By Briana Oldham
The women’s basketball team is less than a third of the way through the season and is now under new management.
With a shift in coaching, the Vikings currently hold a record of 3-4. The three games won have come at home in front of the home crowd. Even with the four losses, the games have been close calls.
The season opened with an exhibition game Nov. 1 against Ursuline. If this game was any indication of what to expect, it was a good start as the team won by 10.
The next game would be the first official one in the win column at home against Salem with a breakout performance by Mariah Miller, who grabbed a team-high 17 rebounds. This was only the 11th 100-point game in the history of the program and marked the seventh time in the last 10 seasons that the Vikings won their home opener.
At the next game, Mariah White and Jade Ely led the charge contributing 23 and 12 points, respectively, but fell short in Ypsilanti to Eastern Michigan.
The Vikings headed to Ball State where, in another close game, the ladies struggled to walk away with a win, losing by five. It was time to regroup as students and supporters welcomed the team back home for a two-game stand against Lake Erie and Illinois State.
Though new to Cleveland State, head coach Chris Kielsmeier brings 19 years of expertise to the university.
“Cleveland is an excellent place to live and coach. It was time for something different and I’m happy to be here,” Kielsmeier said.
He has been instrumental in giving the team advice as they adjust to changes within the coaching staff. The team has also welcomed younger talent, with almost half of the team being comprised of freshman.
Kielsmeier said his goals for this season are to encourage the young women to focus, but have fun.
In front of the home crowd, the Vikings breezed by Lake Erie with a score of 79-49. Ely racked up 18 points in a perfect 8-for-8 performance, while Miller added 15 points. Collectively, the team showed off their unselfish play, which they are known for, by compiling 16 assists.
When Illinois State came to town, the Viking offense was again commanded by Miller and White who had 17 and 16 points, respectively, in a nail biter victory with a final score of 67-63. This was the third game the team shot 40-percent or better from the field this season.
“Each game is a learning opportunity and a chance to improve,” Kielsmeier said.
As the Vikings geared up to go back on the road, they would head to the West Coast for the San Diego Thanksgiving Tournament. There, the team lost games to San Diego, narrowly losing by one point, and Tulane.
For the remainder of the season, Coach Kielsmeier wishes to see more consistency with regards to rebounding, not turning the ball over on offense and getting better defensively.
“The girls have embraced the new things we’ve implemented and that have been asked of them,” Kielsmeier said. “They are eager to build a culture of greatness and have an opportunity to grow as a team.”