By Joe scalzo
A few minutes after the Youngstown State women finished their most lopsided win since joining the Horizon League, senior Brandi Brown was introduced to the media as the school’s new record-holder for made free throws.
“Ugh,” she whispered. “I missed too many.”
It was an insight into what has made Brown one of the best players in the program’s history. Despite scoring 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the Penguins’ 75-38 win over visiting Loyola, she couldn’t shake what didn’t go right — a 3-of-8 performance from the free-throw line.
“I think that breaking the record is cool [but] I think I can always do things to get better,” said Brown, who now holds YSU’s career records for free throw attempts (554) and makes (374). “I should have made those [free throws].”
The Penguins put the game away in the first 10 minutes, jumping out to a 22-2 lead in what head coach Bob Boldon called “the most complete league game since I’ve been here.”
It was YSU’s biggest league victory since Feb. 24, 2000, when the Penguins drubbed Oral Roberts, 77-40, just a few weeks before making the NCAA tournament. YSU’s biggest Horizon League up to this point was 26 points against Wright State in 2002 — its first year in the league.
Brown, who didn’t win a game her freshman year and lost by 59 points to Green Bay less than two years ago, said Saturday’s win shows how far the program has come.
“These are the type of losses that I went through that [first] year,” Brown said. “I’m happy to be on the other side and I realize why we’re on that other side. It’s because we’re working hard and because we’re all focused and because we want it.
“It’s good. It’s a good change.”
Monica Touvelle added 12 points and Heidi Schlegel had 10 for the Penguins (13-5, 3-2), who led by as many as 41 points despite having just seven healthy players.
Boldon said the biggest differences between this year’s team and the one he took over three years ago stem from preparation and belief.
“You go into games expecting to win instead of hoping to win and hoping you can pull something out with maybe some trickery or whatever it might be,” he said. “Our game plans are just very sound and when they [his players] give this kind of effort, they’re very fun to coach.”
Monica Albano led Loyola (6-12, 1-4) with seven points.