Tungate weighs in on upcoming women’s basketball season

The Oakland University women’s basketball team is getting set for their second year under head coach Jeff Tungate. The Grizzlies finished 13-17 last year, going 8-8 in Horizon League play and hope to build on that this year.  The women are predicted to finish sixth in the conference this year, the same spot they finished last year.

What expectations do you have for this year?

We want to continue to move our program forward. Last year was a decent start for our first year, but now we have to take that next step in building the program. What I want is a team that will compete every night and expect success. If we follow the process, the results will take care of themselves.

Where do you feel your team is strongest? What areas in particular?

I think our strength is that we have great chemistry and a commitment to hard work. They are a fun group to be around and hopefully will continue to improve each week. I feel like we shoot the ball better this year and have a little more depth.

How do you deal with player loss, and player additions?

We obviously had a great group of seniors last year in Kim Bee, Victoria Lipscomb and Bethany Watterworth. They did some remarkable things in helping us turn around this program. Graduation [and injury] are part of collegiate athletics. It’s now time for someone else to carry the torch and if someone gets hurt, we have the “next person up” mentality. We are a young team, with nine of our 14 players not playing in a Division I game last year. I will never allow that to be an excuse for this team. With youth and inexperience also brings excitement and a commitment to learning. I’m really looking forward to watching this team grow throughout the season. 

Where do you feel your team stacks up with the rest of the Horizon League?

I think there are three or four teams that definitely have very talented rosters compared to the rest of the league. However, the most talented team does not always win. Until someone can beat Green Bay, they will always be the regular season favorite. What they have accomplished over many years is simply remarkable. I think based on roster, us being picked sixth is about where I would put us as well. Does that mean we will finish 6th? No, not at all. The team that wins our league will be the team that is playing well in February.

What players will play big roles for the season this year?

We don’t have a “star” system. We rely on a team concept. On any given night, any player can lead us in scoring, rebounding, assists, etc. However, I’m a firm believer you are only as good as your seniors and will only go as far as they will take you. I expect Amy Carlton, Peyton Apsey and Zakiya Minifee to have great senior seasons. 

The Golden Grizzlies’ first home game is Nov. 23 versus Chicago State University.