YSU women still learning how to win

YOUNGSTOWN – The Youngstown State women’s basketball team is well aware of the problem.

Now, all the team has to do is find a solution.

The Penguins (10-4, 0-1 Horizon League) were upset at Valparaiso as the Crusaders rallied from a 15-point deficit to hand YSU a 67-59 loss in Saturday’s league opener for both teams.

“I think the whole program was disappointed with what happened,” YSU coach Bob Boldon said. “You can only dwell on that for so long because you’ve got to play games this week as well. We have to get over it. We have to learn from it and be ready to play on Thursday.”

Penguins have a two-game homestand against Milwaukee (4-9, 0-1) on Thursday and league-leading Green Bay (12-2, 2-0) on Saturday. Both games start at 7:05.

Boldon said after Saturday’s loss that if YSU put forth an effort like that again, the Penguins would be 0-3 in the league.

“I’m very honest with you guys,” Boldon said. “That was 100 percent true. If we give that effort, we will lose again. Quite frankly, we won’t win a game all year if that’s the way we play. That’s part of the disappointment that happened Saturday.”

The team’s rebounding and energy levels weren’t the same for a team that won 10 games heading into the Valparaiso contest.

“Unfortunately, a week of practice and we weren’t able to get that fixed,” said Boldon, whose team is currently being outrebounded by an average of two every game. “That’s what the most frustrating part is for me is not being able to find a way to get that fixed for our game on Saturday. We’ll try different things this week to make sure we’ll get a better effort.”

YSU, earlier in the season, had a problem with slow starts. The past three games, including Valparaiso, it was a matter of finishing the game.

“It’s part of the learning process,” Boldon said. “This process of trying to learn how to win and try to be good isn’t always pleasant. That was certainly unpleasant, but we’ve got to figure out how to deal with.”

YSU senior forward Brandi Brown, who averages 20 points and 11 rebounds per game, said it comes down to a matter of responsibility.

“It comes down to everyone individually taking pride in what we do, pride in playing defense, wanting to have the desire to beat teams, not wanting to lose this past week like we did at Valpo,” she said.

Things snowballed from a 34-19 lead to a 21-2 Valparaiso run.

“When you’re on the court, you think, ‘OK, you give up two points,'” Brown said. “It’s the progression that two points turns into four points. Everything is not where it needs to be. It takes all of us not letting it get to that point and nip things in the bud as soon as it happens, not letting things go. I think we all sense it and I think we all have to step up and change it and take some sort of ownership that we don’t want to let that happen.”

The Penguins hope to rectify their problems this week.

“The good news is Saturday doesn’t define us,” Boldon said. “There’s more than one league game this year. They’re going to let us play 16 of them. If we can learn from that loss and we can do better, than it’s worth it, I guess.”