Touvelle finding her touch beyond the arc

YOUNGSTOWN – Monica Touvelle thought Saturday’s game was going to be a continuation of her breakout, career-high performance last Thursday against Milwaukee.

She scored 23 points against the Panthers, including five 3-pointers.

Touvelle, a Boardman High School graduate and 5-foot-8 junior Youngstown State University women’s basketball guard, started Saturday’s game with two 3-pointers.

Then, midway through the first half, disaster struck as Touvelle was knocked to the floor.

“I was playing help-side defense,” she said. “I saw the ball being thrown cross court. I turn my head and ran. I hit the girl from Green Bay, face first with my chin and into her shoulder.

“My whole jaw was blocked up and I couldn’t even open my mouth. I was really painful. It was totally an accident. I just ran right into her.”

She came back into the game after sitting out for a bit.

“It’s a little sore, but I’ll be OK,” Touvelle said.

She didn’t want to be out of the game.

“I didn’t want to be taken out of the game,” Touvelle said. “Obviously if I’m hot, I want to stay in.”

Her defense took a little hit, though.

“It affected my communication on defense,” Touvelle said. “It was hard for me to switch.”

YSU’s defense lacked as it lost to the top team in the league – Green Bay, 59-41. YSU (11-5, 1-2 Horizon League) only trailed 24-19 at the break.

“We played a solid first half and had a couple of breakdowns,” Tovelle said. “In the second half, we had a lot of breakdowns. We played 25 minutes of solid basketball where we were focused and had energy. That other 15 minutes was too sloppy. Some teams you can get away with that, but not a great team like Green Bay.”

Tonight, YSU gets a chance for redemption as it travels to Cleveland State (10-7, 2-2). Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

“We know we’re not good enough to play at that level for that period of time,” YSU coach Bob Boldon said. “That was a little bit disappointing, a little bit frustrating. It’s the truth and deal with the truth and move on.

“Our kids put in a good effort this week so far to try to get better. That’s all you can ask as a coach.”

YSU senior forward Brandi Brown, who averages 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, meets her match tonight in Cleveland State’s Shalonda Winton, who puts in 22 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.

“She’s an elite player,” Boldon said. “She could well be the best player in the league. As far as filling up the stat sheet, she’s the best at doing that. She’s the most versatile player we’ll play against this year.”

As for YSU, it has two solid outside shooters in Touvelle and Liz Hornberger, who had a career-best 18 points on 6 of 8 from 3-point range earlier this season against Miami (Ohio).

“Liz is definitely the hardest worker on the team,” Touvelle said. “She puts up more shots than anybody. She sprained an ankle a couple of weeks ago, got some shots up. It feels good when both of us are shooting well. It alieves pressure for Brandi and our other teammates. If I’m not knocking down shots or she isn’t knocking down shots, we give each other energy and encourage each other throughout the game.”

Earlier this season, Touvelle broke a finger on her left hand, her non-shooting hand.

“I was starting to adjust my shot too much,” she said. “I was thinking about it and that’s the last thing you want to do as a shooter, be a mental headcase and think about it constantly.”