Women’s Basketball: Gordon’s career-high 30 helps Vikings blow past Raiders
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As well as the Raiders shot the ball, the Vikings shot it better. As well as Kim Demmings played, Cleveland State forward Imani Gordon played better.
To match the Vikings offensive potency Sunday, the Raiders had to play nearly perfect, and in the end, the Raiders came up short.
Gordon scored a career-high 30 points and led all players with 14 rebounds in a 98-82 win over WSU Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Center.
“They were really good. You gotta give them credit. They shot it extremely well, they played really well,” head coach Mike Bradbury said. “I thought they played harder than us and they kind of took the fight to us. Basically, they deserved to win the game.”
For much of the game, Gordon was defended by either Tayler Stanton or Ivory James. But neither player was able to slow down Gordon, who kept the Raiders off balance on defense and made her presence felt on offense.
Bradbury said Stanton and James “made it easy” on Gordon but put part of the blame on himself for not making the proper coaching adjustments throughout the game.
“In their defense, we did a bad job coaching them, [which] made it harder on them,” Bradbury said. “She (Gordon) wore us out all night.”
In terms of shooting percentages, the Vikings were, in a word, blistering. CSU shot 69 percent in the second half from the field to go along with a 17-of-20 performance at the free throw line during the final 20 minutes.
“They (CSU) were just tricky. They ran a lot of screens and on-ball screens, which was our responsibility to switch the whole game,” James said. “Also, they can shoot. Not just wide-open shots but also with a hand in their face. It was just our responsibility to have on-ball pressure the whole 40 minutes and we failed at that.”
The Raiders shot 45.7 percent for the game, but struggled during key stretches of the second half when it appeared that a comeback would be possible.
With the Raiders trailing 75-68, and 7:27 left in the game, James converted on a three-point play on a driving layup and was fouled by Gordon. After two Stanton free throws, the Raiders found themselves within two, down 75-73. The Vikings then extended their lead back to 83-74 on an 8-1 run that was fueled by a Cori Coleman 3 and five Vikings’ free throws.
Moments later, James missed a 3-pointer and guard Sarah Hunter missed the front end of a 1-and-1. On the following possesion, Coleman’s layup gave the Vikings an 11-point lead with less than four minutes to play.
Coleman added 25 points and six rebounds to go along with Gordon’s dominate effort.
For the Raiders, four players scored in double-figures, including Demmings, who scored a team-high 23 points. After being held scoreless in the first half, James bounced back with 13 points in the second half to go along with four rebounds and three steals.
“We’re only human and it happens. We can’t win every [game], although we do expect to, so we just go into practice and practice even harder and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” James said.
The Raiders (2-1, 13-5) will now begin a four-game road stretch, starting against Valparaiso Saturday night at 5 p.m.