Women’s basketball ready to prove doubters wrong


Anna Drumm

Jeff Tungate has returned to lead the Oakland women’s basketball team once again.

It’s definitely been an interesting 12 months for the Oakland University women’s basketball team.

Just one year ago, head coach Jeff Tungate and the Golden Grizzlies were picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll, and the team was ready to prove doubters wrong. However, the season did not go how the fans, players or coaches would have liked. Just a few weeks into the season, Tungate was removed from the team due to health concerns.

Tungate underwent back surgery and spent a majority of the season without any communication with the team. In fact, according to Tungate, there was a significant amount of time in which he couldn’t communicate verbally at all.

Interim head coach Ke’Sha Blanton took over for the absent Tungate, and the team finished out the season. 

A semifinal appearance in the Horizon League tournament capped off a strange season, and the offseason officially began for Oakland. 

Blanton left for an assistant coaching position with Eastern Michigan, and a large number of players entered the transfer portal, too. 

Now, the Golden Grizzlies are picked to finish seventh in the Horizon League, and not many media members are putting their belief in Oakland. 

The Golden Grizzlies return a preseason second team All-Horizon League player in Breanne Beatty. Beatty will undoubtedly be Oakland’s most important player this season. 

The 5-foot-8 senior averaged just shy of 10 points and five rebounds per game last season as a junior. Now, as a senior, Beatty will be expected to lead the team both on and off the floor. 

Oakland also brings in UL Monroe transfer Linda Van Schaik. Van Schaik is originally from the Netherlands, and she brings plenty of experience to a rather young Golden Grizzly squad.

In three seasons with UL Monroe, the 5-foot-10 forward appeared in 76 games, 29 of those coming last season as a junior. She averaged just under five points and four rebounds per game.

Another player that will be expected to make a big jump this season is Aaliyah McQueen. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 5.1 points last season in 19 games as a sophomore. The Flint native spent one season in the Big Ten with the Illinois Fighting Illini before she moved back closer to home to play for Tungate and the Golden Grizzlies. 

Brooke Daniels is a player that wasn’t around last season, but the freshman is expected to make an enormous impact in her first year with Oakland. Daniels is a freshman forward from Macomb, and she was a very highly rated recruit. She was the fifth-ranked player in the state of Michigan coming out of high school and received numerous accolades for her efforts. 

The Golden Grizzlies will begin their season on Monday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. at the O’Rena. They will then host Central Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.

Prior to Big Ten play, they will make trips to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, Champaign to take on Illinois and Vermont to compete in the TD Bank Classic.