Freshman fills up the stat sheet

Devin Boatwright, Staff Reporter

Kahlaijah Dean, a freshman on the women’s basketball team, was named the Horizon League’s Freshman of the Week for the past two weeks. She dominated the court against Youngstown State and Cleveland State, and she shows no signs of stopping.

Dean, a California native, decided to move to Michigan and play at Oakland for a change of pace and scenery.

“I just wanted to get out and explore,” Dean said. “It’s a big weather change, something way different from California, but I enjoy it here.”

Being Freshman of the Week is high praise, and Dean’s performance shows that. Against Youngstown State and Cleveland State, she averaged 26 points on 64 percent shooting from the field. She also went 9-for-17 on 3-pointers averaging  53 percent.

Against Youngstown State, Dean scored a career high 29 points as well as setting career marks in field goals and 3-pointers.

She was selfless for her efforts, giving credit to her teammates. She stated without the team’s constant ball movement and screen setting, she wouldn’t have been as successful as she was these past few games.

“It’s amazing being acknowledged,” Dean said. “Coming from California and being here is a big difference but my teammates have helped me get used to everything. They pass the ball, set screens which makes everything a little easier. So without them I wouldn’t have gotten athlete of the week.”

Dean takes pride in her shot. She’s always tuning her jump shot in and out of practice, which helps her knock shots down during those big game moments.

Dean and her team always put in extra hours of work outside of practice. They all go to the gym often and put in the extra work on their shots and overall communication to make sure they all are solid come game day.

“[My teammates and I] are in the gym all the time so just trying to get that feeling of knowing the shot is going in when I shoot helps out a ton,” Dean said.

On Saturday, Feb. 9 the Golden Grizzlies faced off against long-time rival Detroit Mercy. The Golden Grizzlies won their last bout against Detroit Mercy earlier this season and defeated them again in Calihan Hall. Against Detroit, Dean scored a career-high 30 points and hit nine 3-pointers. Dean says the key to winning this game is solid defense and constant ball movement.

“We know they’re our rival so we are always going to play hard,” Dean said. “Defense is the major thing, making sure we get stops on defense is very important. On the offensive side we need to move and pass the ball around, find open shots and be selfless. If we can do that then we can get the win.”

Dean and the rest of the women of the Golden Grizzlies squad will return home on Thursday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, for a game against the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars at 7 p.m..