YSU, Barnes add grit with three signings

YOUNGSTOWN — John Barnes and his Youngstown State women’s basketball staff had a goal in mind during this recruiting season.

The long-term goal is the top of the Horizon League.

Wednesday, the Penguins signed three players to help them achieve short- and long-term goals.

First is Gabby Lupardus, a 5-foot-8 guard from Pineville, W. Va., 30 minutes southwest of Beckley, W. Va. Barnes calls her a winner after claiming a state championship in high school and a national title on her AAU team.

The reactions to the game make her a good fit for YSU.

“The biggest thing about her is her IQ for the game and ability to make everyone around her better,” Barnes said.

Next is 6-2 Madison Mallory from Geneva (Ill.) High School, 40 minutes west of Chicago.

She helped the Vikings win a state championship, along with competing in the state’s 3-point contest.

She’ll present matchup problems for other teams, whether it’s a smaller player in the post or a bigger athlete on the perimeter.

“We need to add some size, height,” Barnes said. “Madison is a player who can play on the post and the perimeter. The more things they can do, the tougher they are to guard.”

Taylor Petit, a 5-8 guard from Schofield, Wis. (D.C. Everett High School) was offered a scholarship from Milwaukee.

Barnes was glad Petit was convinced her best fit was at YSU. Petit led her high school team in scoring as a freshman, sophomore or junior. Barnes calls her an athletic, gritty, tough guard.

“She can not only score, but able to defend pretty well and contain some of the fast, athletic players we play,” Barnes said.

These three are indicative of the players the YSU women’s basketball wants to represent Youngstown.

“We want toughness and grinding, grinder players,” Barnes said. “That’s the community we live in. Youngstown is a hard-nosed blue-collar community. They relate to these type of kids. These type of kids thrive here. I think our team will continue to get better and better.

“These three players can help us fight for a conference championship. That’s the ultimate goal, to win a championship, and hopefully win a few games in the NCAA Tournament.”