Golden Grizzlies’ women’s basketball team prepares to take next step


Maggie Willard

The women’s basketball team practices at the O’rena. Their season opener is Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

Christian Tate, Sports Reporter

After the promising success of last season, the Golden Grizzlies women’s basketball team is prepared to make another leap toward success this season. 

After notching a respectable 12-12 [.500%] record with a 12-8 [.600%] conference record and securing a Horizon League playoff berth during their 2020-2021 season, the sky’s the limit for the potential of this team. With this mix of young upstart and veteran players being coached by an experienced leader in Head Coach Jeff Tungate, we could be poised to see major improvements in play on both sides of the ball. 

Tungate said his team is looking to build on what they accomplished last season.

“Well, I think that we got a taste of winning, and I think our team, having gotten a taste of winning, now wants more,” he said. “So I think it really helped in our offseason workouts and having that taste of seeing what it’s like has gotten them to want more and they’ve put in the effort to where we really want to build on what we did last year.”

Building upon last season’s success is always a goal for every team, but this team has been working to see improvements in very specific areas of the court. 

Tungate said the team must improve defensively in order to find success this season. 

“We really worked hard on that in the offseason,” Tungate said. “We really worked hard in the preseason, and I think that you’re gonna see a much better defensive team, at least compared to what you saw last year. It’s been a real point of emphasis for us and something we really need to improve and we’ve seen the improvement in practice and now we just have to carry it over to the games.” 

In practice, Tungate leads a group mixed with freshman, seniors and even a graduate student on the roster. In regard to what it’s like to coach such a mixed bag of ages and classes on the team, he said, “It’s nice because you’ve got a group of young people coming in with a group of veterans that know what our expectations are and how we do things and they do a great job of teaching them about the way we do things here at Oakland.”

Tungate continued on, saying, “You never want to have just one too overloaded and I think we’ve got a good balance now to where the upperclassmen can lead the underclassmen and everybody can help foster the really good chemistry we have on this team. I think we’ve done a good job of balancing out our classes now, so it’s good to see that there’s different groups that have different numbers in each class because that’s an important part to us not just being successful but to sustaining that same success.” 

While on the topic of sustained success, Coach Tungate was asked how successful he thinks this team can be in its current state. 

“It’s early, but I think we’ve got a really good basketball team,” he said. “How good we are has yet to be seen, and I have an idea about what the rest of the [Horizon] league has, but you just never know until you actually get to the league play.” 

Tungate said the team’s improvement over the course of the season will determine how well they perform, 

“I think we’ve got a very high ceiling on this team, and I don’t want to put this team in a box to where — this is what we can accomplish and things like that — but I do think we have a high ceiling and we just have to go out on the court and see where we’re at,” he said.” If we can continue to get better everyday and continue to get better as we get to March, then I think this team can achieve a lot of things.”

The Golden Grizzlies women’s basketball team will open up the season against the University of Toledo on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the O’rena.