While the men’s basketball team had multiple home games over the winter recess, the women’s basketball team spent their time on the road as they opened Horizon League play with three consecutive road games.
To kick off the season, the Golden Grizzlies took on their rival, the University of Detroit Mercy Titans, at Calihan Hall. Oakland pulled out to an early lead, taking control in the first quarter and leading 20-12. Chloe Guingrich was the team’s leading scorer as the Golden Grizzlies maintained control of the lead for the rest of the game.
Guingrich recorded a near double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jalisha Terry was not far behind in points, scoring 15 points and hitting three 3-pointers. Against their rival, the team as a whole shot better than Detroit from the field, three-point range and from the free throw line. They out rebounded the Titans and recorded 10 more assists than Detroit as well, leading to a consistent offensive attack.
After beating Detroit 71-57, the team’s overall record improved to 6-6 and their Horizon League record sat at 1-0.
In their next game, the Golden Grizzlies traveled to Indianapolis to face the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars, one of the best teams in the conference. In the previous season, the Jaguars finished 13-5 in the Horizon League and 20-12 overall.
The Jaguars took complete control of the game in front of their home crowd, winning by a final score of 76-41. IUPUI was able to limit Oakland’s offense from the start of the game, only giving up eight points in the first quarter. After two competitive quarters in the second and third, the Jaguars outscored the Golden Grizzlies 28-12 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we came out and hung tough in the first half,” Associate Head Coach Ke’Sha Blanton told GrizzVision. “In the second half we had some defensive breakdowns that we normally don’t have. We have to do a better job of communicating on the floor.”
Oakland would improve offensively in their next game against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. After going down by nine at halftime, the Golden Grizzlies came out in the second half and battled back to erase the deficit.
The second half rally kicked off with the Golden Grizzlies slowly erasing the Flames’ lead in the third quarter, which eventually culminated in an 11-3 run to start the fourth quarter. That run gave Oakland their first lead of the game, 54-53. After a UIC player missed what would be the game-winning shot, the game headed to overtime.
In overtime, the Flames were able to recreate some of their defensive efforts from the first half, scoring seven unanswered points before Kahlaijah Dean eventually broke the drought with two free throws. UIC pulled away, with the final score sitting at 70-64.
The next four games for the women’s basketball team are home games, starting with a match-up against longtime Horizon League powerhouse Green Bay on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.