SETTING THE SCENE
After an 11-game non-league slate, the Cleveland State women's basketball team will begin Horizon League play this week, traveling to Oakland for the league-opener on Friday, December 28. Cleveland State enters Horizon League play with a 3-8 overall record, while Oakland also stands at 3-8 overall this year. Friday's contest is set for a 7:00 p.m. tip.
A WIN ON FRIDAY WOULD…
Mark the third straight season that the Vikings have won their #HLWBB opener, and the sixth time out of the last seven years…Snap a six-game losing skid for Cleveland State…Mark the third straight victory for the Vikings over Oakland.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/OAKLAND SERIES
Friday's game will mark the 12th meeting between the two teams in the all-time series, with Cleveland State owning a slight 6-5 advantage. The Vikings have won two straight meetings entering Friday's contest, and four out of the last five matchups. When playing at Oakland, the series is tied at 3-3.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN GRIZZLIES
Oakland enters Horizon League play with a 3-8 overall record this season, most recently picking up a 64-46 victory over Rochester College in its non-league finale…The Grizzlies are under the direction of sixth-year head coach Jeff Tungate, and return six letterwinners from last year's squad…Earlier this year, Oakland was selected to finish seventh in the Horizon League Preseason Poll…Entering #HLWBB play, Oakland leads the league averaging 8.9 steals per game, while the Grizzlies rank second with 4.2 blocked shots per game…Individually, Taylor Jones ranks fourth in the league averaging 14.9 points per game, while Chloe Guingrich ranks 10th with 6.8 rebounds per game.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings closed out their non-league slate dropping a heartbreaking 67-65 contest against Bradley, finishing the first part of the 2018-19 campaign with a 3-8 overall record. Four Vikings finished the contest with double-digit points, including Mariah White who finished with 22 total points. Savanna Crockett recorded her sixth double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while White tallied a team-high three assists and Crockett grabbed a team-best three steals.
VIKINGS SET TO BEGIN #HLWBB PLAY
Over the last 10 seasons Cleveland State has posted a 91-83 record in Horizon League regular season play, including an 11-7 mark last season - one of five double-digit win #HLWBB campaigns during this span. Dating back to the 2008-09 season, the Vikings own a 5-5 record in Horizon League openers, and will be facing Oakland in the first #HLWBB game of the year for the third time.
…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.
CROCKETT NAMED #HLWBB FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Earlier this week Savanna Crockett picked up her third weekly accolade from the Horizon League, as she was named the #HLWBB Freshman of the Week for the league-leading third time. Against Bradley last time out, Crockett posted her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and a season-high tying 14 rebounds - becoming the only league player to record six or more double-doubles this season.
Through non-league play, freshman Savanna Crockett is averaging 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, and has tallied six double-doubles in the first 11 games. As one of just 32 players nationwide to have at least six double-doubles on the year, Crockett is one of just two freshmen to eclipse six double-doubles, and leads the Horizon League in the category. Entering #HLWBB play, Crockett is one of three players to rank in the top-10 in the league in scoring (10th) and rebounding (1st).
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 2.9 assists per game. White, who is one of the most efficient shooters on the team with a .477 field goal percentage, has improved her scoring by more than 10.0 points per game since last year. White is also averaging 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game so far this year.
…NOTCHES 20-POINT PERFORMANCE
Last time out, Mariah White recorded the second 20-point performance of her career, posting a team-high 22 points against Bradley in the non-league finale. White, who recorded a career-high 23 points at Eastern Michigan earlier this season, is one of three Vikings to post 20+ points in a single game so far this season. White's 22 points against the Braves came on a career-best nine made field goals.
GRADWELL & BRAXTON FROM BEHIND-THE-ARC
So far this season, the freshmen duo of Isabelle Gradwell and JaMiya Braxton have been Cleveland State's leading three-point shooters, with the duo combining for 35 of Cleveland State's 63 made three-pointers. Braxton, who has converted a team-best 23 shots from behind-the-arc, ranks third in the Horizon League averaging 2.1 three-pointers per game. As a team, the Vikings are averaging 5.7 three-point field goals per game, and have been shooting at a .304 clip from deep.
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 419-124, 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 continue their #HLWBB opening roadswing at Detroit Mercy on Sunday, December 30, facing the Titans at 1:00 p.m.