Great utility player, Olson hits the boards for Penguins

YOUNGSTOWN — Chelsea Olson is more than the leading rebounder of the Youngstown State women’s basketball team, averaging about seven per game. She also leads the team — and the entire Horizon League — in assists and defensive rebounds.

“Anything that is going to help us win,” said Olson, whose third-seeded team plays second-seeded Green Bay (21-8) in a Horizon League semifinal Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“I have to go out there and rebound and maybe not score as much, I’ll do that. If I have to assist and obviously score and look for my shot, too. Really anything that helps our team win.”

YSU coach John Barnes, whose team is 22-8, needs to see Olson take a leadership role in Monday’s game against Green Bay.

“She’s got to be a great leader, continue to do the things she has done to get us to this point,” Barnes said. “It’s going to take a full-team effort. Chelsea is going to have to play well along with the other four starters and all the players off the bench.

“For the next two games we’re going to have to go on a hot streak and find a way to win. Hopefully we’re going to cut down nets.”

Olson, a 5-foot-9 sophomore from Wisconsin, has been one of YSU’s backcourt players this season, going from her role on the wing where she played her freshman year.

It’s taken her a while to get used to that scene, but senior guard Melinda Trimmer has helped her in that process.

“I’ve been a lot more comfortable back there,” Olson said. “Mel comes in and helps a lot and we can share that responsibility and carry the ball up the floor.”

The Penguins are the third-best rebounding team in the league, outrebounding their opponents by seven a game. YSU averages 39.2 rebounds per game, better than years past.

“All of us want to rebound,” Olson said. “That’s always been our Achilles’ heel in the past. Teams have outrebounded us in the past. All of us want to go out and get those rebounds.”