Oakland survives fourth-quarter push from Milwaukee, defeats Panthers


Bijon Stigger

Breanne Beatty prepares to take a shot during Saturday’s Cleveland State game.

The Oakland women’s basketball team hosted the Milwaukee Panthers at the O’rena on Friday, Feb. 3, as the two teams fought for a position in the Horizon League standings. Both teams entered the contest at 5-7, and Oakland was able to escape with a close victory to take full control of seventh place in the league.

Brooke Quarles-Daniels, Breanne Beatty, Alexis Johnson and Kennedie Montue all finished in double-figures for the Golden Grizzlies in what was a really solid, all-around team win. 

Things certainly didn’t start out as head coach Jeff Tungate would have hoped, as Oakland fell behind by 10 points less than five minutes into the game. However, Oakland still had plenty of time to play catch up, which it did in impressive time.

The Golden Grizzlies followed up the 10-point deficit with a 10-0 run over just 1:16 of game time, and the score was suddenly tied. 

Milwaukee stretched its lead back to as many as nine points later in the first quarter, but Oakland closed the deficit to only four points by the end of the 10-minute quarter. It was an abnormally high-scoring quarter, and both teams were on track to score well into the 80’s. 

The script was flipped in the second quarter, though.

After the teams combined for 48 points in the first quarter, they combined for just 20 in what seemed to be a complete anomaly of a second quarter. 

Milwaukee finished with six second-quarter points, and it went scoreless over the last 5:44. The Panthers shot just 2-9 from the floor, 0-4 from deep and turned the ball over six times in the second quarter.

Oakland likely could have taken better advantage of Milwaukee’s horrific stretch, but the Golden Grizzlies were still able to flip a four-point deficit into a four-point lead going into the second half.

The lids came off the baskets in the third quarter, and Oakland began to stretch its lead. It got as high as 11 points, but Milwaukee trimmed that lead to seven by the end of the third quarter.

With 4:23 to go in the game, Milwaukee’s Grace Crowley made a layup to tie the game at 63. The Panthers hung around for the remainder of the game, but Oakland showed great resilience as it closed things out. 

Quarles-Daniels and Beatty each finished with 16 points, while Montue and Johnson finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

“We made plays when we needed to. They stepped up and made plays, now we need to get stops when we need to,” Tungate said. “Our defense wasn’t real good tonight, but we made the plays we needed to make — that’s a huge win against a good Milwaukee team.”

“Our defense has to be better, obviously,” Tungate continued. “We got killed inside today on a lot of high-low feeds and stuff like that, so our defense has got to pick up.”

Currently, Oakland is just one game out of fifth place in the conference, which would earn the Golden Grizzlies a bye in the league tournament starting later in February.