying 3-pointer from the wing with 14 seconds left. Garland made two free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining, and she hit two more with 4.6 seconds on the clock to finish it off.

Jones had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists at halftime, and Kenya Middlebrooks added seven. Winton had 11 at the break to lead all scorers. Brown had just six points at halftime but erupted for 22 in the second period.

Although the Penguins were turned away late for the second straight game against a top-tier team in the Horizon League standings, they showed a big improvement from their first game against the Vikings. Cleveland State beat YSU 86-65 at Beeghly Center when the teams played on Jan. 29. CSU outscored the Penguins 50-12 in the paint and held a 42-25 rebounding edge in that contest. Today, YSU outscored Cleveland State 34-28 in the paint and matched it on the glass with 30 rebounds.

Youngstown State Outlasts Valpo 79-76 Behind Middlebrooks and Brown

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Coming into Saturday’s game against Valparaiso, Youngstown State had only one Horizon League win, a 61-55 victory over the Crusaders in Indiana.  Brandi Brown and Kenya Middlebrooks combined for 51 points in leading the Penguins to the season sweep of Valpo with a 79-76 win.  The Crusaders made it interesting down the stretch, but YSU was able to hold on for the win.

In the first half, Youngstown State never relinquished the lead and had as big of a margin as 14 points.  Brandi Brown, still limping from a knee injury suffered on Thursday, had 19 first half points on 9-10 shooting from the field.  Valpo got 16 first half points from Tabitha Gerardot but YSU would head into the locker room with a 44-34 lead.

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In the second half, Tieara Jones (above) picked up her fourth foul with just over 17 minutes to go forcing Coach Bob Boldon to rest one of his better rebounders.  Kenya Middlebrooks picked up the slack for the Penguins.  Middlebrooks only had five first half points on a three-pointer and a standard two, but exploded for seven threes in the second half.  Middlebrooks had tied the school record once already this season with seven threes earlier, and duplicated the fete again on Saturday.

Youngstown State had a 62-52 lead in the game with 7:11 remaining.  Gerardot was doing all she could to keep Valpo in the game, literally scoring half of her teams 52 points, with 25 of her own to this point.  Valpo cut the lead to 68-62 with 2:42 left when Skyler Gick hit a pair of free throws.  Brown hit a pair of charity tosses on the Penguins next possession to push the lead back to eight.  The Crusaders still had life when Ashley Timmerman hit a three, cutting the lead to just three at 73-70.  Timmerman hit another three to make it 75-73, but Boki Dimitrov hit a runner to increase the margin to 77-73.  Laura Richards hit another three making it a one-point game.  Dimitrov was fouled with 5.5 seconds remaining and hit both shots to give YSU a 79-76 lead.  Timmerman had a look on Valpo’s final possession but could not connect preserving the Penguins 79-76 win.

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With the win, Youngstown State picked up their fourth win overall and second in the conference (both against Valpo).  Brown finished with 28 points and 5 rebounds, her career high in points is 29.  Middlebrooks (above) finished the game with a career-best 23 points, besting her old mark of 22.

Valpo fell to 6-19 (3-10 HL) with the setback.  Gerardot did her part with 25 points for the Crusaders.

After the game, a happy Coach Boldon talked about his team shooting a season best 62% for a half.  ”I’m very pleased with the effort tonight.  Offensively, that was our best first half, by far.  The last five or so games, we have had to play from behind, so it was different tonight in the sense that they were making runs at us with a lead.”

YSU Basketball Profiles: Bojana “Boki” Dimitrov

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Although she is a long way from home, Bojana “Boki” Dimitrov is doing just fine here in the United States.  Dimitrov is a senior who never runs out of spirit on or off of the hardwood floors.  Boki is helping the transition into the new Bob Boldon Era.  She has a passion for life that few student athletes possess and one of the best personalities of anyone I have ever interviewed.  She remembers where she came from, knows where she is at, and envisions where she wants to get to.  I recently interviewed Boki about the losing streak, the new and old coaches, and just why chicken wings are so good to her.

Paneech: How big of a deal is basketball in Serbia where you grew up?

Dimitrov: Oh yeah, it is a big deal.  I started practicing when I was only eleven years old and went to basketball camps when I was away from home, sometimes for months, it was very tough.

Paneech: If you weren’t playing basketball, is there another sport that you might have tried to play?

Dimitrov: Actually, I like tennis.  I am a big tennis fan and there are some very good Serbian tennis players.  Also soccer, I don’t like it all that much, but I am very good at soccer.  I didn’t have any Barbie’s as toys growing up.  My favorite first toy was a soccer ball and after that, I got a basketball.  I don’t remember why, but I dedicated myself to the sport of basketball.

Paneech: How often do you talk with the people back home?

Dimitrov: Everyday.  God bless the internet and Skype because it allows me to communicate with them every single day.  Every Summer I go back for two or three months and last Summer was just the best Summer ever.  This is my last year of college basketball, I would like nothing more than my mom being able to come here for my Senior Night.  That would be great and we are still talking about that.

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Paneech: What are you studying here at Youngstown State and what plans do you have for the future?

Dimitrov: I am majoring in Sociology and will have a minor in Psychology.  Right now I am applying for some grad schools for Clinical Psych where hopefully I can get my Masters and maybe my PHD too.  When I get done I will go home to visit, but I think I will live here.  maybe not in Youngstown, but possibly Cleveland or Pittsburgh.  I am 24 years old and it may not be the most popular decision with my family, but they do support me so much.

Paneech: How does a girl from Serbia end up playing basketball in Youngstown, Ohio?

Dimitrov: I played at a junior college in Oklahoma and a lot of schools were recruiting me.  Last year, Coach Martin and Coach Scott were very consistent in recruiting me and came to watch a few of my games.  They would call every week.  I signed before I even visited the school.  In some ways it was tough because we had a bad year.  I think we are improving this year and I am glad to be a part of that.  I was recruited to Oklahoma, even though I didn’t know what Oklahoma really was (laughs) I ended up there.

Paneech: Being in the U.S. for six years now, what are the major culture changes you deal with?

Dimitrov: The language was a big thing.  I had a tough first year learning all of the proper English.  At first I could understand everything, but couldn’t say anything.  People would talk loud like my IQ was low.  The second thing is that Americans just like to eat and enjoy food way more than European people do — and I don’t have a problem with that.  I eat healthy, but I have to have chicken wings once a week.  Barbecue and garlic wings. Time management is also very different in America.  Over here, time means money and in Europe there isn’t a lot of money, so time means something different.  Sometimes I am still running on Serbian time and am late.  It is not good to be a Division I athlete and be late.

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Paneech: How are you adjusting to a new coach and what kind of coach-player relationship do you have with Coach Boldon?

Dimitrov: When we got a new coach, everything is totally different.  Coach Boldon’s way is totally different than Coach Martin’s ways were last season.  We don’t have a choice, we have to adjust if we want to win.  I’m a senior, but in this regard, I am a freshman too.  I think we are doing a good job and we are getting there.

One Word Answers

Favorite Restaurant: Olive Garden.

Favorite Winter Olympic Sport: Skiing.

Person You Want To Meet : I would like to say a few words to Bill Clinton.

Favorite TV Show: South Park.

Favorite Music: Hard Rock.  Scorpions and Queen.

Animal You Are Most Like: Horse.  I love horses.

Best Cartoon: The Simpsons.

Favorite NBA Team: Oklahoma Thunder.

Best American Holiday: Thanksgiving Day.

Worst Class Ever: (laughs)  Environmental Science.  I didn’t have a good teacher.

Best Class Ever: Social Stratification with Dr. Kiriazis.

YSU Women Fall 66-57 to Detroit At Home

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The Youngstown State Lady Penguins could only get better was the general feeling coming into this season under first-year coach Bob Boldon. Boldon has taken the stance that, “close but no cigar“, means nothing.  The improvement since last season is obvious and the team is much more competitive and focused.  Saturday, the Penguins played Detroit, team that demolished the Lady Penguins twice last year.  The Titans ended up winning by nine, 66-57, competitive and close but no cigar, yet again.

In the first half, Detroit built big leads on two separate occasions with the largest being nine.  Jalesa Jones (top photo) paced the Titans with nine first half points as Detroit  was ahead 31-26 at the break.  Brandi Brown had eight points and four rebounds for YSU in the half.  The story was shooting percentage in the opening half.  Youngstown State shot almost 35% from the field, but the Titans shot 41.4%.

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In the second half, Maryum Jenkins buried a three from the corner with 15:24 left to make it 41-37 in favor of Detroit.  YSU surged even closer when Kenya Middlebrooks hit a three to cut the lead to just one point at 43-42 with 13:01 left in the game.  As the second half rolled along, Detroit gained control of things and had a 55-47 lead with 8:59 to go.

Brown started to heat up and heat a three with 8:04 left to cut the deficit to three points at 55-52.  Tieara Jones fouled out with just over eight minutes to play.  Jones (next picture down) finished with 10 points and seven boards.

Interesting stat of the game, last year the Horizon League chose to award the Newcomer of The Year award to Detroit’s Yar Shayok instead of Youngstown State’s Brandi Brown.  Brown had much better statistics for the season but was passed over when the chalice was awarded.  In their first head-to-head meeting since that award was given, Brown had 18 points and 10 rebounds.  Shayok finished the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

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With Detroit ahead 51-47, Dominique Dixon, who finished with 15 points,  hit a pair of free throws to extend the Titans lead to 63-57. With just under a minute to go, YSU went into auto-foul mode and Detroit converted enough to keep the Penguins at arms-length.  Jones finished the game with 13 and Shayok had 17.  The Titans evened their record at 9-9 and 3-4 in the conference.

Youngstown State was paced by Brown’s double-double (18 points, 10 boards).  Boki Dimitrov chipped in with 11 points.  The Penguins fell to 3-16, and 1-7 in the Horizon League.

After the game, Coach Boldon talked about the loss.  ”Tieara [Jones] played well for us tonight, we really needed her when she fouled out with eight minutes left.  We came out flat in the second half and we are nota good enough team to try to exchange baskets with anyone.”

YSU Women Win First Road Game In Two Years, 61-55, At Valpo

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Sophomore Brandi Brown tied her career high with 29 points and the Youngstown State women’s basketball team made some key free throws down the stretch to beat Valparaiso 61-55 on Thursday night at the Athletics Recreation Center.

The win on the road was the first for the Penguins away from the Beeghly Center since March 8, 2008, which came at UIC. It also snaps a 22-game Horizon League losing streak dating back to a win over the Crusaders at the Beeghly Center on March 7, 2009.

The Penguins are now 3-13 overall and improve to 1-4 in the Horizon League while Valpo drops to 3-13 and 0-4.

Brown was 12-of-19 on the night and also finished with 18 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass. Brown had previously scored 29 points earlier this year against IPFW.

Kenya Middlebrooks finished with 13 points while Boki Dimitrov added 11 in a winning effort. Combined from the free-throw line, those two players were 10-of-12. Valpo’s Betsy Adams was the only Crusader to reach double figures as she finished with 20.

The Penguins came out strong from the opening tap and never trailed in the contest.

Youngstown State came out and took control of the game early scoring 16 of the first 19 points taking a 16-3 lead at the 14:07 mark on a Brown basket.

YSU opened the game scoring the first five points before Valpo got on the scoreboard on a 3-pointer by Adams. But the Guins scored the next 11 points as Brown scored the first five, Dimitrov and Nortey each followed with layups and then Brown capped the run with a jumper.

The Crusaders cut the deficit to 18-15 as the Guins picked up just two points on a Middlebrooks bucket in a 9:06 span.

YSU led 23-17 with 4:23 left following two Middlebrooks free throws and a 3-pointer by Dimitrov. Adams pulled the Crusaders with three on a 3-pointer, but the Guins scored five straight to go back in front by eight. Valpo drained two 3-pointers in the final 2:12 to get within four at the break.

The Guins held on to lead 30-26 at the break. YSU shot 40.7 percent in the first half making 11-of-27 attempts while Valpo shot 37 percent (10-of-27)

In the first 20 minutes, Brown had 14 points and six rebounds while Dimitrov and Middlebrooks each had seven points. The Penguins protected the ball well committing only four turnovers.

In the second half, Valpo cut the deficit to 32-30 in the early going, but six straight YSU points forced the Crusaders to play catchup the rest of the night.

Valpo had crept back to 53-49 with just over two minutes to go, but Brown’s putback of Tieara Jones miss put the Guins up six at the 2:02 mark.

On their next two possessions, the Crusaders missed a shot and threw an errant pass out of bounds.

Dimitrov stepped to the line and drained two free throws with 44.3 seconds left to put YSU ahead 57-49.

Valpo answered with a layup by Skyler Gick with 38.7 ticks left, but was forced to foul. With 35.4 seconds remaining Dimitrov split a pair of free throws, but Valpo’s Rashida Ray missed the front end of a one-and-one and Jones corralled the rebound and dished to Middlebrooks who was fouled.

Middlebrooks drained two free throws with 16.3 seconds left pushing the lead to 60-51. Valpo scored four straight points before Dimitrov split another pair of charity tosses with 4.7 seconds for the final margin.

The Penguins wrap up their Indiana road trip on Saturday afternoon when they visit Butler. Tipoff at Hinkle Fieldhouse is set for 2 p.m. The contest can be heard on 570 WKBN.

#20 Green Bay Gets By Youngstown State, 71-57

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When the YSU women play Green Bay is equal to when the YSU men play Butler.  Green Bay has been the power of the Horizon League the last couple of seasons.  This season, the Phoenix come to Youngstown ranked #20 in the country and Coach Matt Bollant had never lost to a Penguins team.  Conversely, new YSU Coach Bob Boldon had never lost to Green Bay, so something had to give.  Unfortunately for Boldon, his young Penguins took one on the chin while facing a monumental challenge, falling 71-57  to Green Bay.

In the first half, Julie Wojta scored 20, and YSU scored 20.  Unfortunately, the other Green Bay players chipped in 18 additional points and YSU trailed 38-20 at the half.  Wojta (pictured above) was dominant in the paint.  The Phoenix had 22 rebounds (ten offensive) in the opening half, YSU had ten (zero offensive).  Green Bay also scored an impressive 23 points off of 18 YSU turnovers.

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In the second half, Green Bay showed no signs of letting up.  Kayla Tetschlag and Celeste Hoewisch offered an alternative to Wojta with a couple of buckets on consecutive possessions.  The good news for YSU fans was that this team never hung their heads or quit.  YSU cut the lead to 16 with 15:04 left in the game at 47-31 when Boki Dimitrov hit a three.  Maryum Jenkins (below) hit a three with 11:04 left to cut the lead to 13.  Brandi Brown scored her 11th point with 10:19 left to cut Green Bay’s lead to 11 and the Penguins deserve a big pat on the back for showing a lot of heart.

The last three times the Lady Penguins have shot 50% or better , they have lost.  All three of those losses have been to Green Bay.

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Green Bay pushed the lead back out to 15 with 7:03 remaining in the game and never looked back building a 68-47 lead with 4:04 left in the game.

Green Bay improved to 14-1, (3-0 HL) and didn’t have their “A” game but enough to win this one.  Wojta paced the Phoenix with 24 points and seven boards.  Hoewisch also knocked in 18 points.  Green Bay converted 32 Penguin turnovers into 43 points.

Youngstown State (2-12, 0-3 HL) played respectfully.  Tieara Jones finished the game with 12 points, Brandi Brown had 15 points, and Dimitrov 13 to lead YSU.

After the game, Boki Dimitrov addressed why the Penguins lost.  ”It is not acceptable to have 32 turnovers. Things have changed and we have a good leader.  Coach Boldon inspires us to act on his leads. “

Boldon discussed the monster that is Green Bay.  ”They are a great team, very well-coached and what I would want our program to be like someday.  They ran a secondary trap that we have not seen and their girls are very fast and just reload to the ball.  They are the best team that we have played all year and we get to play them again.”