Monday, March 20, 2006
Oakland falls to Ohio State in NCAA first round
|April Kidd shoots over an Ohio State player.
Led by junior Nicole Piggott’s (Pewamo, Mich.) 14 points and eight rebounds, the 16-seed Oakland University women’s basketball team fought hard March 19 against top-seeded Ohio State, but the Buckeyes claimed a 68-45 win over the Golden Grizzlies in the first round of the NCAA Division I Tournament. Senior Anne Hafeli (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) also tallied double figures with 13 points.
Ohio State had the size advantage down low with both of its starting post players scoring in double figures, but Oakland’s perimeter defense was as stingy as ever, holding two of the Buckeye starting guards scoreless for the night. The Golden Grizzlies also had four blocks in the defensive battle and held their opponent under 70 points for the 15th time this season.
The Buckeyes (29-2) repeatedly went to 6-foot-5 Jessica Davenport, Big 10 Conference player of the year, and 6-1 Debbie Merrill. Davenport had a double-double in the first half and finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds, a school record for boards in an NCAA Tournament game. Merrill had 23 points, four rebounds and four assists.
With 4:36 left to play, action was stopped because of a cut above senior Jayme Wilson’s (Shawnee, Kan.) right eye after she was accidentally elbowed going for a loose ball. Unfortunately, Wilson did not return to the game as her cut required stitches. She finished with six points in the game to bring her career total to 1,785, which ranks sixth all-time in Oakland history.
Hafeli finished out her Oakland career with 1,469 points to rank eighth in OU’s record book, while she also ranks second all-time in three-pointers with 235. Senior Lakeshia White (Flint, Mich.) wrapped up her career with a strong effort in the game, grabbing seven boards, adding two points and a block.
This was the Golden Grizzlies second appearance in the Women's NCAA Division I Tournament. OU’s first appearance was in 2002, with Beckie Francis also in the head coaching role. After that season, Francis took a three-year break from coach for health reasons. She returned this season to lead the Golden Grizzlies back into the national spotlight.
|Nicole Piggott drives to the basket.
Oakland earned the trip to the big dance by defeating top-seeded Western Illinois 65-56 in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship game March 7.
For more information on OU’s second trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament, visit the Road to the NCAA Tournament Web page, which includes stories, photos and related links. For more information on the women’s basketball team, visit the OU Athletics Web site.