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Horizon League NCAA Division I Women's College Basketball

Wright State’s Taylor Has Career Day In Quarterfinal Win Over Clevland State

By Seth J. Walker

Detroit- The third seeded Wright State Raiders beat the sixth seeded Cleveland State Vikings 83-61, Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League women’s basketball tournament.  While senior guard Chelsea Welch, the Horizon League Player of the Year, led the Raiders with 24 points, it was junior guard Mackenzie Taylor who stole the show against the Vikings.  Taylor scored a career high 22 points including six three-point field goals.

According to Taylor, it was her defense that triggered her career day offensively.

“I knew coming in, I had a big defensive assignment to try to limit Abshaw,” Taylor said.  “Just hitting shots motivates you to get more stops on defense and so it was just nice to feed off of one another.”

Junior forward Ashanti Abshaw was limited to only 13 points for the Vikings.  She was nearly eliminated for the game early on when she went for a loose ball and ended up in the third row of chairs, but managed to get up injury free.  The incident led to a technical foul call on Abshaw as she believed she had been shoved by Welch as they both went for a loose ball.

“I didn’t have the benefit of seeing it on replay, so I don’t know ” Vikings head coach Kate Peterson Abiad said.  “I don’t know.  It looked to me like two kids were running really hard for the ball and Ashanti ended up, when she’s going full speed, I don’t know how you stop (her).  She’s got sprinter’s feet.  So whether there was a push or not, I don’t know.  The officials reviewed it and said there wasn’t.”

The Raiders have a reputation for being physical, which appears to be due to their lack of size.  Only three players on there roster are six feet or over.

“I think we’re pretty physical,” Raiders head coach Katrina Merriweather said.  “I think that we’re pretty aggressive.  When you are undersized, you need to be able to be a little physical.”

The Raiders now advance to the semifinals to face second seeded IUPU, which beat Oakland in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.  IUPU finished second in the Horizon League after being picked seventh in the preseason poll.

“I’ve said this multiple times.  Maybe it’s because I’m for Indianapolis, but I knew that was not the seventh ranked team in this conference,” Merriweather said.  “I’m fully aware of their roster and who they are, and the impact that they had in their last league.”

The Raiders know they’ll have a challenge facing an IUPUI team that reached the Summit League championship game last year, but feel confident about their own chances due to their own talent and success.

Lexi Smith attempts a free throw. The senior scored 12 points in Wright State’s win over Cleveland State.

“IUPU is a good team but so is everyone else in our conference,” Welch said.  “Our motto is respect all, fear none, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do; coming into this game.  They have some good players and so do we.  We don’t see them as IUPUI.  They are a good team, but they put their shorts on one leg at a time just like every us.”

The Raiders will face IUPUI Monday at 3:30pm at Little Caesar’s Arena.



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