Women’s basketball loses to Northern Kentucky in Horizon League clash


Photo courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

Brianna Breedy dribbles the ball down the court against Northern Kentucky on Jan. 15.

The Oakland University women’s basketball team [7-8, 5-3 HL] fell to the Northern Kentucky Norse [11-3, 5-2 HL] 79-67 Saturday afternoon at the O’Rena. 

The win allowed the Norse to surpass Oakland in the Horizon League Standings as the Golden Grizzlies fell all the way to fifth place. 

Oakland had five players enter the scoring column before the first media timeout, led by transfer guard Aaliyah McQueen with five quick points. Kayla Luchenbach was a force underneath in the first quarter with six points and two rebounds of her own. The Grizzlies and Norse were tied at 20 after one quarter. 

In the second quarter, after a few minutes of back-and-forth action, the Golden Grizzlies would go ice cold. They would go on a scoring drought that would eclipse the seven-minute mark. They couldn’t buy a bucket and kept turning it over. Luchenbach finally ended the drought with a buzzer beater to end the half. But by that time, Oakland was already down big. Northern Kentucky led 40-28 at the half. 

Interim Head Coach Ke’Sha Blanton said they “just stopped hitting shots” in the second quarter. 

“We have times where we just go into droughts and we got to find a way when we’re not hitting the three to start attacking the basket,” Blanton said.

The Norse scored 14 points off Oakland turnovers in the first half, compared to just two for the Grizzlies off NKU turnovers. 

The Golden Grizzlies would find their stride again offensively to start the second half. They were mostly getting it done in the paint. At the 4:32 mark in the third quarter, C’Erra Maholmes would drive and score to get the lead down to four, forcing a Northern Kentucky timeout. Oakland did their best to keep up, but Northern Kentucky kept the pressure on. The Norse led 57-51 at the end of the third quarter. 

Maholmes and Breanne Beatty led the team with 12 points apiece entering the fourth quarter. 

With 8:19 left in the game, NKU missed a free throw but was able to get the rebound and putback to put the Norse back up 12. That sequence sums up this game quite nicely. Northern Kentucky was just always one step ahead. At the end of the day, Oakland couldn’t get enough stops and lost the turnover battle. Northern Kentucky would take this one 79-67.  

Luchenbach tied a career high with 18 points, and Beatty set another career high with 17 points, surpassing her previous career high of 16 which she set Thursday night against Wright State. McQueen also set a career high with 13 points. 

“That’s what I love about this team,” Blanton said. “Everybody’s so unselfish and they’re not looking to get theirs. They get it off of people attacking and passing and just making plays. I’m very proud of them. They’re getting opportunities that they hadn’t had before, and they’re taking full advantage of them. They’re all great kids, so to see them have success on the court is really great.”

Star senior guard Kahlaijah Dean had missed the past few games. Blanton confirmed that it was indeed injury-related, and she has no update at this time.

“That’s something I gotta go find out and we’ve got to sit down with our doctors and figure out what’s going on,” she said. 

The Golden Grizzlies will be back on the blacktop on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. when they take on arch rival Detroit Mercy.