Women’s basketball gets back in the win column, obliterates Detroit Mercy


Maggie Willard

The Oakland bench celebrates as the team rolls to an easy victory over arch rival Detroit Mercy.

The Oakland Golden Grizzlies women’s basketball team handled the Detroit Mercy Titans rather easily on Thursday night by a score of 80-50. 

The Grizzlies have now won four of its last five games, and are back in the win column after dropping a hard-fought game to Northern Kentucky last week.

Oakland grabbed an early lead over the Titans and never looked back. The Grizzlies led 17-7 after the first quarter behind strong performances from C’Erra Maholmes [6 points], Alona Blackwell [5 points] and Kayla Luchenbach [4 points].

Oakland continued its dominance in the second quarter, outscoring the Titans 23-10. The Grizzlies took a 23-point lead into halftime, as it was well on its way to its eighth victory of the season.

Blackwell and Maholmes led the way for the Grizzlies in the first half, with 11 and 10 points respectively. Blackwell had an impressive half shooting, as she notched 4-7 from the floor and 3-5 from behind the arc. 

The Grizzlies connected on five of 11 3-point shots in the first half, while the Titans failed to connect on one. Oakland also had a very efficient half with the basketball, only turning it over five times. 

Oakland played the rest of the game on cruise control, holding off any momentum that Detroit tried to muster. Interim Head Coach Ke’Sha Blanton was able to play some more inexperienced players in the second half, and freshman Miriam Ibezim scored her first career points as a Grizzly with a pair of free throws.

Overall, Blanton was impressed with what she saw from the freshmen in the final minutes of the game.

“Miriam had five rebounds in seven minutes which was really good to see,” Blanton said. “It’s always good to see the freshmen and just get a look at them outside of practice, and I was really impressed with what they were able to do.”

Scoring was evenly distributed for Oakland, who finished with four players [Aaliyah McQueen, Blackwell, Luchenbach, Maholmes] in double-figures. Kennedie Montue and Sydney Gouard added nine and seven points, respectively.

“I just loved the way we moved the ball,” said Blanton. “We really just look for each other. We don’t take forced shots and we really look for open shooters.”

The Grizzlies improve to 8-8 on the season, and 6-3 in the Horizon League. Oakland now faces a daunting stretch of the season as it stares down a five-game road stretch. The Grizzlies will travel to Detroit to take on the Titans once again on Saturday, followed by tough tests at Robert Morris and at Youngstown State the following week. The Grizzlies will finish the road trip with games at IUPUI and at UIC .

Now, nearly halfway through Horizon League play, Oakland is just half a game back from being tied for second place. It trails Cleveland State, Northern Kentucky and IUPUI by half a game, and Youngstown State by three games.

The Grizzlies are set to take on Robert Morris on Thursday, Jan. 28 at the UPMC Events Center in Pennsylvania.