YSU women in first place with win

YOUNGSTOWN – Liz Hornberger hasn’t always been the most confident person. In fact, she admits practices during her first season were as much fun as having the flu.

“I’d get real nervous and think about mistakes,” she said.

That was her freshman year. Now, the 5-foot-7 senior Hornberger is much more relaxed.

Her exuberant play has vaulted the Penguins to first place in the Horizon League after Saturday’s 87-71 victory over Milwaukee. Cleveland State, the only other undefeated team in league play, lost to Green Bay on Saturday.

“This year, every time before games, I tell myself, ‘I’m going to shoot when I’m open. I’m going to drive in the lane and make passes when I’m open.,'” Hornberger said. “Try to do the basic things.

“I think when I try to do too many things, I stress too much.”

It was easy like Sunday morning for her against the Panthers, pardon the Lionel Richie song reference.

Hornberger, who scored nearly 13 points in the first four Horizon League games, had 17 points including 6 of 11 from the field and 5 of 10 from 3-point range for the Penguins (8-9, 4-0 Horizon League).

Heidi Schlegel led YSU with 20 points. Boardman native Monica Touvelle added 14 off the bench and Karen Flagg put in 11.

Ashley Green led Milwaukee (5-11, 1-2) with 25 points, while Angela Rodriguez added 18.

Despite the win and leading 45-37 at halftime, Hornberger is worried about the breakdown of the game’s first-half tape, viewing her team’s defense that gave up 44 percent from the floor. Yes, YSU shot 55 percent in first half and 52 percent for the game.

“That’s going to be a really long film session (today) or Monday,” she said.

The film is going to show a different Hornberger from years past.

“When she’s confident and leading, the team follows,” YSU coach John Barnes said. “We have to keep her playing well. We have to keep her confident and being aggressive.

“For her being such a good shooter and great offensive player, she passes up some shots. We’re keeping her from not passing up any shots and keeping her aggressive.”

If YSU plans to stay on top of the Horizon League, they must remain tenacious. The Penguins have 12 more league games. The next one is next Saturday against Oakland, starting at 4:35 p.m.

“It’s nice to be there, but you want to be there at the end of the season,” Barnes said.