CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State women's basketball team officially kicked off the 2018-19 season Tuesday evening, picking up a 113-81 victory against Salem in the first game of the Chris Kielsmeier era.
· Crockett, Slaney, Ely, White, Miller
· Six Vikings finished the game with double-digit points, led by Mariah Miller with 22. Rachel Slaney added 18 points, while Jade Ely chipped in 17, JaMiya Braxton and Mariah White each added 13, and Savanna Crockett recorded 10.
· The Vikings went 46-for-77 from the floor on the night, recording a .597 clip from the field.
· Cleveland State also shot 40-percent from behind-the-arc, recording eight three-pointers.
· The Vikings held a 68-14 advantage in points in the paint, along with a 26-2 lead in fast break points.
· This marked the 11th 100-point game in program history, while the 113 total points marks the second highest single-game total.
· Tuesday's victory marked the first win at Cleveland State for head coach Chris Kielsmeier, who was named the seventh head coach in program history back in April.
· Tuesday's win also marked the seventh time over the last 10 seasons that the Vikings have been victorious in their season-opener.
· All 10 players that saw action against Salem recorded at least one point, while nine of the 10 players grabbed at least one rebound and recorded one or more assist.
· The Vikings posted a .597 clip from the floor Tuesday, marking the second highest single-game shooting percentage in program history.
· Mariah Miller recorded the first double-double of her collegiate career, posting 22 points and 17 rebounds, both of which marked career-highs.
· Rachel Slaney tallied a career-high 18 points on the night, marking just her fourth double-digit game in a Cleveland State uniform.
· Mariah White's 13 total points marked a career-high.
· Jade Ely notched a career-high with her seven assists against Salem.
After a back and forth first quarter, the Vikings were able to distance themselves over the opening minutes of the second frame, gaining a 34-29 lead following back-to-back layups from Jade Ely and Mariah Miller. Despite Salem converting a three-pointer on the next trip down the floor, Cleveland State responded with a 6-0 run that extended the Viking lead to 40-32 at the midway point of the second quarter.
Over the next minute, the Vikings were able to gain a double-digit lead, as Cleveland State gained a 44-34 advantage on a Mariah White layup with 4:20 left on the clock. The Vikings then held the double-digit advantage for the rest of the half, as they went into the halftime break with the 59-46 lead.
Out of the halftime break, both teams traded points over the opening minutes of the frame, until Cleveland State rattled off 11 straight points to gain a 76-52 advantage at the 5:29 mark. A Salem three-pointer snapped the Viking run, but Cleveland State answered with a 9-0 run to gain a 30-point advantage at 85-55 on a Miller jumper with just under three minutes left in the frame. The two teams then traded baskets throughout the final minutes of the quarter, with Cleveland State taking a 91-61 lead into the final 10 minutes of play.
During the fourth quarter the Vikings were able to sustain their sizable advantage, pulling away with the 113-81 victory.
From The Sidelines
Overall thoughts on the game…
"This was a really difficult game plan to put in place, and a difficult team to play in our season opener, but I'm proud of our team's preparation and determination to come away with the win. Overall, I thought we played really well tonight, we have some work to do defensively, but I'm proud of what our players are doing on the court and what we are trying to build with Cleveland State Women's Basketball."
The importance of spreading the offense around…
"This team showed a lot of unselfish play tonight – which is exemplified by the 27 assists that we recorded as a team. We talk all the time about ball movement and making the extra pass, so I'm really happy that we were able to put that into motion tonight. We scored 68 points in the paint, which is something that is difficult to do, and because of our good basketball fundamentals we were able to accomplish that. We did a great job of creating scoring opportunities for ourselves, which paid off in the end."
Main point of emphasis heading into Friday's game at Eastern Michigan…
"Our main focus in practice over the next few days will most definitely be defense. We just aren't defending the way that we are capable of defending out of this zone that we are running, but it's not easy when you have players who have never run this before. So far they have all bought into the system and believe in the system, we just need some more practice reps for things to start falling into place."
Thoughts on the first win as the Cleveland State women's basketball head coach…
"To get this win tonight just feels great. So many people put so much into this first victory, and there are a lot of people that deserve credit for me having this opportunity to coach at Cleveland State. Picking up a win in our season opener is a great feeling for all involved – the players, coaches, support staff, fans – and I'm so happy to share it with everyone. Since we got here, the focus has been on winning this first game, and I'm so proud of the what the team accomplished and the product that the players put out on the court tonight."
Cleveland State 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.