Cleveland State women’s basketball makes it to March Madness while men fall short
It was a historic season for the Cleveland State University women’s basketball team.
The Vikings women, led by head coach Chris Kielsmeier, set a school record as they finished the regular season with a 30-4 overall record and a 17-3 record in Horizon League play.
The Vikings were led all season by superstar guard Destiny Leo. The junior guard was named Horizon League player of the year as she led the league in scoring, averaging 19.3 points-per-game. Leo, a graduate of Eastlake North High School, is just the third Viking to ever earn the honor, with Audra Cook doing so in 2000 and Kailey Klein in 2009.
Vikings senior Deja Williams was named Horizon League sixth person of the year as she averaged 6.5 points-per-game. The award is given to the best bench player in the league and Williams proved to be that, giving CSU a boost off of the bench on a nightly basis.
With the solid play of Leo and Williams, the Vikings churned their way through the Horizon League Tournament, ultimately being crowned champions with a 73-61 victory over Green Bay on March 7. Leo was named the most valuable player of the tournament.
After their Horizon League Tournament win, the women’s basketball team qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) “March Madness” Tournament. It is just the third time in school history that the women’s basketball team will play in March Madness and the first time since 2010. The Vikings will figure out who and when they play when the bracket is revealed Sunday, March 12.
Vikings junior, Tae Williams, dribbles the ball up the court in a game against IUPUI on Jan. 29. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars in that game on their way to a 21-13 overall record. (credit: CSU vikings sports webpage)
CSU’s men’s basketball team’s season ended in disappointment as the Vikings fell just short of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Northern Kentucky 63-61 in the Horizon League Tournament championship game on March 7.
Despite the disappointing finish, it was a successful season for the Vikings under first year head coach Daniyal Robinson. The Vikings had a 21-13 overall record and finished second in the Horizon League standings behind Youngstown State University with a 14-6 record despite being projected to finish seventh.
The Vikings were led by senior Tristan Enaruna, who averaged 15.7 points-per-game. Vikings fifth year starter Deshon Parker scored 14 points in his team's loss to Northern Kentucky. The 14 points were enough for Parker to eclipse 1000 total points scored in his collegiate career.
Team’s that do not make the NCAA Tournament are often invited to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). As Youngstown State is already bound for the NIT as a Horizon League representative, it is more likely that CSU could be featured in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) which takes place in Florida. The CBI takes place March 18-22.