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Feb. 2, 2015

Vikings women's basketball slides in standings

By Jordan Smith

After a first place start, Cleveland State University’s women’s basketball team entered Horizon League play with a record of 11-8. They’ve played in mostly tight contests through 19 games, as 13 games have been decided by single digits.

Coach Kate Peterson-Abiad credited her team by saying that her team shows no panic.

“I feel like [with] these kids there isn’t hardly a situation that they haven’t been in, so they don’t freak out,” she said. “They just find a way to win it.”

The team is led in scoring by senior guard Cori Coleman, who averages 16.5 points per game. After winning four of their last seven matchups, the Vikings now find themselves slightly over three games behind the first place Green Bay Phoenix.

Going into their matchup against Green Bay on Jan. 22, Peterson-Abiad said she does not put too much stock into the standings at this point because of how early in the season it is.

“[Green Bay is] doing what you would expect them to do,” she said. “They won games in the non-conference season and they come into this season as a favorite.”

Peterson-Abiad also said that she doesn’t feel much of an intimidation factor when going against Green Bay, which she described as one of the top mid-major teams in the country.

“We beat them to go to the NCAA tournament,” she said. “Those years that we beat them we played with a lot of confidence, and I don’t think anybody let the history weigh into the game.”

That success could not be duplicated on Jan. 22., as they lost to the Phoenix at home by a score of 65-61. The Vikings were led in scoring by seniors Coleman and Imani Gordon, who put up 16 and 20 points respectively.

Sharpshooting guard Kiersten Green’s jumper kept the Vikes in the game throughout the first half as she shot 50 percent from the three-point range.

Turnovers would plague Cleveland State late in the game, as the team gave the ball away 14 times on offense.

The game was a battle down to the final buzzer as a Gordon layup made it a 3-point game, but Green Bay’s Megan Lukin made a free throw to seal the victory for the Phoenix.

Cleveland State lost its second straight game to the Raiders. The 82-65 loss came with a positive for Coleman, who would become Cleveland State’s all-time leader in three-pointers made at 191.

Coleman surpassed Erika Roudenbush who played for the Vikings from 1999 until 2003.

Coleman said she was not aware entering the Wright State game that she was on the verge of breaking Roudenbush’s record. Even after she was told of the achievement, Coleman said it took a few days to truly sink in.

“It didn’t really hit me until two days ago that I broke the record,” Coleman said. “But I’m happy about it.”

Coleman came to Cleveland State out of a high school in New York knowing that she is a good shooter, but three-point shooting is a part of her game she has had to develop.

Other than sinking long shots, she considers herself a strong passer.

At Wright State, Coleman led the Vikings in scoring with 23 points, 15 of which came from beyond-the-arc.

Gordon posted 13 points, nine rebounds and five turnovers, Green put up 11 points and five assists and starting guard Alexis Eckles posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Viking girls are currently 12-8 following their loss to Wright State. The Vikings now sit at fifth place in the Horizon League overall. Online streams for games are available at Horizonleague.net.