Women’s Horizon League Tournament recap

Dakota Brecht, Staff Reporter

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Oakland’s women’s basketball team kicked off the Horizon League tournament with a bang, defeating the UIC Flames 80-46. It was all Golden Grizzlies from the start, every time the Flames scored, the Black and Gold scored twice more. With this game being the first women’s basketball game at Little Caesars Arena, Head Coach Jeff Tungate took great pride in his team’s win.

“It’s a great way to start the tournament,” Tungate said. “One of the things we talked about was that we had a chance to make history. This was the first women’s basketball game played at LCA… I’m just really proud of our team.”

The first half was dominated by Oakland’s impressive offensive performance and senior Cierra Bond had 13 points in the first quarter alone. Leah Somerfield was tearing it up down low and had seven rebounds by the half.

“My teammates helped me get open and get me some good looks, they had some good passes to me and the feeling just kept going from there,” Bond said.

The second half was much more of the same and Oakland coasted to the finish, a resounding win for the Golden Grizzlies. Jones led all scorers with a fantastic 20 points and Bond was right behind her with 19. Taylor Gleason was also solid offensively and tacked on 14 points as well. On the defensive side, Somerfield garnered 11 total rebounds along with one block and one steal.

After that strong win over UIC, Oakland looked to ride that hot hand into Saturday’s matchup against IUPUI. The Golden Grizzlies knew they were going to have to give it their all if they were to upset the No. 2 seed IUPUI.

IUPUI started the game off hot and took an early lead over the Golden Grizzlies. At one point during the second quarter, the Jaguars led by 16 points. It was an all around team effort for IUPUI and they were putting it all on Oakland. By halftime the lead was shaved to seven points but there was still plenty of work to do for the Black and Gold.

The Golden Grizzlies continued to chip away at the lead and at one point in the fourth quarter they only trailed by one. Their comeback efforts would be to no avail as the IUPUI Jaguars defeated the Golden Grizzlies in the quarterfinals with a score of 56-49. It was a hard fought game on both sides and coach Tungate was proud of his team, win or lose.

“They [Oakland’s seniors] have changed the trajectory of this program and I’m just so proud of them,” he said.

For the Golden Grizzlies, there were five seniors who played their final game in the Black and Gold. Korrin Taylor did not score at all in this one but she provided some key minutes off of the bench. Cierra Bond and Taylor Gleason added five and nine points respectively, while both were in the game for over 30 minutes. Sha’keya Graves and Leah Somerfield topped off scoring for the Golden Grizzlies with ten and 13 points, respectively.

It was a great run for Oakland this season and in the final press conference, emotions were running high for Tungate and his players.

“Obviously I’m really, really proud of our seniors,” an emotional Tungate said. “I’m usually not like this… They’ve meant so much to this program and I just can’t say enough about them.”