By Joe Scalzo
Was Saturday’s loss a speed bump or road block?
The Youngstown State women’s basketball team will find out this week.
The Penguins coughed up a 15-point lead in their Horizon League opener against Valparaiso and now face Milwaukee and Green Bay — two teams that carry 15-game winning streaks against YSU.
“The nature of our business is, that was one game and we’ve got to play two more this week and several more after that,” YSU head coach Bob Boldon said. “I think the whole program was disappointed with what happened, but you can only dwell on it for so long.”
Senior Brandi Brown said the team has struggled to maintain its energy and effort — and not just against Valpo.
“I think it comes down to everyone individually taking pride in what we do,” she said. “Taking pride in playing defense and having a desire to beat teams and not wanting to lose like we did last week against Valpo.”
Tonight’s opponent, Milwaukee, has lost five straight games under first-year coach Kyle Rechlicz but are still dangerous, at least on offense. The Panthers are second in the conference in scoring offense and lead the league in 3-point percentage.
Saturday’s opponent, Green Bay, has been the class of the league for years. That’s no different this season as the Phoenix (12-2) opened league play by drubbing preseason No. 2 Detroit by 31 and preseason No. 3 Wright State by 27.
“They’re the best team in our conference again,” Boldon said of the Phoenix. “It’s getting old.”
YSU came tantalizingly close to beating Green Bay last year — the Penguins blew an 11-point lead in the final minute before losing in overtime — and a win this week could be the start of something big.
“[We’re disappointed] with what happened Saturday [against Valparaiso], but the good news is that Saturday doesn’t define us,” Boldon said. “If we can learn from that loss and do better, it’s worth it.”