WSU women advance to HL Title Game


INDIANAPOLIS – The Wright State women’s basketball team is headed to the Horizon League Championship game after defeating No. 6 Cleveland State 73-62 in the semifinals of the 2021 Horizon League Women’s Basketball Championship on Monday afternoon. The top-seeded Raiders were led by Angel Baker, who finished with a game-high 29 points.

The Raiders (17-7) will take on IUPUI (15-4) on Tuesday afternoon in the first meeting between the two schools this season. Tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum, while the game will also be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Behind Baker’s 29 points Monday, Shamarre Hale finished just shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Tyler Frierson tallied 10 points of her own. Emani Jefferson also pulled down nine rebounds while adding eight points for the Raiders.

Monday saw the contest tied 11 different times, including four different lead changes over the 40 minutes.

A back-and-forth affair in the opening 10 minutes, the Raiders were down two at the end of the first quarter, 20-18. Wright State tallied 19 points in the second quarter to head into the locker room up two, as Angel Baker buried a three just five seconds before the break to give the Raiders the 37-35 advantage.

Wright State went on to outscore Cleveland State 36-27 in the second half, including holding the Vikings to just nine points over the final 10 minute period. Baker started the scoring efforts for the Raiders in the second half as the junior went on a 4-0 run to start the third quarter. Hale’s layup with 5:38 left to play in the fourth quarter gave the Raiders a 10-point lead and the momentum they needed for the remainder of the contest.

Baker finished the contest 13-for-25 from the field and 2-for-7 from beyond on the arc on the way to her 29 points, while also pulling down four rebounds. Hale was 7-for-10 from the floor and 2-for-4 from the free-throw line, grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. Frierson’s 10 points came on a 4-for-6 shooting day and a perfect 2-for-2 free throw outing. Jefferson’s eight points all came from the free-throw line, while she also added nine rebounds for the Raiders.

Wright State finished the contest shooting 43.9 percent from the floor, including 47.4 percent for the fourth quarter. Cleveland State finished the afternoon shooting 35.2 percent from the floor while connecting on 21-of-24 free throws (87.5 percent). The Raiders tallied 24 second-chance points to the Vikings’ three. Notably, Wright State’s tallied 14 fast-break points to CSU’s eight.

Wright State won the battle on the boards for the 22nd consecutive time this season, outrebounding CSU 48-30 overall. The Raiders won the defensive glass, pulling down 29 rebounds to the Vikings’ 24. The offensive side saw Wright State hold Cleveland State to just six while tallying 19 offensive boards, helping lead to those 24 second chance points.

Wright State and IUPUI square off for the first time this season on Tuesday afternoon for the Horizon League Championship. The two teams were originally scheduled to meet for a pair of games inside the Nutter Center in mid-January, but the series was canceled due to COVID issues within the IUPUI program.

IUPUI, the tournaments No. 5 seed, defeated fourth-seeded Oakland on the road last week before a 10-point win over No. 2 seed Milwaukee on Monday. The Jaguars won both games against the Raiders last season, but Wright State has won eight of the 11 meetings this century.

Wright State and IUPUI have meet twice before in the Horizon League tournament, both times in the semifinal round, with the Raiders winning 60-52 in 2018 and 60-51 in 2019, with both games having been played in Detroit.

Current Raider seniors Tyler Frierson and Nia Sumpter saw a combined 12 minutes of action in the 2018 meeting, while Frierson and Baker each played 24 minutes in the 2019 win as Baker tallied 14 points and Frierson added two points.

Tuesday will be Wright State’s seventh appearance in the Horizon League Championship, and the Radiers’ third trip to the title game in the last four seasons. Wright State is 2-4 all-time in Horizon League Championship appearances, winning the league crown following the 2013-14 and 2018-19 campaigns, both over Green Bay. The Raiders went on to face Kentucky in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and squared off against Texas A&M in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

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