SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will return home for the first time during Horizon League play this week, beginning with a 7:00 p.m. contest against IUPUI on Thursday, January 3. Entering Thursday's contest the Vikings are 5-8 overall this season and own a perfect 2-0 mark in #HLWBB play. IUPUI currently stands at 7-6 overall and 1-1 in league play.
A WIN ON THURSDAY WOULD…
Keep Cleveland State perfect in Horizon League play…Put the Vikings at 3-0 to start #HLWBB play for the first time in five years…Give Cleveland State three straight wins for the first time this year.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/IUPUI SERIES
Thursday's game will be the 10th meeting all-time between the two teams, with Cleveland State owning a 6-3 advantage in the series. Although the Vikings won six of the first seven matchups, IUPUI picked up wins in both meetings last year. When playing in the Wolstein Center, CSU owns a 3-1 record against the Jaguars.
SCOUTING THE JAGUARS
IUPUI enters Thursday's game with a 7-6 record on the year, including a 1-1 mark against Horizon League opponents…Last week, the Jaguars lost an overtime contest against Wright State to begin league play, before picking up a 70-48 win against Northern Kentucky…Earlier this year, IUPUI was picked to finish second in the #HLWBB Preseason Poll, and currently sits fifth in the league standings…Macee Williams leads the league averaging 19.1 points per game, while Holly Hoopingarner ranks eighth with 12.5 ppg…Williams also ranks fourth in rebounding (8.2), making her one of two league players to rank in the top-five in both categories.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings won their second straight #HLWBB contest, picking up a 67-49 victory at Detroit Mercy. Cleveland State was able to hold the advantage for the majority of the contest, led by Jade Ely and Mariah White who combined for 38 points. Nadia Dumas also finished with double-figures, posting a career-high 12 points against the Titans. The Vikings recorded 13 assists on the day and posted 11 steals and four blocked shots.
VIKINGS OFF TO STRONG START IN #HLWBB PLAY
After the first week of Horizon League play, Cleveland State is one of four undefeated teams in the league standings, owning a perfect 2-0 mark against league opponents. This marks the third straight year that the Vikings have started #HLWBB play with back-to-back wins, and now stand at 13-7 in regular season league play over the last two years.
…CLEVELAND STATE TABBED EIGHTH IN PRESEASON POLL
Earlier this season 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.
CROCKETT NAMED #HLWBB FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Earlier this week Savanna Crockett was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week, picking up the honor for the league-leading fourth time this season. Crockett led the Vikings with 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game against Oakland and Detroit Mercy last week, helping the Vikings pick up back-to-back wins to begin league play. This season, Crockett ranks 13th in the Horizon League with 11.8 points per game and sits at the top of the standings with 9.8 rebounds per game.
Through the first 13 games of the 2018-19 season, Savanna Crockett has recorded seven double-doubles, including a 16-point and 12-rebound performance against Oakland in the Horizon League opener. Crockett is one of just 24 players nationwide to have at least seven double-doubles on the year - one of just two freshmen to eclipse the mark - and leads the Horizon League in the category.
VIKINGS WITH THE STEAL
Entering Thursday's game against IUPUI the Vikings lead the Horizon League with 119 total steals on the year, including back-to-back 11-steal performances against Oakland and Detroit Mercy to begin #HLWBB play. As a team, Cleveland State is averaging 9.2 steals per game, while Jade Ely is averaging a team-best 2.6 steals per game to rank first among league players.
ELY RECORDS 20-POINT GAME AGAINST TITANS
Last time out, Jade Ely recorded her second 20-point performance of the year, finishing with a team-high 21 points at Detroit Mercy. Ely went 6-for-10 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw line, recording 31-percent of Cleveland State's offense on the game. After sitting out the final three non-league contests, Ely is averaging 12.0 points per game in league play, while also notching a team-high eight total steals.
VIKINGS STRONG ON OFFENSE
Entering the second week of Horizon League play, Cleveland State stands as one of the best offensive teams in #HLWBB play, leading the league with a .428 field goal percentage and ranking second with 70.2 points per game. For the season, the Vikings have eclipsed the 60-point mark during all but one game, including a duo of 80-point performances against Salem and San Diego. Individually, four Vikings are averaging double-digit points on the year, including the junior duo of Mariah Miller (16.5 ppg) and Jade Ely (15.1 ppg) who both rank in the top-five in the league standings.
WHITE IN THE STARTING LINEUP
After earning a spot in the starting lineup at the start of the 2018-19 campaign, sophomore Mariah White has made the most of her time on the court, averaging 12.2 points and 3.1 assists per game. White, who is one of the most efficient shooters on the team with a .488 field goal percentage, has improved her scoring by more than 10.0 points per game since last year. White is also averaging 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game so far this year.
VIKINGS ON THE DEAN'S LIST
With the 2018 Fall Semester in the books, five Vikings earned a spot on the Cleveland State University Dean's List - Dana DeGraffenreid, Isabella Geraci, Isabelle Gradwell, Rachel Slaney, and Mariah White. This marks the first Dean's List honors for DeGraffenreid, Geraci, Gradwell, and Slaney, while White has earned a spot on the Dean's List every semester of her collegiate career (3).
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 421-124, which includes a Division III National Title during the 2007-08 season at Howard Payne.
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 close out their brief two-game homestand against UIC on Saturday, January 5, hosting the Flames at 1:00 p.m. in the Wolstein Center.