Posts Tagged ‘Brandi Brown’

Boldon Will Leave YSU For Ohio University


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!


YSU Wins NIT Opener, 63-51, Over Indiana State


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.

YSU Women To Host NIT Game Against Indiana State Thursday


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.

One Woman Wrecking Crew: Brown Leads YSU Through Round One


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.

Dear Horizon League, Don’t Screw This One Up


Dear Horizon League,

Congratulations on becoming a strong basketball conference.  You have teams like Green Bay who are ranked and seem to win a title every year.  You also have teams like Youngstown State University that you just don’t seem to know what to do with.  This season, you missed the mark just a hair, picking the Lady Penguins to finish eighth.  Good one.

I screwed up and felt horrible for only picking them to win 18 games this season.

This wasn’t your first big miss though.  in 2009, you selected Detroit’s Yar Shayok as the Horizon League Newcomer of The Year instead of Brandi Brown.  Despite Brown being ahead in virtually every category, you opted for the player from the team with more wins.  Didn’t know that was an award that went to the best new player on the team with the best record.  My bad.

I didn’t think you could do any worse, but I was wrong.  The very next season, Brown scored 597 points and led the league with a 19.9 average.  She ranked fourth in rebounding with an average of 9.2 rebounds per game.  She even led the league in double-doubles that year with 13.  She had to be a shoe-in for First Team Horizon League Postseason Honors, possibly even Player of The Year.  Your voting system failed once again as Brown got only second team.  My stomach hurts.

So here it is powers that be…

Brown finished her career with over 2,000 points.  She was only the second Penguin to ever do that.  She also finished her career as Youngstown State’s all-time leading rebounder.  She was your Player of The Week three weeks in a row.  She deserves to be your Player of The Year.  Please don’t embarrass the league and bypass Brandi Brown for an award she deserves again.



P.S.  Coach Boldon deserves some hardware too…  just saying. 

Brandi Brown Threepeats As Horizon League Player Of The Week


She has been doing it since she was a freshman at Youngstown State.  She has dominated statistics of all varieties from an individual level.  Brandi Brown has collected her third Horizon League Player of The Week award this season, and she would be the first one to tell you that the award means nothing unless her team is winning.

Brown and her Penguin teammates defeated Cleveland State and Loyola last week.  In the two wins, the senior averaged 26 points and 16.5 rebounds.

Brown had 28 points and 17 rebounds in YSU’s 72-63 win at Cleveland State, YSU’s first victory at the Wolstein Center since 2006. Brown then had 24 points and 16 rebounds in just 28 minutes as Youngstown State beat Loyola 75-38 for its largest margin of victory in a Horizon League game. Brown shot 50 percent from the field in the two games and broke YSU’s career records for free throw makes and free throw attempts.

Brown was also named the Horizon League and High-Major Player of the Week by The High-Major division includes teams from the Atlantic 10, the CAA, Conference USA, the Horizon League, the MAC, the Missouri Valley, the Mountain West, the WAC and the West Coast conferences.

Brown and the Penguins will play at UIC on Thursday and at Wright State on Sunday this week.

YSU Lady Penguins Now 7-2 After 83-52 Thrashing Of Wilmington


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.

YSU Women Nab One-Point Thriller At IUPUI


The Youngstown State women’s basketball team battled through 37 turnovers by shooting 50 percent and held on to beat IUPUI 58-57 on Monday evening at The Jungle.

Brandi Brown scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and her 11th bucket of the night gave the Penguins their 58-57 lead with 1:27 left. That was the game’s final score, but there was plenty of drama in the final 87 seconds.

Kerah Nelson missed two free throws for IUPUI with 29 seconds left, but the Jaguars got the offensive rebound. Heidi Schlegel forced a tie-up to give YSU possession, but Schlegel missed the front end of a one-and-one with 13 seconds remaining. IUPUI called timeout to draw up a play for Nelson, but the fifth-year senior missed the go-ahead attempt in traffic.

Liz Hornberger scored all of her 11 points in the first half, including eight in just over two minutes. She played all 40 minutes. Schlegel added 11 points off the bench in 28 minutes. Brown was 11-for-16 from the field, and YSU made 23-of-46 from the field. The Penguins were an efficient 6-for-11 from 3-point range.

The Penguins are 6-1 for the first time since the 1997-98 season and improved to 4-1 on the road.

YSU out-rebounded the Jaguars 47-22, which helped offset the Penguins’ turnovers.  Still, the Jaguars attempted 17 more field goals and six more free throws than the Penguins. YSU was averaging 14.8 turnovers per game and had a high of 19 through the first six games.

Youngstown State will remain on the road to play at Cincinnati on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 570 WKBN.

YSU Women Now 5-1 After Impressive Performance


Youngstown State University took advantage of a great defensive effort and got more than enough offense in a 76-43 win over Stony Brook.  The win gives the Lady Penguins five in the month of November, only the second time that has been done in school history.  It was also the largest margin of victory since the ’06-07 Penguins campaign.

In the first half, no Penguin had double digits in the points department, but YSU had six players with at least three points.  Brandi Brown had nine to lead the way.  Karen Flagg was a force on the boards with six first half rebounds, four were on offense.

Defensively, the Penguins forced Stony Brook into shooting less than 35% in the first half.  YSU was also able to convert ten turnovers into 13 points and the Penguins held a comfortable 33-24 lead.


in the second half, the Lady Penguins exploded out of the gate with a 9-0 run to push the lead to 42-24.  Liz Hornberger hit her fourth three-point basket of the game to encapsulate the nine point outburst that covered just the first minute-and-a-half of the second stanza.

“Nobody practices shooting more than Liz and Brandi during our practice weeks”, said Boldon.  “It is encouraging to see those two team leaders also step out and take charges.  They have been fantastic vocal leaders whether they go 5-10 or 0-10.”

The Penguins (5-1) pushed the lead to 22 with 11:02 left in the game when Heidi Schlegel hit a pair of free throws.  Brandi Brown made it a 62-36 lead with exactly eight minutes left when she went the length of the court and made a nice layup while contested by to Stony Brook defenders.

As good as YSU looked, Coach Boldon will surely find something that he feels the team needs to improve on, it is the approach he has to coaching.  One thing this YSU team will not be is complacent.


The Penguins got 15 from Hornberger who finished the game 5-9 from three-point land.  Brown played solid, again, contributing 13 points, four rebounds, and being a force on both sides of the court. Karen Flagg (above) played like a mini Brandi Brown as she snared eight rebounds and had nine points.  Schlegel tacked on 14 more points for the potent Penguins offense.

“I’m angry that we are 5-1, we should be 6-0”, said Hornberger.  “We are celebrating winning the rebounding edge 34-33, it doesn’t happen as much as we would like.”

Stony Brook’s leading scorer was Jessica Previlon who knocked in 13 points.  This team was not chopped liver.  They entered the game with three wins in their last four contests.

YSU heads to the road for games with IUPUI and Cincinnati next week.

Why Women’s Basketball At YSU Is Fun Again


The transformation that Bob Boldon and his staff have made in three years is beyond comprehension.  Boldon took over a team that went 0-30 the year before he took over and has gradually built a powerful program comprised of mostly undersized sharpshooters who now have the right mindset and work ethic to compile a winning season.

Leading the path for this years Lady Penguins team is Brandi Brown, one last time. Brown will break more records during the season before departing, but she has proven in the past few seasons that she would trade every individual accolade she ever received for her teams success.

Having that weapon one last time, does Boldon feel a sense of urgency to win this season?

“You try to win as many games as you can every year and it is a process”, said Boldon. “There may be a sense of urgency in Brandi.  She is definitely playing the best basketball I have ever seen her play.  She will definitely be missed, and it is exciting to coach somebody that talented who is working as hard as she is right now.”


Paneech:  Now in your third season, where do you feel you have taken this program?

Boldon:  Offensively, we are significantly better than we were at this time two years ago. You can assume that we will score some points, but the question is, can we play good enough defense to win some games?  That was our point of emphasis all Summer.  I think we are in a situation now that we are taking defense as seriously now, as we took offense in the past.

Paneech:  Is it realistic to assume this team should win 15 to 20 games this season?

Boldon:  I have never sat down with our staff and projected how many games we could win.  We try to win every game.  Now, we probably wont go undefeated this year, but by saying you will win 15 games, you are also assuming that you will lose 15 games.  I can’t prepare our kids properly if I think it is a game that we can’t win.

Paneech:  All kinds of new faces here this year, as well as some faces that are no longer around.  Discuss the turnover within your program.

Boldon:  The new kids have brought a plethora of new things.  We got a little bit quicker, a little bit taller, and a little bit more basketball savvy.  I think we became a better basketball team, which was the goal when we were recruiting.  We had gaps to fill, and I think we did a good job filling them.  Once everything gels and the new kids start to learn everything that we are teaching, they will blend with the veterans we have who already understand the system.  The new kids are very athletic and have added a fun dimension to our practices.


Paneech:  What is the strength of this team and what needs developed?

Boldon:  Our biggest strength is Brandi.  You get a player who can score, rebound, pass the ball, and play defense.  She epitomizes what we are trying to do.  Those things I mentioned  are things we are working on with everybody and every practice – to make them better shooters and passers, and to play better defense and get rebounds.  I would be doing someone who is shooting pretty good a huge disservice if I said ‘that is good enough’.  43% from three isn’t good enough, we have to try to get to 45, or 47, or 52.  Constantly raise the bar.

Paneech:  So, at this level, no matter how good something is, you convince your players that it could be better?

Boldon:  Absolutely.  That is how we do it.  We meet weekly and talk about player development as a staff.  Monica (Touvelle) shot 69 out of 75 from the three-point line at practice the other day.  It doesn’t leave a lot of room for improvement, but we will encourage her to strive for 70.  They really want to be challenged and they will fight you sometimes, but you can never get complacent.

Paneech:  The league is tough, how can you keep the team focused throughout the season?

Boldon:  Last year, we played Green Bay as tough as anybody in the conference.  There was a confidence and the returners have done a good job keeping that mentality and keeping that edge.  The new kids are starting to buy into it.  It is never going to be beautiful, but there is a strong level of competitiveness, which to me, is really, really exciting.


Paneech:  With Butler dropping out of the league and the schedule falling to pieces with little time to fix it, how challenging was it to find the games?

Boldon:  It’s difficult for Coach Jackson and I, as we share the making of the schedule responsibilities.  We don’t share that information with the kids until it is the right time, and really, they just want to know what time practice is and what time the bus is leaving.  We have most of next year scheduled already.  For Coach Jackson, it creates headaches to space games.  He did a nice job putting it together.

Paneech:  Two Big East teams and a Big-12 team on the schedule this season.  Two years ago, no shot, but this year can they all be wins?

Boldon:  Two years ago, I think we would have been intimidated.  This year, we are a lot better suited for those types of challenges.  These teams are incredibly more athletic than us, and certainly taller than us.  The taller than us thing is something we have learned to deal with.

Paneech:  What is harder?  Trying not to be embarrassed every game in your first season, or in your third year to win every game?

Boldon:  The first year is worse.  This team is getting really close to being really good.  We are getting more consistent.  We encourage and challenge the kids to work their hardest and to make the people in this city proud to say this is their team.

I think they get it done this season.  Credit Boldon and staff for mandating a system that yields positive results.  I will be opposite the preseason pollsters who picked this team to finish eighth and say these girls will win 20 games.  18 in the regular season and two more in the tournament.  They can shoot and are fearless – a basketball coaches dream.