It was an emotional night for Youngstown State University senior Heidi Schlegel. During the postgame press conference the future YSU Hall of Famer had to wipe away tears from her eyes and collect her thoughts.
“I didn’t think I would be emotional, but looking back…a lot of hard work—a lot went into it…just a lot of hard work went into it and I feel like I can be happy with how I went out and how my career was because I knew I gave it my all every day,” Schlegel said. “I know I tried to do everything I could for my teammates.
“Walking off the court—there were a lot of emotions. I can’t believe it’s over, but I’ve been here forever. I guess it’s just a really proud moment, just being able to walk off—it’s not really that proud when you’re losing by 20, but just knowing that I’ve tried to make an impact here and I tried to make an impact in the community here—I’m just really proud of the last five years.”
The Penguins lost to Duquesne University 72-54. With the loss, YSU has been eliminated from the WNIT and the season has come to an end for the women’s team.
Unfortunately, the game was never really close. The Dukes outscored the YSU 21-9 during the first 11:16 of play. The Dukes would take a 38-21 lead into halftime. YSU had a bit more success offensively in the second half, but the deficit was too big for the Penguins to overcome.
“They’re really good; they’re a very good team,” YSU head coach John Barnes said. “They’re one of the last four out of the NCAA tournament. They won 10 of their last 12 games in the Atlantic 10—which is a very tough league. They had the most successful senior class in the history of Duquesne basketball. So obviously they’re good and they showed it today. We got beat by a better team, no question.”
The Dukes shot 50 percent from the field and looked like they could make any shot they wanted. Duquesne forced 14 turnovers that led to 12 points, and only turned the ball over five times.
The Penguins thought the team’s success shooting the three would negate the size of the Dukes, but YSU struggled from behind the 3-point arch—finishing 5-25.
With the season ending, the careers of Schlegel and senior forward Latisha Walker have come to an end. Since Schlegel’s freshman season the program has been in rebuilding mode. The program, which finished 0-30 the year Schlegel signed her letter of intent, has made the WNIT in two of the last three seasons and has drastically improved.
“It’s been huge,” Barnes said. “They both have been great leaders and mentors to these young players. Obviously they were our backbone and helped us get to the semifinals in the Horizon League and get a WNIT birth where I’m sure the freshmen learned a lot from this game and could take into the future.”