Oakland Comeback Falls Short Against IUPUI In Horizon League Quarterfinals
By Seth J. Walker
Detroit- The seventh seeded Oakland Golden Grizzlies came up short against the second seeded IUPU Jaguars Saturday afternoon, losing 56-49 in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Golden Grizzlies, who lost both regular season meetings, were hoping that the third time would be the charm against the Jaguars. They managed to overcome a 20-8 first quarter deficit to come within one with more than three minutes left in the game.
“I said it when I was talking yesterday that the nickname to our theme should be rollercoaster because we’re up and down,” Oakland head coach Jeff Tungate said. “The difference in this game and other games is that, the first quarter, we weren’t making shots, and it affects our defense. We stop playing, we don’t play hard, and things like that. The difference between tonight and other games we played is we snapped out of it. We snapped out of it. We found a way to get back into the game. Gave us another chance to win.”
Two key blocks by Oakland’s junior forward Mercy Agwaniru on IUPUI’s senior guard Danielle Lawrence gave the Golden Grizzlies momentum at the end of the second quarter, trailing 32-25 at halftime.
The Jaguars ultimately finished the game with a 12-2 run to advance to the semifinals.
“I thought our kids have done a good job all year of focusing on a one game at a time mentality,” Jaguars head coach Austin Parkinson said. “Today, I thought that showed because there was a stretch where they made a nice run late in the game, and our kids found a way to answer.”
Senior guard Danielle Lawrence and forward Macee Williams, the Horizon League Freshman of the Year, each scored 14 points for the Jaguars. Williams also had eight rebounds while Lawrence added four steals. Junior forward Tamya Sims had seven rebounds.
Senior forward Leah Somerfield led the Golden Grizzlies with 13 points and eight rebounds. Two of her three pointers helped the Golden Grizzlies make their comeback. Fellow senior, guard Sha’Keya Graves was the only other player in double figures for Oakland with 10 points. Two other seniors, guards Taylor Gleason and Cierra Bond recorded six assists and three steals respectively. However, for those four players, along with fellow senior guard, senior Korrin Taylor, the realization began to sink in afterwards that their collegiate careers were now over.
“It doesn’t just hurt for us, it hurts for our boosters and our fans who come out to our games all the time,” Gleason said while fighting back tears. “We just wish we would have been able to close one out and really keep it going.”
The Jaguars now advance to the semifinals and will now have Sunday off while they await the winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal between third seed Wright State and sixth seed Cleveland State.