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YSU has edge at the line

YOUNGSTOWN — The clock is stopped and all eyes are on you.

Breathe. Stop. Shoot. One free throw, followed by another.

That’s what senior guard Melinda Trimmer does each and every time she has a charity toss.

The Youngstown State University women’s basketball player leads what is the best free-throw shooting team in the Horizon League, a team that shoots about 77 percent from the line.

Trimmer is one of the league’s best as she’s shot 52-of-55 from the line this season for 94.5 percent.

That may give the third-seeded Penguins (22-8) an edge as they face second-seeded Green Bay (21-8) today in a Horizon League semifinal at Little Ceasars Arena in Detroit, starting at 3:30 p.m.

Seven of the nine active YSU players shoot better than 70 percent from the stripe.

“We work on them every day,” said Trimmer, who also has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Horizon League. “We know games can come down to free throws. That’s something we pride ourselves on. The moment I stepped on campus here that’s something coach told us to work on. That’s our hard work showing off.”

YSU coach John Barnes, a defensive-minded coach, emphasizes the fundamentals. So it’s no surprise the Penguins are a solid free-throw shooting team.

“It’s extremely important to be a good free-throw shooter and the team, especially, at tournament time,” Barnes said. “A lot of games come down to the wire. Your free-throw shooting can either win those games or possibly lose the game for you. We’re going to continue to do what we do, try to get to the free-throw line as much as possible and knock them down.”

Repetition is important to be a great free-throw shooter. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel from the line.

“I try to go out in each moment the same,” Trimmer said. “I know each free throw is going to help the team. That how I look at it.”

During Wednesday’s Horizon League quarterfinal win against Milwaukee, Trimmer looked out in the crowd and saw plenty of green as the West Branch Warrior girls basketball team came to that game. Trimmer led West Branch to the Division II state tournament when she played for the Warriors.

“That was fun,” Trimmer said. “That was really nice of them to show up. I’m forever grateful for them and that program. Just really nice to see them up in the stands.”

For YSU, it’s nice to see her consistency at the free-throw line.

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