Oakland University women’s basketball defeated IUPUI 68-59 at the Athletics Center O’rena on Sunday.
Freshman guard Elena Popkey was 8-11 with 20 points. Junior guard Elizabeth Hamlet finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“We just went with an attack mentality,” E. Hamlet said. “ Go right at them as hard as you can. Especially after the loss we had (against Western Illinois). It’s a new season. It’s not the loss, it’s how you respond to the loss.”
IUPUI (7-7, 1-1) started off hot, jumping out to a 7-0 lead over Oakland (7-7, 1-1). Within the first five minutes of the game, Oakland was out rebounded 8-3.
Four of Oakland’s first six points came courtesy of freshman forward Sinclair Russell. Russell finished with six points and two rebounds off the bench.
“Our bench was huge,” head coach Beckie Francis said. “Sinclair, Shelby (Herrington) and Annemarie (Hamlet) came in and had some big baskets.”
The Grizzlies reached within three points after Popkey’s first three-pointer of the game made it 12-9 with 14 minutes remaining in the half.
Oakland captured their first lead at the 12:47 mark after a Popkey two-pointer. A 6-0 run from the Grizzlies with ten minutes remaining gave them a 21-14 lead.
With just over six minutes left in the first half, IUPUI tied it back up 25-25.
Sophomore guard Peyton Apsey fouled IUPUI junior guard Dee-Dee Bellamy, resulting in a three-point play that tied the game 31-31 with 20 seconds remaining.
A last second basket from IUPUI junior guard DeAirra Goss gave the Jaguars a 33-31 lead at halftime.
“We went into halftime a little bit upset at the outcome and rightfully so,” E. Hamlet said. “And from that moment on, it was a refuse to lose attitude for all of us.”
Oakland was out rebounded in the first half 24-13. The free throw line proved to be friendly to the Grizzlies as they were 8-8 in the first half. IUPUI shot 3-7 at the line.
Oakland looked to get off to a better start to begin the second half than they did the first. Sophomore forward Shelby Herrington shot 3-3 with the first few minutes to push Oakland ahead to a 42-39 lead.
“That 6-0 Shelby Herrington run really was a turnaround,” Francis said. “It just lifted everybody. The fact that she hit the shots and knew when to take them. She came in aggressive, she sprinted the floor, she played good defense, she got some good movement in our offense. I thought that was the key to the game.”
The Grizzlies dominant second half was due in large part to their 75 percent shooting percentage.
“I think it’s the style of play that IUPUI plays and our players responded,” Francis said. “They read the defense, they made great back cuts. They made great passes. They just made smart plays.”
Oakland opened up their largest lead of the game with two minutes remaining as they went ahead by 14 points.
The Grizzlies out rebounded IUPUI 12-6 in the second half, a large turnaround from the end of the first. They shot 4-9 overall beyond the arc. IUPUI finished their three-point shooting 4-17.
After securing their first Summit League win of the season, Oakland is on the road against Omaha Jan. 3. They return to the O’rena to play South Dakota State Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m.