August 21, 2014

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Cleveland State women’s basketball relying on young players’ quick maturation

CLEVELAND – Cleveland State coach Kate Peterson Abiad said the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores.
When one of those former freshmen is Kailey Klein, that statement becomes even more accurate.
Klein, a 5-foot-11 guard from Cherry, Ill., had what might have been the best season any freshman has had in the history of the Cleveland State University women`s program. She led the team in scoring (318 points) and scoring average (11.0 per game).
Klein really came on once the Horizon League season began. In 16 league contests, she averaged 16.3 points a game (fourth in the HL). She was fifth in the league in steals (1.56 per game), seventh in rebounding (5.8) and 10th in free throw percentage (73.9). That earned her the league`s Newcomer of the Year award and landed her a spot on the 2007-08 preseason All-Horizon League first team.
“She`s a true offensive threat,” Peterson Abiad said. “She`s looking to score from the moment she gets on the floor.”
Three other sophomores also got major playing time as freshmen last season, and will be counted on to help the Vikings better their 8-22 (5-11 HL) record. Jessica Roque, a 5-7 guard, was one of two who started all 30 games for the Vikings in 2006-07 and was second to Klein in scoring at 8.2 per game. Her twin sister, Angel Roque, started 11 games and played in all 30.
Stephanie Crosley, a 5-11 forward, started the first nine games of the season before being sidelined by a stress fracture. Peterson Abiad said Crosley is still recovering and is somewhat limited, but will get to play off the bench.
“We expect pretty great things this year,” the fourth-year coach said. “The sophomores had a full year of knowing what we do offensively and defensively. They have a full year of knowing each other. I think we have a more mature team.”
Dominique Butler, a junior who has twice been named to the league`s all-defensive team, is back after a season in which she averaged 7.9 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. Butler also led the HL in steals with 1.85 a game.
The fifth starter is Brittany Korth, who played in all 30 games and started in 19 last year. Korth, a 5-10 guard, led the Vikings with 75 assists and averaged 6.7 points per game.
Peterson Abiad regards quickness as easily the greatest strength of the team, and says the Vikes will use quickness mismatches the way other teams use size mismatches. Size is one area where CSU is lacking. Senior Robyn Hoying (3.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg) is the tallest Viking at 6-0.
“I anticipate answering that question about our height all year long,” Peterson Abiad said. “I tell my team to never make height an issue. We`ll use defensive pressure all over the court to make up for not having height.”
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or at ctsports@chroniclet.com.