SETTING THE SCENE
The Cleveland State women's basketball team will continue its current two-game roadswing to begin Horizon League play on Sunday, December 30, traveling to Detroit Mercy for a 1:00 p.m. contest. The Vikings enter the game with a 4-8 overall record this season, and stand at 1-0 in #HLWBB play following their victory at Oakland in the league-opener last time out. The Titans currently stand at 2-10 overall and 0-1 in league play.
A WIN ON SUNDAY WOULD…
Put the Vikings at 2-0 to start #HLWBB play for the third straight season…Give Cleveland State back-to-back wins for the second time this year…Mark the third straight victory for the Vikings over Detroit Mercy.
THE CLEVELAND STATE/DETROIT MERCY SERIES
Sunday's game will be the 61st meeting between the two teams, with Detroit Mercy owning a 40-20 advantage in the overall series. Despite the overall series record, Cleveland State has won the last two matchups, and three out of the last four. In the last three Cleveland State wins, the Vikings have outscored the Titans by an average of 21.3 points per game.
SCOUTING THE TITANS
Detroit Mercy enters Sunday's game with a 2-10 overall record this season, most recently dropping an 85-59 decision against Youngstown State in the #HLWBB opener. The Titans, who are under the direction of fourth-year head coach Bernard Scott, were picked to finish ninth in the Horizon League Preseason Poll earlier this season. The Titans' two wins so far this year have come against Manhattan and Michigan-Dearborn, but are currently on a six-game losing skid. Lexey Tobel is the only Titan to average double-digit points, ranking 15th in the Horizon League with 12.2 points per game.
LAST TIME OUT…
The Vikings opened Horizon League play with a 64-62 victory at Oakland, improving to 6-5 in league openers over the last 11 years. Mariah White led the Viking offense with 22 points, while Savanna Crockett and Mariah Miller both added 16 points. Crockett also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, while Miller was just shy of a double-double with nine boards.
VIKINGS SET TO BEGIN #HLWBB PLAY
Over the last 10 seasons Cleveland State has posted a 92-83 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. Last time out, the Vikings battled for a 64-62 victory at Oakland, giving head coach Chris Kielsmeier the first Horizon League win of his career.
…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 SHARING THE BALL
Last time out, Cleveland State recorded 18 assists on 23 made field goals, marking the second highest single-game total for the Vikings this season (27 vs. Salem). Seven of the nine Vikings that saw action against the Golden Grizzlies recorded at least one assist, including Jade Ely and Mariah White who both recorded five helpers. For the season, the Vikings are now averaging 12.9 assists per game, while Ely ranks fourth among league players with 3.6 assists per game.
…AND SPREADING THE OFFENSE
Entering Sunday's game, Cleveland State has three players ranked in the top-10 in the Horizon League in scoring, the most top-10 players of all league schools. Mariah Miller ranks second averaging 16.4 points per game, while Jade Ely ranks fifth (14.4) and Mariah White ranks ninth (12.7). As a team, the Vikings rank second with 70.4 points per game, while they lead the league with a .430 field goal percentage.
For the seventh time this season, freshman Savanna Crockett finished a game with a double-double, posting 16 points and 12 rebounds against Oakland last time out. Crockett, who is averaging a double-double on the season with 12.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, ranks 11th among league players in scoring and leads the league in rebounding. As one of just 21 players nationwide to have at least seven double-doubles on the year, Crockett is one of just two freshmen to eclipse seven double-doubles, and leads the Horizon League in the category.
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 12.7 points and 3.0 assists per game. White, who is one of the most efficient shooters on the team with a .500 field goal percentage, has improved her scoring by more than 10.0 points per game since last year. White is also averaging 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game so far this year.
…NOTCHES BACK-TO-BACK 20-POINT PERFORMANCES
For the second straight game Mariah White led the Viking offense, posting 22 points against Oakland in the #HLWBB opener last time out. White, who has now recorded three 20-point games on her career, was just one point shy of tying her career-high with her 22-point performance against the Golden Grizzlies. White is one of four Vikings to average double-digit points this season, ranking ninth among Horizon League players with 12.8 points per game.
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 in the non-league finale, 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.
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 420-124, 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 return home for the first time during Horizon League play next week, hosting IUPUI at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 3.