SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will continue its brief two-game homestand on Saturday, January 5, hosting UIC in a 1:00 p.m. contest. Entering the game, the Vikings stand at 5-9 overall this season and 2-1 in Horizon League play, while the Flames are currently 2-12 on the year, and 0-3 against league opponents.
A WIN ON SATURDAY WOULD…
Put the Vikings back in the win column…Mark Cleveland State's third win out of its last four contests…Give the Vikings a 6-0 record against UIC over the last three seasons.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/UIC SERIES
Saturday's game will mark the 75th meeting between the two teams, with Cleveland State owning a 41-33 advantage in the overall series. The Vikings have won five straight games entering Saturday's contest, and eight of the last nine. When playing in the Wolstein Center, Cleveland State owns a 27-9 record against UIC, and has won 15 straight at home.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
UIC enters Saturday's contest with a 2-12 record on the season, and will be trying for its first league victory, as the Flames stand at 0-3 in #HLWBB play…UIC's two wins this season came against Valparaiso (75-65) and Evansville (62-54)…The Flames are under the direction of first-year head coach Tasha Pointer, and return 11 letterwinners and three starters from last season…Brittany Byrd has been UIC's top offensive threat this season, ranking third among league players averaging 15.8 points per game…With 21 total blocked shots on the year, Jada Nneji ranks second among league players in the category.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings dropped their first #HLWBB contest of the year, falling in a 75-50 decision against IUPUI. Jade Ely (14 points) and Mariah Miller (13) combined for 27 points on the game, while Miller also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and posted three steals. Mariah White tallied a game-high six assists against the Jaguars.
MILLER ON THE OFFENSIVE END
After the first seven weeks of the 2018-19 campaign, junior Mariah Miller continues to lead the Vikings on the offensive end of the floor, ranking second among Horizon League players with 16.2 points per game. Miller, who has tallied double-digit points in all but one game she has played in this season, set a career-high with 22 points against Salem in the season-opener back in November. Miller has also been one of Cleveland State's most efficient shooters from the floor, as she ranks eighth among league players with a .489 field goal percentage (65-for-133).
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 15th in the Horizon League with 11.2 points per game and sits at the top of the standings with 9.4 rebounds per game.
Through the first 14 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 Saturday's game against UIC the Vikings continue to lead the Horizon League with 127 total steals on the year, including 30 steals in the first three #HLWBB games of the year. As a team, Cleveland State is averaging 9.1 steals per game, while Jade Ely is averaging a team-best 2.5 steals per game to rank first among league players.
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 11.8 points and a team-best 3.4 assists per game. White, who is one of the most efficient shooters on the team with a .482 field goal percentage, has improved her scoring by more than 10.0 points per game since last year. White is also averaging 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game so far this year.
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.
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 421-125, 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 return to the road next week, taking their annual trip to Wisconsin to take on Green Bay (Thursday, January 10) and Milwaukee (Saturday, January 12).