Breanna Perry rediscovers her passion for basketball


Photo Courtesy of Jose Juarez

Perry (second from the left, back row) poses with her teammates, showing off their Mamba Mentality T-Shirts.

Michael Pearce, Editor-In-Chief

Losing the love of the game can be the end of a college athlete’s career. Breanna Perry was close to calling it quits after leaving Temple University, but a visit to Oakland University changed her mind.

Temple was the one team Perry felt was consistent with her after she tore her ACL during her high school junior season. Once she got there, she felt the coaches were different than they were during recruitment, and she began to lose the love of basketball.

“I said ‘okay, mom I’m not really feeling the same about basketball — I don’t really have the same passion and the same love,’” Perry said. “I was still looking for another school because I wasn’t sure if I didn’t want to play anymore.”

Head Coach Jeff Tungate, who saw Perry play at Flushing High School, said he just needed two hours. Shortly after visiting OU, Perry committed.

“I just was like, ‘this is the most genuine person I’ve ever dealt with in basketball since I’ve been in high school or middle school,’” Perry said. “I liked the vibes he gave me, and everything wasn’t sugar coated when I did come here. I really loved the fact he was so genuine with me.”

Perry won a state championship at Flushing, recording 12 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocks in the title game. Flushing won three metro league titles with her on the team.

“As soon as I heard she was leaving we wanted to make sure we made that phone call and got her on campus as quick as possible,” Tungate said.

Coming out of high school, Perry had talks with Oklahoma State University, DePaul University and Temple. In her freshman season at Temple, the 6-foot-1-inch forward was second on her team in blocks.

Tungate, who likes to press on defense, stressed the importance of Perry being on the team to help play that style of aggressive defense.

“She’s super athletic, can really run the floor and is a really good rebounder,” he said. “She’s going to allow us to press a lot this upcoming season because she’s really going to be good on the ball and trapping in the press. That part is exciting.”

For Perry, continuing her typical aggression on defense will be no problem. Her main goal for the 2020-2021 season is to improve on the offensive end.

“I don’t want to shy away from the ball on offense,” Perry said. “I don’t want to be someone who just passes the ball or doesn’t look to take shots. I want to break out of that shell because I have the capability to do it.”

Despite not playing last season, Tungate noticed that Perry took no time accepting a leadership role, something she will be expected to do as a junior.

“Everybody on the team loves her — she has a great personality,” he said. “She came in and took a leadership role right from the start — she’s someone that is very well respected.”

Aside from X’s and O’s, Perry felt she fits in with the team off the court, despite entering the locker room as a newcomer.

“I saw how goofy, outgoing and fun they were, they seemed really cool,” she said. “I started talking to everybody and getting feedback from everybody, and everyone was so open and welcoming. I really liked how they just took me in as if I’d been here the whole time they had been here.”

Last season, the Golden Grizzlies finished 6-12 in the conference and lost in the first round of the Horizon League tournament to the Milwaukee Panthers.

Perry steps onto the court for her first season with a team that didn’t lose anyone through graduation or the transfer portal. The entire roster returns, adding Perry to the mix.

“Last season we learned a lot about ourselves,” she said. “We figured a lot of stuff out and I feel like everybody took what we learned last season and we are applying it this season. I just want people to come out and be like ‘dang, we have to play Oakland.’ I want that respect.”