Women’s basketball loses 74-58 in home opener

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Women’s basketball loses 74-58 in home opener

Women’s basketball starts their season with a home game against Bradley University on Friday, Nov. 8.

Women’s basketball starts their season with a home game against Bradley University on Friday, Nov. 8.

Sergio Montanez

Women’s basketball starts their season with a home game against Bradley University on Friday, Nov. 8.

Sergio Montanez

Sergio Montanez

Women’s basketball starts their season with a home game against Bradley University on Friday, Nov. 8.

Michael Pearce, Sports Editor

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After losing the eighth all-time scorer in Taylor Jones, the Golden Grizzlies have no seniors this season. They kicked off their 2019-20 season with a home game against the Bradley University Braves.

The Braves finished fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2018-19, and recorded a 20-10 overall record. Their team was led by Chelsea Brackmann and Gabi Haack, who were all-conference first team players in 2019.

A 27-point third quarter from the Braves proved to be the difference in the Golden Grizzlies’ home opener, as Oakland University lost, 74-58.

“The biggest thing we have to do is learn from this,” Tungate said. “We can’t come out tentative. If we had come out with the aggression we had in the fourth quarter, that whole first half would have been different.”

The first bucket for the Golden Grizzlies came on a Kahlaijah Dean 3-pointer with seven minutes to go in the first quarter. Both teams struggled offensively to start the game, shooting under 30% from the floor in the first five minutes.

Oakland took a 5-4 lead, but Bradley quickly took control of the game, getting open looks on layups and jump shots. After one quarter the score was 17-11, in favor of the Braves.

Bradley kept up with the game plan of forcing turnovers and getting inside during the second quarter. They consistently got to the free throw line, hitting 8-13 free throws in the first half.

Oakland was able to go on a 6-0 run after the Braves went scoreless for four minutes, and the lead was cut in half. The Golden Grizzlies were able to cut the lead to one possession at the half, 26-23.

Bradley opened up the second half firing, increasing their lead to eight, which forced Tungate to call a timeout. The Golden Grizzlies were 2-7 from the floor and were getting out-rebounded seven to three.

The deficit for Oakland continued to grow as they struggled to make a shot. Myka Cromwell broke the drought when she hit a layup and got fouled to give the team their third field goal in the third quarter with three minutes remaining. Cromwell provided five of the team’s 13 third quarter points.

“I thought Myka came in and did some good things for us off the bench,” Tungate said. “Teneea Heston gave us a lift because she was attacking the basket and going aggressively to the rim. Those two did a good job of attacking the rim, we just need more people to do that.”

Oakland scored a similar number of points as they had in the first and second quarters, the difference was the Braves scoring more points (27) in the third quarter than the entire first half (26).

“In the third quarter we weren’t running good offense, we weren’t getting stops and we were fouling too much,” Tungate said.

The fourth quarter was much like the third, as both teams were able to score easier than they had in the first half. On a loose ball in the fourth quarter, junior Autumn Kissman went down with an apparent right ankle injury and limped off the court unassisted. Tungate said after the game he believes she will be OK with just a minor injury, although she did not play the next game against Concordia.

Bradley closed out the fourth quarter to win the game, although Oakland outscored them 22-21 in the fourth quarter.

“We learned that we have what it takes to be a decent team,” Tungate said. “We just have to put things together more consistently.”

The next home game for the women’s basketball team is Wednesday, Dec. 18 against Central Michigan University.