Reisma’s career game, depth players key blowout win at IUPUI

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Photo: Cleveland State Athletics

One of IUPUI’s strengths lies in the middle of the floor. Between second-team all-conference selection Jazmyn Turner, 6-2 Akron transfer Faith Stinson, and versatile Abby Wolterman, the Jaguars win their paint battles more often than not through sheer numbers and physicality.

Just not against Jordana Reisma.

Cleveland State’s emerging sophomore post player equaled a career high with 18 points, and set a new personal best with 12 rebounds, as the Vikings demolished the Jaguars 75-52 on Wednesday night in Indianapolis to improve to 24-4 overall and 15-2 in the Horizon League.

“We wanted to get her the ball,” Vikings head coach Chris Kielsmeier said of his starting post player. “It was a big part of the game plan, we really felt like they were going to give us some zone. We prepped hard for that the last few days and kind of isolated the block players. She was put in position to make some really good plays by some great post entries.”

“For her to go out and have a double-double on a night like this when we really needed it was big time for her.”

Reisma finished the game with a 9-for-14 line from the floor, most of that compiled through the isolation plays Kielsmeier mentioned. Those nine field goals were each assisted buckets, a list that included multiple helpers by guards Colbi Maples (three), Shadiya Thomas (three) and Mickayla Perdue (two).

Of course, the Brown Deer High School graduate was just as effective defensively. Though Stinson scored a team-high 14 points for the home side, Turner was limited to three in 11 minutes before fouling out early in the fourth quarter, while IUPUI leading scorer Katie Davidson, who also enjoys slashing to the basket, was held to just two points and four shot attempts. Reisma’s work in the middle of Cleveland State’s zone allowed her teammates to aggressively defend the Jaguars’ preferred plan of attack.

“They really tried to pound it in through the high post, and we were really trying to squeeze on that, trying to get tips off of those passes,” Kielsmeier said. “Overall, it was a great defensive effort by everybody on our team.”

Faith Burch clocked another extremely efficient outing, mostly in rotation with Reisma, adding 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting in 14 minutes of work to round out a dominant evening from CSU’s bigs. Her back-to-back short jumpers midway through the third quarter helped fuel a 26-point frame that fully broke open the contest, after the Vikings led by three points following the first quarter, then by 11 at halftime.

Game referees Royce Blevins, Jeff Cross and Kayla Maxey distributed their whistles evenly, and while that severely limited opposing players like Turner, it also meant an unusual amount of foul trouble for the Vikings. Sara Guerreiro ended the game on four fouls, while fellow starters Reisma, Perdue and Maples each collected three. The fifth starter, Carmen Villalobos, did not play after a hard fall while going for a rebound late in the third quarter.

“We fouled too much tonight,” Kielsmeier said. “The free throw margin, 20-18 [in CSU’s favor] is not what we want in any way. There’s a lot of things that we can continue to learn from and get better with.”

Regardless, that situation meant plenty of opportunities for Cleveland State’s depth players, notably Thomas and Grace Ellis. Thomas, typically the first guard to spell Maples and Perdue, played more than half of the game and ran the floor with her usual quiet effectiveness while handing out four assists. Her wide-open three-pointer with 95 seconds left in the third quarter – one of just two triples that the Vikings’ effort on Wednesday required – was a major signal of the game’s blowout status, as it made the score 57-32.

Ellis, meanwhile, logged a gritty performance in front of her parents, visiting the United States from Brisbane, Australia. The former Wyoming Cowgirl pulled down seven rebounds, while adding two assists (one was a nice look for Reisma on a baseline out-of-bounds play) and a blocked shot in 24 minutes of work. Her three points all came on free throws after a pair of occasions where she grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul.

“She gave us great minutes,” Kielsmeier said. “The points aren’t going to stick out, but it’s never about that for us. It’s about not making mistakes, it’s about executing in the moment. I thought she played great, had some really good pickups defensively on some high-low tips.”

“I told her last week, I said ‘you’re getting a lot better.’ You can see her confidence.”

The team-wide result moved the Vikings within three victories of the first regular season conference championship in program history, with contests against Robert Morris, Youngstown State and Northern Kentucky remaining on the schedule. Kielsmeier feels as if his bench and his defense are rounding into form just in time for the campaign’s stretch run.

“It’s getting really close,” he said. “I love how we played one through twelve tonight. We had a lot of bench kids that came off and played really well, and played really smart defense. When we get those opportunities, we really want to make sure we minimize mistakes, and the defense is coming, it’s getting better.”

“That second half was a great performance by every one of our players.”

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