SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will close out the first half of Horizon League play Saturday afternoon, making the short trip East to take on Youngstown State at 1:00 p.m. Entering the weekend, the Vikings stand at 7-12 overall this season and 4-4 in #HLWBB play, while YSU owns a 14-5 overall record and a 6-2 mark against league opponents.
A WIN ON SATURDAY WOULD…
Put the Vikings back in the win column…Give Cleveland State a 5-4 record through the first half of #HLWBB play…Snap a three-game losing skid for the Vikings against YSU.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/YOUNGSTOWN STATE SERIES
Saturday's game will be the 72nd meeting between the two teams, with Youngstown State holding a 40-31 advantage in the overall series. YSU has won the last three matchups, but prior to that, the Vikings rattled off four straight wins of their own. When playing in Youngstown, Cleveland State has won just one meeting over the last seven seasons.
SCOUTING THE PENGUINS
Youngstown State enters Saturday's contest with a 14-5 record on the season, including a 6-2 mark in league play…The Penguins are currently tied for third in the league standings, and are one of four league teams with 6+ #HLWBB victories so far this year…As a team, YSU leads the league in scoring margin (+13.3), free throw percentage (.754), assists (15.7), and three-pointers made (8.6), while Allison Smolinski is averaging a league-best 3.4 three-pointers per game and Melinda Trimmer has a league-high 2.9 assist/turnover ratio…YSU has been honored with #HLWBB Player of the Week honors four times so far this season.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings dropped a hard fought contest to then league-leading Wright State, falling to the Raiders by a score of 70-65. Three Vikings finished the game with double-digit points, led by Savanna Crockett who tallied 18 points. Mariah White had one of her most complete games of the year, posting 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
VIKINGS IN #HLWBB PLAY
Cleveland State has gotten off to a strong start in Horizon League play so far this season, owning a 4-4 record heading into Saturday's matchup and sitting among the top half of the teams in the league standings. A win on Saturday would give Cleveland State five wins through the first half of Horizon League play for the fourth time over the last six seasons. Over the last two years, CSU stands at 15-11 in #HLWBB regular season matchups.
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 12.0 points and a team-best 3.5 assists per game. White, who is one of the most efficient shooters on the team with a .451 field goal percentage, has improved her scoring by more than 10.0 points per game since last year. White is also averaging 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game so far this year.
MILLER ON THE OFFENSIVE END
Through 19 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 week, 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 .458 field goal percentage (92-for-201).
#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 Saturday's contest at Youngstown State, Crockett is the top freshman among league players in rebounding (1st overall - 9.2 rpg) and blocked shots (3rd - 1.4 bpg), and is the second rookie in scoring (13th - 11.3 ppg).
…CROCKETT ON THE BOARDS
So far this season, freshman Savanna Crockett has been Cleveland State's leading rebounder, averaging 9.2 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 during the opening weeks of Horizon League play. For the year, Crockett has 174 total rebounds, ranking 39th nationally and second among freshmen.
VIKINGS WITH THE STEAL
Entering Saturday's game against Youngstown State the Vikings continue to lead the Horizon League with 178 total steals on the year, including 81 steals in the first eight #HLWBB games of the year. The Vikings have finished with 10+ steals in six of their first eight league contests, including 13 at Green Bay earlier this year. As a team, the Vikings are averaging 9.4 steals per game this season.
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 423-128, 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 begin the second part of their Horizon League slate at home next week, hosting Detroit Mercy on Thursday, January 31 and Oakland on Saturday, February 2.