By Michael Comodeca
After an underwhelming season last year in which the Cleveland State women’s basketball team finished 14-16, so far, the team is off to a 5-2 start this season.
The Vikings are currently on a three game winning streak after defeating Niagara University on Friday, Dec. 1, by a score of 70-61.
With the victory, Cleveland State has four games remaining until its conference schedule begins.
During the game versus Niagara, the Vikings were led by standout redshirt junior Ashanti Abshaw, who posted her third career 30-point game. Not only did Abshaw score, she filled up the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block to help lead the Vikings to victory.
Abshaw has been an integral part of the team’s early success. In only 29.3 minutes a game, she is averaging 21.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Another star that shines bright on the Cleveland State team is redshirt senior, Khayla Livingston, who had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists against Niagara.
Both Abshaw and Livingston averaged 19 points a game during conference play last year, which bodes well for Cleveland State’s chances going forward.
Redshirt senior Olivia Voskuhl and senior Shadae Bosley have played major roles in helping the team win during the infancy stages of the season.
During the game against Niagara, Voskuhl scored 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block. Bosley, Cleveland State’s rim protector, had four points, four rebounds, one steal and four blocks.
With the four blocks, Bosley now has 102 career blocks, which makes her the fifth woman in Cleveland State history with over 100 career blocks.
Coach Kate Peterson Abiad, over the phone, said would like to see her team use a ten-player rotation, but has not had a chance to so far this season. The team is averaging seven players with double digit minutes and has two games with eight players logging double digit minutes. During the game against Niagara, the team only played eight players.
Overall, Peterson Abiad said she is happy with the play of her team. However, at times she feels that they can give a little more effort. Peterson Abiad is hoping to have those issues worked out before the start of conference play as their margin of error decreases against conference foes.
Prior to the season, coach Peterson Abiad wanted the team to not worry about the future and only focus on what is in front of them. Her team follows the mantra of “with one eye on the prize you only have one eye on the journey.” The team has been able to keep its focus on the journey in the early stages of the season.
Another reason Cleveland State has had early success is because the team has many veterans. Nine out of 14 players on the team are either redshirt juniors, juniors, redshirt seniors or seniors.
With two-thirds of the season remaining, there is still a long road ahead for Cleveland State.