Penguins happy to get back home for holidays
By Joe Scalzo
Here’s a quick update on Bob Boldon’s Christmas shopping.
“Not a single thing bought,” he said.
And Brandi Brown’s?
“Um, none,” she said. “Nothing yet.”
Thanks to playing six of its first eight games on the road, the Youngstown State women’s basketball team hasn’t spent much time inside Beeghly Center — or Southern Park Mall — but that’s about to change.
Starting with today’s game against Wilmington, the Penguins play three home games in December — and just four overall. Wilmington, a Division III school, will be YSU’s last opponent until Dec. 16 as the Penguins (6-2) enter finals week.
“The politically correct thing to say is it’s going to be a tough game, but in reality, it really shouldn’t be a tough game,” Boldon, YSU’s head coach, said of today’s contest. “It’ll be nice to play a home game. Hopefully we can get a lot of kids some minutes and work out some kinks.”
The Penguins, who are off to their best start in 15 years, are learning to deal with success — a relatively new development for Brown, who won just six games — total — in her first two years.
“I think winning gives you confidence but at the same time, you don’t want it to give you too much confidence,” said Brown, who is third in the Horizon League in scoring (20.4 per game) and first in rebounds (12.8). “You don’t want to go into games thinking you’re going to win just because you play them.
“The wins make you feel good that we accomplished something but at the same time, we’re taking it game by game, making sure those wins we had in the past don’t affect how we play in the future.”
YSU went 7-5 in its first two months last year, only to stumble to a 10-20 finish thanks to losing its last nine games. But Boldon has been encouraged by his team’s effort in all but one game (a Nov. 27 loss to Northern Kentucky), and Brown said the team understands why it’s having success.
“We don’t want to think we’re good just because we’re winning,” she said. “We’re winning because we’re doing things the right way. We want to make sure that’s always the main focus.”