SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will continue its current two-game homestand on Sunday, January 20, hosting the Wright State Raiders at 3:00 p.m. Entering Sunday's game the Vikings stand at 7-11 overall this season and 4-3 in #HLWBB play following their win over Northern Kentucky last time out. WSU enters Sunday's matchup with a 13-5 overall mark, including a 5-1 record against league opponents.
A WIN ON SUNDAY WOULD…
Give the Vikings back-to-back wins for the third time this season…Mark Cleveland State's third straight win at home…Put the Vikings at 3-2 over the last five games.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/WRIGHT STATE SERIES
Sunday's game will be the 74th meeting between the two teams, with Cleveland State owning the slight 37-36 advantage in the all-time series. Although Wright State was victorious in the most recent matchup (83-61 @ HL Second Round), the Vikings have won two out of the last three meetings. When playing in the Wolstein Center, Cleveland State owns a 20-13 advantage.
SCOUTING THE RAIDERS
Wright State enters Sunday's contest with a 13-5 overall record - tied for the best overall record among league teams - and is tied for first in the league standings with a 5-1 record in #HLWBB contests…After winning their first five league games, the Raiders fell at YSU last time out (83-68), marking their first loss in over four weeks…Entering the weekend, Wright State leads the league in scoring offense, averaging 71.7 points per game, while Michal Miller ranks seventh individually with 13.7 ppg…WSU also leads the league on the boards (42.9 rpg), with Symone Simmons tied for second averaging 8.0 rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings got back in the win column with a 76-47 victory over Northern Kentucky, snapping a two-game losing skid. Four Vikings finished the game with double-digit points, including Mariah Miller who posted a team-high 21 points. The Vikings recorded 15 assists and 11 steals as a team, while they posted a .500 clip from the floor (29-for-58).
VIKINGS IN #HLWBB PLAY
Cleveland State has gotten off to a strong start in Horizon League play so far this season, owning a 4-3 record heading into Sunday's matchup and sitting among the top half of the teams in the league standings. This marks the fifth time out of the last six seasons that the Vikings have picked up at least four wins during their opening seven-game stretch, and currently stand at 15-10 in #HLWBB matchups over the last two years.
VIKINGS SPREADING THE OFFENSE
Last time out, Cleveland State recorded 15 assists on 29 made field goals, with eight different Vikings posting at least one assist during the game. For the season, the Vikings are averaging 12.2 helpers per game, while Mariah White ranks fifth individually among league players with 3.4 assists per contest. Against the Norse, White tallied a game-high five assists, marking her eighth straight game with three or more helpers.
…MILLER ON THE OFFENSIVE END
Through 18 games this season, junior Mariah Miller leads the Vikings offensively, ranking second among league players averaging 16.1 points per game. Miller, who has recorded double-digit points in all but one game she has played in this year, recorded her third 20-point performance of the year last time out, posting a game-high 21 points against NKU. Miller, who is one of just two league players to average 16.0+ points per game, has also been one of Cleveland State's most efficient shooters from the floor this season, ranking 9th among league players with a .476 field goal percentage (89-for-187).
#HLWBB FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS
So far this season, Savanna Crockett has been named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week four times, a mark that leads all league players. Crockett's four league weekly honors are the most for a Viking since the 2015-16 campaign when redshirt freshman Ashanti Abshaw picked up six #HLWBB Freshman of the Week accolades. Entering Sunday's contest against Wright State, Crockett is the top freshman among league players in rebounding (1st overall - 9.4 rpg) and blocked shots (3rd - 1.4 bpg), and is the second rookie in scoring (15th - 10.9 ppg).
…CROCKETT ON THE BOARDS
So far this season, freshman Savanna Crockett has been Cleveland State's leading rebounder, averaging 9.4 boards per game to also lead the Horizon League in the category. Crockett has recorded nine double-digit rebound games this season, including a career-high 15 boards against UIC earlier this season. For the year, Crockett has 169 total rebounds, ranking 31st nationally and second among freshmen.
VIKINGS WITH THE STEAL
Entering Sunday's game against Wright State the Vikings continue to lead the Horizon League with 172 total steals on the year, including 75 steals in the first seven #HLWBB games of the year. The Vikings have finished with 10+ steals in six of their first seven league contests, including 11 against Northern Kentucky last time out. As a team, the Vikings are averaging 9.6 steals per game this season.
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 .449 field goal percentage, has improved her scoring by more than 10.0 points per game since last year. White is also averaging 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 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 423-127, 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 the first half of #HLWBB play on the road next weekend, traveling to Youngstown State for a 1:00 p.m. contest on Saturday, January 26.