By JOE CATULLO
With 4:58 remaining in Saturday’s 61-43 loss to Toledo, Brandi Brown was called for an offensive charge, picking up her fifth foul.
She walked off the court for the final time in her Youngstown State University career as the Penguins were eliminated from the WNIT.
Although focusing on the game at hand, teammate Liz Hornberger noticed Brown’s departure while fans headed for the exit.
“I notice every time when Brandi goes out of the game,” Hornberger said. “I think everyone notices when she goes out because that’s just how important she is.
“She just has this sense about her that you know where she is at all times. You have to.”
After shaking hands with the Rockets (29-3) when the game concluded, Brown led her Penguins (23-10) to the team locker room one last time.
YSU coach Bob Boldon walked out of the locker room five minutes later, stepped in front of a camera and talked about Brown one more time.
“Her basketball accolades speak for itself [with] Player of the Year, the points, the rebounds and all of that stuff,” Boldon said. “I’d be wrong if I didn’t mention the type of individual that she is and the type of person that she is.
“That’s what probably she’d be the most proud of, and that’s what I’m most proud of is the type of person she is.”
Brown finished with a team-high 10 points and collected four rebounds during the 18-point defeat.
“I felt bad for her,” Boldon said. “We couldn’t quite get her going. We couldn’t get her space to drive in to, and Toledo is one of the top 10 defensive teams in the country, so you’d expect them to guard her pretty good.”
YSU struggled offensively throughout and tallied five points in the game’s first 13 minutes. The Penguins finished shooting 25 percent from the field and collected multiple offensive charges, leading to 10 points in the paint.
Shar’Rae Davis, who was ill, finished with seven points and fouled out early in the second half.
Though YSU’s season came to an end, Boldon said he couldn’t be happier with how his team went out.
“I think the most impressive thing is we were good for a really long time,” Boldon said. “Our kids showed up after every loss, showed up every day, beat the teams they were supposed to beat, and then a lot of teams people didn’t think we would beat.
“That’s probably what I’m most proud of.”
Hornberger was just as pleased, saying the players were already talking about next season while trying her hold back her tears.
“Melissa [Thompson] was saying ‘You’ve got to remember this feeling. You have to remember this every time you go to work out so when you don’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. and you don’t want to shoot,’ ” Hornberger said.