Nov 21, 2018
SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will hit the road to close out the month of November this weekend, traveling West for the San Diego Thanksgiving Tournament. The Vikings, who enter the weekend with a 3-2 record on the young season, will face the host Toreros on Friday, November 23, before taking on Tulane on Saturday, November 24.
CLEVELAND STATE VS. THE FIELD
San Diego and Tulane are both first-time opponents for the Vikings, while this will be the first time that Cleveland State plays in the state of California since the 2007-08 season when the Vikings played at Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings picked up a 67-63 victory against Illinois State, marking back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The win against the Redbirds kept the Vikings perfect when playing in the Wolstein Center this season (3-0), while Cleveland State improved to 3-0 all-time against ISU.
Cleveland State returns six letterwinners from last season's squad, including the senior duo of Rachel Slaney and Mariana Bautista. This duo is joined by all-league honoree Jade Ely, Mariah Miller, Mariah White, and Anyia Pride to form a veteran core for the upcoming season.
This experienced group will be joined by five true freshmen - Shyla Latone, Savanna Crockett, Isabella Geraci, JaMiya Braxton, and Isabelle Gradwell - along with redshirt freshman Nadia Dumas and sophomore transfer Dana DeGraffenreid.
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 419-118, which includes a Division III National Title during the 2007-08 season at Howard Payne.
…VIKINGS OPEN KIELSMEIER ERA WITH VICTORY
Cleveland State opened up the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, November 6, cruising to a 113-81 victory over Salem. The win marked the first of the Chris Kielsmeier era, and marked the seventh time over the last 10 years that the Vikings were victorious in their season opener. Kielsmeier is the third Cleveland State head coach to win their first game on the Viking sideline, and the first since Louise Furjanic during the 1977-78 campaign.
VIKINGS STRONG ON OFFENSE
Entering the weekend Cleveland State stands as one of the best offensive teams in the Horizon League, leading #HLWBB teams in points per game (76.8) and field goal percentage (.468). Last time out, the Vikings shot 43-percent from the floor, marking the third time this season that they have posted a .400 clip or better, while the 61 points marked the fifth time that the Vikings have eclipsed the 60-point mark.
…ELY WITH THE BALL
Junior Jade Ely has been a big part of the Viking offense this season, as she ranks second on the team averaging 13.2 points per game, while she leads the team with 19 total assists. Earlier this season, Ely recorded a career-high seven assists against Salem, and has tallied four or more helpers in three of the five games this year.
CLEVELAND STATE FORCING THE TURNOVERS
Last time out, the Vikings forced Illinois State into a season-high 21 turnovers, turning these miscues into 21 points. For the season, Cleveland State has forced its opponents into 88 total turnovers, holding a +0.2 advantage in turnover margin. Among Horizon League teams, the Vikings rank fourth with a 0.8 assist-to-turnover margin after five games this season.
…AND GRABBING THE STEAL
On the flipside, Cleveland State is averaging a Horizon League best 10.6 steals per game, including a season-high 16 against ISU last time out. The Vikings have combined for 53 total steals this season, with 13 coming from junior Jade Ely, and nine from sophomore Mariah White.
CROCKETT IN THE STARTING FIVE
Through the first five games of the season, freshman Savanna Crockett has earned a spot in the starting lineup during all five contests, and is averaging 29.0 minutes per game. For the year, Crockett is averaging 10.2 points per game as one of four Vikings to average double-digit points, while she leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per contest. Crockett has tallied two double-doubles this season, which is tied for the team-lead with Mariah Miller.
VIKINGS ON THE BOARDS
So far this season the Vikings have held the advantage on the boards, outrebounding their opponent in four of the first five games. Entering the weekend, Cleveland State owns a +6.0 rebounding margin, and has grabbed 221 total boards. Among Horizon League teams, the Vikings rank third averaging 44.2 rebounds per game, while Savanna Crockett (2nd - 9.4 rpg), Mariah Miller (3rd - 8.6 rpg) and Rachel Slaney (6th - 7.4 rpg) all rank in the top-10 individually.
VIKINGS ECLIPSE CENTURY MARK
Cleveland State recorded just the 11th 100-point game in program history in the 2018-19 season opener, recording 113 total points against Salem. The 113 points marked the second highest single-game total, while it was also the first time since the 2013-14 season that the Vikings have scored 100 or more points. After the win against Salem, Cleveland State is now 9-2 all-time when scoring 100+ points.
CLEVELAND STATE TABBED EIGHTH IN PRESEASON POLL
Last month 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.
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 stay on the road to begin the month of December, traveling to Ohio for a 1:00 p.m. contest on Saturday, December 1.