By ERICK LEHMAN, Managing Editor
It was loud, and it was something the Wolverines have never seen before.
Oakland University packed the O’Rena Friday morning with 1,700 local elementary school students for its women’s basketball team’s season home opener.
The students, who were celebrating education day, screamed, chanted and danced throughout the game as they cheered for the Golden Grizzlies, causing problems for the Wolverines, whom had never played in an environment quite like this.
Oakland flexed its NCAA Division-I muscles early and often in a 123-38 victory over the University of Michigan-Dearborn women’s basketball team. It was the most points Oakland’s women’s basketball had ever scored in program history, beating out the previous record of 112 points.
UM-Dearborn was led by sophomores Marisa Sauve and Megan Swick, whom each had nine points. Sauve also led the team with seven rebounds.
Oakland senior Olivia Nash scored her 1,000th career point with a basket early in the first quarter.
The Wolverines struggled to rebound against the Golden Grizzlies as there was a clear height advantage, but head coach Dymetrius Ware prepared for it by having his girls put in maximum effort to grab the boards.
“We think rebounding is just effort, how hard you go,” Ware said. “We’ll double down in the post to get situations they don’t get mishandled.”
But the clear height disadvantage between the two teams was not what rattled or caused his team to struggle; it was the atmosphere in which his team was not used to playing in.
“The biggest adjust for the girls today was the noise, and blocking out the noise,” Ware said. “It definitely had an effect, especially when the offense was on the other side of the bench.”
The players shared the same sentiment.
“It was kinda cool until (the kids) started booing us,” freshman Kendall Rose said. “It was really loud, louder than any place I played before. The atmosphere on the floor, it was crazy.”
Another hurdle the Wolverines had to face was the use of a shot clock. They committed five shot clock violations in the game.
“They couldn’t do two things at once, blocking out the noise and watching the shot clock,” Ware said. “With these young ladies our playbook is small right now, these young ladies don’t quite have a grasp of that yet.”
However, despite the tough loss, the Wolverines gained experience for a young team consisting of all freshman and sophomores. Playing in a venue like the O’Rena, and an atmosphere like this, will lead to learning experiences to take on from game to game.
“Super fun game, whether it was a win or loss, it was a fun game,” Hauser said. “Competition wise, if we can learn stuff and take it back, we’ll be pretty solid.”
“A lot of us had pre-game jitters before…a lot of missed lay-ups, we’ll be able to calm it down later,” Rose added. “They’re a lot bigger and stronger, we realize we need to be in the weight room lifting.”
UM-Dearborn will play at Alma College Sunday before returning home Monday to face Marygrove.