Merriweather disappointed in effort as Vikings whip lethargic Raiders

Feb 19, 2018
Wright State senior Lexi Smith puts up a shot Monday night against Cleveland State. ALLISON RODRIGUEZ/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Wright State women’s basketball coach Katrina Merriweather said she was stunned by what she saw Monday night, and she wasn’t looking at the scoreboard, although she wasn’t pleased by what she saw there either.

Cleveland State came to the Nutter Center on Monday and jumped the lethargic Raiders from the outset, leading by as many as 19 before registering a 70-63 victory.

“It’s pretty disappointing to come out for our last home game and lack intensity, urgency,” Merriweather said. “And to be quite honest, it’s very unexpected. We clearly have some stuff to get together.”

The loss snapped WSU’s three-game winning streak and dropped the Raiders to 19-9 overall and 10-6 in the Horizon League. It also eliminated any hope Wright State had of earning the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament.

CSU (19-9, 11-6) got 31 points from Ashanti Abshaw, one shy of her career high, while Khayla Livingston added 17 and Olivia Voskuhl scored 15.

“We have to show up and defend players we know are talented offensively and then take advantage of them defensively, and we didn’t do either one,” Merriweather said. “Sometimes I think you get a little spoiled when you win a lot. And you forget why you win a lot. It’s because you play hard, and you play together and we’re tough. And that’s not what we were today.”

Chelsea Welch led the Raiders with 18 points and helped fuel a late rally that saw the WSU slice a 19-point deficit to four in the final minute before the Vikings sealed the game at the free throw line.

Lexi Smith added 13 points to top 1,000 for her career, and Emily Vogelpohl scored 12.

WSU can finish anywhere from the No. 3 seed to No. 6 for the conference tournament, which means they’ll begin play on Sunday, March 2, and need to win three games in three days to claim a championship.

The Raiders could have remained in the running for a No. 2 with a win against CSU.

“The one thing I said to them in there was ‘We’re still playing for something, even though you don’t feel like it,’” Merriweather said. “We have to refocus and make it clear that we’re still playing for something. And it’s to represent our university, our athletic department, our program with what we stand for — defense, rebounding and toughness. If we did that, I couldn’t care what the score was.

“So that’s the problem,” she continued. “What our identity is, that’s not what we played like today. I’m literally stunned at us not doing that.”