By Andrew Zuhosky
Earlier this fall, a team of media members, women’s basketball coaches in the Horizon League and sports information directors made predictions as to the year-end finishes of the teams in the conference. The preseason all-conference honors were handed out as well.
Youngstown State University’s women’s basketball team was selected to finish in fourth place in the conference, tied with the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. Senior forward Heidi Schlegel was named to the Preseason Horizon League All-Conference First Team.
Schlegel averaged 20 points per game last season, over 31.6 minutes per game, bringing her career points per game average to 13.2. While Schlegel is flattered by the honor, she admitted receiving All-Horizon League honors is not something she is concerned with.
“Right now, I’m focused on my team and my teammates,” Schlegel said.
After last season ended, head coach John Barnes sat down with Schlegel to talk about her leadership role.
“I think my role has been to just be the leader and make sure everyone’s doing the right things, working hard and getting in the gym extra,” Schlegel said.
Barnes is proud of Schlegel’s selection to the All-Horizon League team and positively commented on the leadership role she has played.
“It’s a great honor to have her as a senior leader on our team with so many young players; it’s great for them to learn from a player like her,” Barnes said.
Barnes said that Schlegel’s greatest intangible is her work ethic.
“She works extremely hard no matter what she’s trying to improve upon,” he said. “She’s willing to spend the time and effort to get better at it.”
Schlegel scored 18 points along with 14 rebounds in YSU’s 83-61 win versus Niagara University in last Saturday’s regular season opener at the Beeghly Center. Schlegel, whose best shot is her 3-pointer, thinks it is too soon to accurately predict where the basketball team will finish in the league standings.
“I think that we were picked to tie for fourth place because we have a lot of freshmen, and I don’t think anybody really knows how our team is going to come together,” she said. “I think that we can definitely have a shot at being number one or two in the league.”
Schlegel also assured that the team’s seven freshman are working hard and could make contributions during this basketball season.
“I think that all of the girls have worked really hard, and they all deserve some playing time,” she said.
Schlegel and the Penguins will be back in action Nov. 18 at Kent State University. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.