SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will officially kick off the 2018-19 season this week, hosting Salem at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6. The Vikings will be opening their 46th season of basketball, and their first under head coach Chris Kielsmeier.
A WIN TUESDAY WOULD…
Mark the first win in the Chris Kielsmeier era…Give the Vikings a 7-3 record in season openers over the last 10 years…Put Cleveland State at 1-0 all-time against Salem.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/SALEM SERIES
Tuesday's game will be the first meeting between the two teams.
Cleveland State returns six letterwinners from last season's squad, including the senior duo of Rachel Slaney and Mariana Bautista. This duo is joined by all-league honoree Jade Ely, Mariah Miller, Mariah White, and Anyia Pride to form a veteran core for the upcoming season.
This experienced group will be joined by five true freshmen - Shyla Latone, Savanna Crockett, Isabella Geraci, JaMiya Braxton, and Isabelle Gradwell - along with redshirt freshman Nadia Dumas and sophomore transfer Dana DeGraffenreid.
HEAD COACH CHRIS KIELSMEIER
The Vikings will be under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Kielsmeier during the 2018-19 campaign, as he was named the seventh head coach in program history on April 17, 2018. Kielsmeier joined the Vikings following stints at Wayne State (NE) and Howard Payne, where he became the all-time winningest coach with both programs. Kielsmeier owns a career coaching record of 416-116, which includes a Division III National Title during the 2007-08 season at Howard Payne.
VIKINGS LOOKING TO REPLACE OFFENSE
Cleveland State enters the 2018-19 campaign looking to replace the majority of its offensive firepower, after graduating 75-percent of the offensive production from a year ago. Jade Ely enters her junior campaign as Cleveland State's highest scoring returner, averaging 7.6 points per game last year. Classmate Mariah Miller averaged 5.0 points per game last season, while senior Rachel Slaney enters her final campaign having averaged 3.1 points per game last year.
CLEVELAND STATE TABBED EIGHTH IN PRESEASON POLL
Last month the Vikings were tabbed to finish eighth in the Horizon League Preseason Poll - picking up 99 points. Last season, the Vikings finished sixth in the league standings. Defending champion Green Bay was selected as the preseason favorite by the league's 10 head coaches, sports information directors and media members, while IUPUI, Wright State, Youngstown State, and Milwaukee rounded out the top-five. Northern Kentucky and Oakland were selected sixth and seventh, respectively, while Detroit Mercy and UIC rounded out the poll.
VIKINGS @ THE WOLSTEIN CENTER
Cleveland State will look to continue its winning ways when playing at the Wolstein Center this season, as the Vikings recorded a 10-4 record at home last year - the sixth double-digit win season at home over the last 10 seasons. Overall, Cleveland State will play 14 games at home this season, including Tuesday's season-opener against Salem.
DOUBLE THE FUN
During the 2018-19 season the Cleveland State men's and women's basketball teams will play two doubleheaders, with both of them coming during non-league play. The women's opponents on doubleheader dates will be Toledo (Dec. 5) and Bradley (Dec. 19).
2019 HORIZON LEAGUE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
New for the 2018-19 season, the Horizon League Tournament will feature only the top eight teams, with all eight teams beginning play with a quarterfinal matchup on March 5 or March 6. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the Motor City Madness semifinals, which will be held at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich. on Monday, March 11. The championship game will also be held in Detroit, Mich., and will take place on Tuesday, March 12. Both the men's and women's semifinals and championship games will be held at Little Caesars Arena, and will run concurrently. All games will be carried on the ESPN network.
The Vikings will hit the road for the first time during the 2018-19 season this weekend, traveling to Eastern Michigan on Friday, November 9 and Ball State on Sunday, November 11.