Brown, YSU turn tables on Loyola

YOUNGSTOWN – Three years ago, Brandi Brown experienced more than her fair share of lopsided results on the losing end.

When Brown was a freshman, the Penguins lost seven games by 30 or more points during a 0-30 season. Having paid her dues then, the senior found Saturday’s result all the more sweeter.

The Penguins thrashed Loyola at the Beeghly Center, 75-38, to record the team’s second-straight win.

“These were the type of losses that I went through (my freshman) year,” Brown said. “I’m happy to be on the other side. I realize why we’re on that side – it’s because we’re working hard and because we’re all focused and we want it.

“It’s a good change.”

It was a dominant performance by Youngstown State (13-5, 3-2 Horizon League), as the team led from start to finish.

The Penguins started off the game on a 22-2 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Brown and Liz Hornberger in the first minute-and-a-half. The rout was on before the Ramblers (6-12, 1-4) knew what hit them.

“I think this is the most complete league game that we’ve played since I’ve been here,” Penguin coach Bob Bolden said. “Just a nice job on both sides of the floor.”

“We were not consistent on Thursday (against Cleveland State) in our effort and in our intensity,” Brown said. “It was nice to have everyone pay attention and focus and recognize what we did wrong so we could fix it today.”

Despite being up 26 points going into the second half, the Penguins didn’t let up the pressure.

Youngstown State continued to attack the rim and take shots from beyond the arc as late as the 2:12 mark, when Shar’Rae Davis drained a 3. Overall, the Penguins shot 50.9 percent from the field and went 11 of 30 on 3-pointers.

The Penguins ratcheted up on the defensive end as well. Despite struggling from the field in the first half, Loyola did much worse in the second half, recording a shooting percentage of 23.3 percent.

Overall, the Ramblers went 29.1 percent from the field, including 2-of-12 mark on 3s.

“I’ve been on their case about not being very tough, and it showed a lot of toughness to not letdown,” Bolden said. “When you’re up a lot at halftime and you come out and give the same effort in the second half and hold a team to 19 in both halves when you could have just packed in and mailed in the second half… I was real happy with the consistency of our effort.”

Brown, who recorded her 13th double-double of the season with a game-high 24 points and 16 rebounds, wasn’t the only player to make her mark on the offensive end.

Monica Touvelle drained four 3-pointers, which were her only field goals of the night, and Heidi Schlegel added 10 points.

“Brandi is our best player – there’s no doubt about it – but we’ve always been about sharing the ball,” Bolden said. “Tonight, Monica (Touvelle) got some good looks, Heidi (Schlegel) did a nice job of moving without the ball and got herself some easy buckets. I thought across the board offensively, we did a pretty nice job.”

On top of leading the Penguins in scoring, Brown broke the Youngstown State record for most free throws made in a career, totaling 548 with her three made free throws in the game.

Brown said while it’s nice to own a record, she’s still looking at the five shots from the charity stripe that missed against Loyola more than getting the record.

“I think that breaking the record is cool, and I think that I can always do things to get better,” Brown said. “Like missing those free throws, I should have made those.”