Women’s basketball earns first-ever Horizon League win

Adam Kujawski

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The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies (6-9, 1-1) defeated their newfound rival, the University of Detroit Mercy Titans (3-13, 0-3), 78-63 at Calihan Hall on Saturday afternoon. Four Grizzlies scored in double digits in a dominant effort to spoil the Titans’ homecoming game.

“Great first Horizon League win for our program,” OU head coach Jeff Tungate said in an interview with OUGrizzlies.com. “We really did a nice job defensively this afternoon and ran good offense in the second half.

“I cannot tell you how much we appreciate our fans. Seeing all the Grizz Gang, boosters, families and friends in attendance really means a lot to our program. They played a huge part in our win.”

Elena Popkey tallied a double-double and was Oakland’s leading scorer as she netted 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting – including 3-of-4 from behind the three-point line – in addition to grabbing 10 rebounds.  She was joined in scoring by Bethany Watterworth, Kim Bee and Olivia Nash, who added 17, 16 and 12 points, respectively.

The Grizzlies held the lead the entire game, and after a quick start, they found themselves ahead 20-7 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

A flurry of Oakland fouls toward the end of the half allowed the Titans to erase most of the deficit and head into the locker room down by a score of 30-27, despite shooting just 25 percent from the field.

Titans guard Senee Shearer scored 13 of her game-high 29 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half. Poor defense and additional foul trouble kept the Titans within striking distance until Oakland’s Kim Bee scored eight points in four minutes down the stretch.

The 78-63 victory improves the Grizzlies to 1-1 on their inaugural Horizon League season, while dropping the Titans to 0-3 in conference play on the year. OU will look to sweep Detroit when the two teams meet again at the Athletics Center O’rena  Feb. 13.

Next up, Oakland will host the University of Illinois at Chicago Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m.