By Steven Mcgarvie
Coming off a 14-16 overall record season last year, the Cleveland State Women’s Basketball team looks to build and move forward for the 2017-2018 season. The addition of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American, 5-foot-11 guard/forward combo Rachel Slaney looks to help give the Vikings an extra boost in scoring and add experience to an already veteran heavy squad.
Slaney, a junior transfer student from Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin, averaged 25.3 points per game as a sophomore. She averaged 20.6 points throughout her two years with the WolfPack. In those two years, she received NJCAA Division III second-team All-American honors. While Slaney is known for her ability to light up the scoreboard, she averaged a team high 13 rebounds per game and 3.9 steals per contest last year. Slaney will undoubtedly look to be an all-around player and force for the Vikings.
In just two years as a member of the WolfPack, she broke the school’s all-time scoring record by putting up a blistering 1,161 points over two seasons. Before spending two years at Madison College, Slaney grew up in Barneveld, Wisconsin, and played at Barneveld High School where she received All-State honors three of her four years. While in High School, Slaney led Barneveld to two Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division V state championships.
The Vikings look to be an offensive juggernaut in 2017-2018 as four of their five starters are returning from last season. Cleveland State compiled a 9-9 Horizon League Conference record, which was good enough for sixth place in 2016-2017. Both top scorers from last season — Ashanti Abshaw who averaged 17.7 points per game and Khayla Livingston who averaged 15.9 points per game — are returning for this season. Another key acquisition for the Vikings this winter is senior transfer Marquia Turner. Turner played the last three seasons at Division I Xavier, averaging a career high of 9.8 points per game last year. Turner led the Musketeers in assists, averaging 3.8 per game over 30 contests. Turner played her high school career at local Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio.
Cleveland State opens up their season at home on Saturday, Nov. 11 as they take on the Ball State Cardinals.