Women’s basketball loses third straight game


Maggie Willard

Kendall Folley dribbles the ball up the court against Cleveland State on Feb. 17.

The Oakland women’s basketball team dropped its third straight game on Thursday, Feb. 17 in an 85-65 loss to Cleveland State at the O’rena. This was just the first matchup between the two opponents this season.

Oakland was scheduled to travel to Cleveland State on Saturday, Jan. 8, but that game was canceled.

Oakland struggled early, connecting on just one of its first six shots. However, the Vikings were also cold, making two of their first nine shots from the floor. 

A Kennedie Montue 3-pointer gave the Grizzlies a 7-5 lead with just under six minutes to play in the first quarter. 

That would be the last lead the Grizzlies saw, however. After the Montue triple, Cleveland State went on a 17-7 run to close out the first quarter. 

Oakland didn’t have a player with more than three points in the game’s opening quarter. 

Kahlaijah Dean and Montue each had three points, and Sydney Gouard, C’Erra Maholmes, Breanne Beatty and Kayla Luchenbach all added two points.

The Grizzlies crept their way back into the game in the second quarter. Beatty, Dean and Gouard combined for 10 points in the first two minutes of the second quarter to cut the Vikings’ lead to two. 

Cleveland State didn’t falter, however, and finished the second quarter much like it did the first. 

Led by 16 first half points from guard Destiny Leo, the Vikings enjoyed a comfortable nine-point lead at halftime.

Beatty and Dean carried the load for the Grizzlies in the first half, combining for half [18 of 36] of Oakland’s points.

Oakland couldn’t make up any ground in the third quarter. The Vikings maintained their lead, and held off any potential runs that the Grizzlies tried to make.

Both teams finished with 14 third quarter points, and the Grizzlies were left, still trailing by nine going into the final quarter. 

Things fell apart for the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter. The Vikings jumped out to a commanding 16-point lead less than two minutes in, and they never looked back.

Oakland’s 35 percent fourth quarter shooting clip was not enough to make up the deficit, and Cleveland State won going away.

The Vikings shot 4-9 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, which was more than enough to keep the Grizzlies from putting together a comeback. 

The Grizzlies were dominated on the boards. The Vikings outrebounded Oakland by a staggering 50-25, including 18 offensive boards.

“We just have to hit bodies and get bodies before we go pursue the ball,” Interim Head Coach Ke’Sha Blanton said. “I didn’t think we did a great job of boxing out.”

Dean led the way in scoring for the Grizzlies with 17 points on 6-18 from the floor. Beatty added 12 of her own on 4-6 from the floor. No other Grizzly was in double figures.

“It’s always good to have [Dean] playing really well,” Blanton said. “And obviously we want her and the rest of the team to be able to administer the ball and spread it around. As many threats as we can have on the floor makes it a lot harder for us to be guarded.”

Oakland now sits at 11-13 overall and 9-8 in the Horizon League. The Grizzlies will finish out the regular season on the road with matchups at Northern Kentucky and at Wright State.

The Grizzlies will take on the Norse on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m., and will then travel to Ohio to take on the Raiders on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.