Women’s Basketball: Vikings outlast Raiders in foul-riddled shootout
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A showcase matchup between the two of the highest-scoring teams in the conference, featuring the two of the highest scoring players, provided plenty of fireworks and plenty of points.
Behind Cleveland State’s three-headed attack of guards Adesuwa Aideyman, Cori Coleman and forward Imani Gordon, the Vikings held off the Wright State Raiders 100-93 Saturday afternoon in a game that included a combined 53 fouls and 68 total free throw attempts.
Aideyman led the Vikings with 23 points. Coleman added 22 and Gordon finished with 20 for CSU.
The win puts the Vikings (11-11, 6-3) back in the race for first place in the Horizon League. WSU falls to 17-7 overall and 6-3 in conference play.
The hot shooting that helped propel the Vikings to a 98-82 win over the Raiders on Jan. 12 continued in Saturday’s game. The Vikings hit 16 3-pointers against the Raiders and the shots continued to fall throughout the game, whether CSU’s looks were contested or not.
“I think we competed. I think they shot the ball extremely well. Yeah, it was two pretty good teams and two really good teams, offensively, and I think we both have a hard time guarding each other,” Raiders’ head coach Mike Bradbury said. “They made a ton of threes.”
Bradbury said that his players “executed the plan” on defense despite the Vikings having great success from the field for the second time this season against the Raiders.
Both teams had to overcome significant foul trouble into the later stages of the contest. Guard Tay’ler Mingo committed her fourth foul 1:15 into the second half which sent her to the bench and guard Sarah Hunter into the lineup. Seconds later, guard KC Elkins committed her third foul.
A total of five players from both teams were eventually disqualified.
The most impactful of WSU’s 25 fouls came with 2:51 left and CSU clinging to an 87-85 lead. Guard Kim Demmings followed her own missed jumper with a put-back that rimmed out. Coleman caught the rebound and was fouled by Demmings – her fifth of the game.
Demmings finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.
After losing their leading scorer, the Raiders were still able to stay on the Vikings’ heels. Mingo’s layup with 2:19 left brought WSU to within two. After Mingo split a pair of foul shots, the Raiders trailed 91-88. Aideyman then hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game and put CSU back on top, 94-88.
Mingo then lost the ball out of bounds with 1:20 left and the Raiders were forced to play the foul game the rest of the way.
Despite both coaches having to shuffle around lineups as the foul situation worsened, Bradbury said he didn’t believe the fouls changed either team’s gameplan as the game progressed.
“We didn’t change anything. They (CSU) didn’t change anything either when all their kids were out too. Both teams have good players. We just kept going,” Bradbury said.
Hunter played 25 minutes for WSU and was subbed in for Mingo early in the second half. Hunter said that although the amount of foul calls in Saturday’s game was high, it was not out of the ordinary due to rule changes that now favor the offensive player.
“Well, I think with the new rules that were put in this year, it’s kinda like that almost every game, so you have to be real careful with how you play,” Hunter said.
Guard Ivory James, who scored a game-high 32 points and collected 11 rebounds, said free throw shooting helped the Raiders stay in the game but also helped the Vikings pull away late.
“Offensively it worked in our favor, but defensively, it hurt us,” James said.
WSU will have now have a full week to prepare for a home game against UIC on Feb. 15. The Raiders defeated the Flames 77-74 on Feb. 1.