YSU duo earn Horizon League honors
YSU duo earn Horizon League honors
By Greg Gulas
Youngstown State’s Chelsea Olson seems to have a lock on Horizon League Freshman of the Week honors, earning her fourth consecutive award on Monday.
Penguins senior Cameron Morse, who has 1,829 career points and needs just 171 to become just the third men’s player to reach 2,000, enters the week as the reigning conference Player of the Week.
Their teams will need exceptional efforts from both players if they expect to continue their winning ways.
YSU’s men will play host to Oakland (16-10, 8-5 Horizon League) on Wednesday and Detroit Mercy (7-19, 3-10) Friday night while the women put their four-game win streak on the line, first against Wisconsin-Milwaukee (17-8, 8-5) Thursday night and then Saturday afternoon versus the No. 19 ranked UW-Green Bay Phoenix (22-2, 12-1).
Penguins head coach John Barnes not only lauded Olson’s play, adding that the insertion of senior Kelly Wright into the line-up has been impactful during their run.
“Chelsea has really come a long way,” Barnes said. “She just continues to get more confident and continues to figure out the pace of play at this level. She’s not afraid to take the big shot or take over when she needs to. She works hard, listens and executes what the staff has to say.
“What I love about her is that she doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low and just continues to get better. She’s doing a lot of really good things that freshmen don’t do or can’t do. Sometimes freshmen don’t get a chance to get out on the court. Chelsea’s gotten that opportunity and made the most of it.”
YSU enters the week 12-13 overall and 8-6 in the Horizon League, having won six of their last seven contests after starting the campaign 6-12.
They’ve outscored opponents by an average of 13 points during their win streak with Wright a big part of their success.
“Kelly’s been great and played really well on both ends of the floor as the streak has gone on,” Barnes added. “As a senior, she’s very smart out there. She makes some plays that might not show up in the box score, like being in the right position at the right time, getting a steal, a tipped ball or even taking a charge. You cannot say enough about those little things.”
Wright has been appreciative of the added playing time.
“The last four games have been really fun and I’m happy that we could get those wins,” Wright said. “For the rest of the season, I just hope that I can play like I know I can and help the team get as many wins as we can. Once the tournament gets going, anybody can beat anybody. I’m hoping we play well so we can go far.”
When the men take on Oakland on Wednesday, Golden Grizzlies head coach Greg Kampe will be looking to notch his 600th career coaching victory. He’s 599-434 in 34 years, all at Oakland.
Morse said putting an end to their five-game skid on Saturday against IUPUI was important.
“These two home games are crucial because we’re trying to get into the top half of the league standings,” Morse saod. “Being from Michigan, I’m going to have a little chip on my shoulder the next two games.”
Morse averaged 27 points as YSU split its two road games last weekend.
“I’m getting more shots off screens and as we come down in our offense, we just said that we would do more ball screens in transition,” Morse said. “That’s good for me because the defense isn’t set and I am able to find space off those screens. I’m able to get some shots off from ‘three,’ mid-range or even find open teammates.
“If we keep doing stuff like that, then it will be good for us. We really didn’t win on the road this year, but started to figure it out Saturday against IUPUI.”