CLEVELAND, Ohio – For the first time this season the Cleveland State women's basketball team has won three straight games, picking up a 72-65 victory over Valparaiso in their final home contest of the 2015-16 season on Monday night. With the win, the Vikings improve to 8-18 overall this season and 5-11 in Horizon League action.
· Ashanti Abshaw and Olivia Voskuhl led the Viking offense, Abshaw with 26 points and Voskuhl with 14 points.
· Khayla Livingston was just shy of posting double-digits, finishing with nine points on a trio of three-pointers.
· Ashanti Abshaw led Cleveland State's rebounding efforts, grabbing 13 boards, while Shadae Bosley notched six rebounds – all on the offensive end.
· As a team, the Vikings posted 22 assists on 27 made field goals, with a team-high seven from Khayla Livingston.
· Brooke Smith notched a team-best three steals on the game.
· Cleveland State shot 42-percent from the floor, including a .471 clip during the first half.
· Ashanti Abshaw notched her ninth double-double of the season, with a career-high 26 points and 13 rebounds.
· Khayla Livingston tallied a career-high with her seven assists.
· Cleveland State recorded 29 points during the opening quarter, the highest first quarter point total for the Vikings this season and the sixth time that they have eclipsed 20 points during the first 10 minutes.
· The 22 assists marked a season-high for the Vikings.
· Cleveland State closed out the month of February with a 4-3 record.
Although Valparaiso was able to get on the board just three seconds into the contest, Cleveland State was able to rebound quickly, bouncing back with a 13-0 run that gave the Vikings a double-digit lead just 2:14 into the game. With an Ashanti Abshaw three-pointer, the third three-pointer for the Vikings out of a four-basket stretch, Cleveland State opened up a 13-3 advantage, an advantage that they would hold for the remainder of the contest.
The Vikings were able to hold a double-digit lead during the majority of the first frame, even getting out to a 19-point lead at the 29-10 mark following a Shadae Bosley jumper with 1:11 left on the clock.
The second quarter was a different story though, as Valparaiso outscored Cleveland State 22-14, working their way back into the contest. Heading into the halftime break, the Vikings held an eight-point lead at 43-35.
Valparaiso once again got on the board quickly during the start of the second half, as the Crusaders closed the gap to just four points 1:18 into the frame. The Vikings responded with an 8-2 run that included a pair of Abshaw three-pointers to put Cleveland State back up by double-digits at 51-41 with 5:13 left in the frame. The two teams then traded baskets over the last part of the third quarter, giving Cleveland State a 58-50 lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
During the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, Valparaiso worked its way back into the contest, going on a 12-5 run during this stretch to come within just one point at 63-62. The Vikings were able to extend their lead back to five points with a jumper from Brooke Smith and a layup from Ashanti Abshaw over the next 1:26, but a Valparaiso three-pointer on the next possession put the score back to 67-65 with just 2:36 left to play.
That would be as close as the Crusaders would get though, as the Vikings posted the last five points of the contest on a Khayla Livingston three-pointer and a pair of Abshaw free throws, earning the 72-68 victory.
Quotes From Kate Peterson Abiad
On the win…
"We are thrilled to have another win at the end of the season, and to put together a three game winstreak like this is a big thing for us. It's a confidence builder and it's helping us to believe in the process. For a while it didn't seem like we were getting anywhere, but now it looks like it has made a difference. I am excited to see how they are growing, and with two games left in the regular season we want to finish strong and feel good about where we are heading into the tournament."
On the game…
"I am Really proud of the way we were able to make big plays when it really mattered tonight. We had some huge offensive rebounds and got some big shots from players, including from Khayla after she had been sitting on the bench for a while. Ashanti had some big three-pointers for us, and Olivia really looked to score tonight and was definitely a primary factor for us on the offensive end. Shadae and her ability to get rebounds is really what we need from her, I think she has finally found her niche with the team and I'm very happy to see her progress."
On Allison Mitchell…
"There has never been a question that Allison is the hardest worker every day at practice. When we have a kid like that and she doesn't get a lot of minutes it's even more commendable for how hard she works. Regardless of the situation, she is always ready to go. She is one of those kids who has gotten the most out of her abilities and has worked for everything that she has become. There is nothing better than a kid having their best game on senior night when they are being honored. She made big plays when we really needed them against UIC - hustle plays – and she has always provided that for us. This time of year, she has nothing to hold back so you want her on the floor. You know she has that intangible, that x-factor, and she wants to go out with a bang."
· Cleveland State @ Wright State – Thursday, March 3 – 7:00 p.m. – Fairborn, Ohio