By Brian Yauger
The Youngstown State University women’s basketball team completed their home-court sweep of the Horizon League, taking down the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 67-47.
Defense was the key for YSU as they outrebounded the Panthers 45-28. McKenah Peters led the team bringing down nine boards. Chelsea Olson and Sarah Cash each brought down seven.
“That [rebounding] was one of our keys,” Penguins coach John Barnes said. “We kind of let them get too many offensive boards the first time around. Normally we’re second in the league in rebounding, like three-tenths of a point behind first place in terms of rebounding margin. We knew we had to get back on that track here at home.”
It was a game of record breakers for the Penguins as they set the record for most home wins in a season with 15, and most Horizon League wins in a season with 12.
Alison Smolinski tied the school record for 3-pointers in a season with 89, tying the record set by Nikki Arbanas during the 2015-16 season. Smolinski finished the game with 21 points.
“We had a different mindset today against this team,” Smolinski said. “We kind of got popped in the mouth by them at their place so we wanted to do the same thing back to them today and we did a heck of a job.”
All three seniors got starts for Senior Day. The seniors lit up the scoreboard with Smolinski’s 21. In addition, Cash scored eight and Melinda Trimmer scored 10 points.
Senior Day was made even more special for Trimmer after the game, when her boyfriend, Beau Taylor proposed to her at midcourt, complete with a video and music on the jumbotron.
Moments earlier at the press conference, Trimmer was asked about any memories she had.
“All I can think of right now is beating Green Bay, that was one of our main goals this year,” Trimmer said. “This homestand is one that’s going to go down as one for the books. Just because it’s the last one here for the seniors. Those teams from Wisconsin, they’re pretty good.”
As special as beating Green Bay is, it’s safe to say that this moment was the icing on Trimmer’s future wedding cake.
Green Bay and Milwaukee gave the Penguins trouble earlier in the year, so to take them both down was a notable accomplishment for the team.
It may have been the last home game for the Penguins, but the win gave them at least one more game at Beeghly Center. The win clinched at least fourth place in the Horizon League and with that, a home game in the first round of the tournament.
YSU takes to the road for a three-game swing starting Friday at Northern Kentucky University. With three games left in the regular season for these seniors, they’ve already made their mark, but they still have some unfinished business.
“At the beginning of the summer I told the seniors ‘This season is going to be your legacy that you leave when you go,’,” Barnes said. “They are obviously leaving a heck of a mark on Youngstown State women’s basketball.”