Golden Grizzlies Win Mid-Con Title; Finish 19-10
The Golden Grizzlies never expected the quick success at the Division I level that they achieved in the first two years. In its first year at the Division I level Oakland went 14-13 and this year the Golden Grizzlies went 19-10 overall and 13-3 in the Mid-Continent Conference. The 13-3 mark was good for the regular-season Mid-Continent Conference championship.
In their first eligible year to compete in the post season the Grizzlies once again raised eye brows advancing to the second round of the confernce touranment before getting bumped out by the Crusaders of Valparaiso.
Leading OU in scoring in 1999-00 was guard Beth Zeone a junior transfer from Dunlap, Illinois with 17.4 points a game. Freshman standout Katie Wolfe was second on the team averaging 17.3 points a game and sophomore Sarah Judd averaged 16.9 points a game rounding out the Big 3's scoring arsenal for Oakland.
In the first game of the season Oakland traveled to New York to face Santa Clara in the Columbia tournament November 20. The Golden Grizzlies were down 38-33 at the half and never recovered losing to Santa Clara 84-66. Jamie Ahlgren led the Grizzlies with 18 points and five rebounds in the loss. Record 0-1.
In the second game of the tournament OU faced host Columbia. OU came out on fire taking a 55-39 lead at the half. Ahlgren hit five three pointers in the first half for Oakland leading all scorers at the half with 17 points. Columbia outscored Oakland in the second half 41-40, but OUs strong first half made the difference as the Grizzlies won 95-80. Ahlgren led all scorers with 26 points as she had a game high seven three pointers. Record 1-1.
Oakland opened its home season November 22 against Michigan-Dearborn. The Golden Grizzlies improved their record to 17-0 lifetime against the Wolves with a 101-36 victory. Wolfe came out firing for Oakland as she hit seven of eight shots from the field including 4-4 from three-point land. Wolfe finished with a game-high 25 points. Becky Barok dominated the boards for OU as she grabbed 10 rebounds and punched in nine points. Record 2-1.
Oakland traveled to Tallahassee, Florida to participate in the Florida State Tournament over Thanksgiving break. OU faced Xavier November 26 for the first game in the tourney. The Grizzlies went into the locker room at the half with a 48-41 lead, but the Musketeers outscored the Grizzlies 39-24 in the last 20 minutes of play. Zeone led the Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points. Record 2-2.
In the second game of the tournament Oakland faced the Seminoles of Florida State. Once again OU jumped out to a half time lead, 46-41, but couldnt sustain it as the Seminoles came back in the second half outscoring OU 58-44, to win the game 99-90. Judd led all scorers with 22 points and she also pulled down seven rebounds. Record 2-3.
Oakland returned home for a December 4 matchup with conference opponent Southern Utah. The Grizzlies led at the half 32-25 and went on to beat the Thunderbirds 80-70 picking up their first conference win of the season. Once again Judd led all scorers with 19 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and had two blocks. Record 3-3, 1-0 Mid-Con.
The Golden Grizzlies recorded their first home loss of the season to the Eagles of Eastern Michigan December 11. The Grizzlies came out shooting and recorded a six-point lead at the 17:50 mark. Unfortunately EMU answered as the Eagles led 34-31 at intermission. EMU didnt let up as it outscored OU 34-25 in the second half and went on to win 68-56. Courtney Ruffing led the way for Oakland with 17 points and five rebounds. Zeone had her first double double of the season off the bench with 14 points, 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. Record 3-4.
The Chippewas of Central Michigan came to town December 22. The Grizzlies came out on fire posting a 10-point lead at the 7:44 mark of the first half. OU led 43-25 at the half. The lead never grew any bigger than 18 which was hit a couple of times but not after the 19:33 mark of the second half. Oakland never trailed the Chippewas and ended up defeating CMU 75-61. Wolfe led OU with 27 points. Judd had her second double double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Record 4-4.
The Golden Grizzlies traveled to Detroit to face the Titans of Detroit Mercy December 28. OU trailed the entire game and lost to the Titans by the score of 73-57. Despite the loss Judd collected another double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Record 4-5.
Oakland then traveled to Athens, Ohio to face the Bobcats of Ohio University December 30. Again the Grizzlies trailed the entire game weren't able to recover and lost to the Bobcats 103-92. Wolfe led all scorers with 31 points. Record 4-6.
OU rebounded as it traveled to Morehead, Kentucky to face the Lady Eagles of Morehead State. OU, leading by only one point at the half 36-35, came out on fire in the last 20 minutes outscoring the Lady Eagles 44-36. Zeone torched MSU with a game-high 28 points, while Judd picked up another double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Record 5-6.
The Golden Grizzlies returned home to face the Youngstown State Penguins January 8. OU dropped its first Mid-Continent Conference game against YSU by the score of 84-77. The first 20 minutes started off at a high pace for the Penguins as they led the entire first half and took a 49-44 edge at the intermission. Oakland came out in the second half and was able to tie the game twice at the 7:12 mark at 68 and at the 6:05 mark at 70. From there the Penguins had the edge and OU couldnt capture the lead. Judd led the Golden Grizzlies with 26 points and nine rebounds. Record 5-7, Mid-Con 1-1.
Oakland went to Valparaiso, Indiana to face its first Mid-Con opponent on the road January 13. Oakland jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game and never trailed. OU lead 31-23 after the first 20 minutes of play. Valpo came out on fire in the second half outscoring OU 41-40 but for every Crusader point OUs Wolfe had an answer, hitting four three pointers in the second half. The Golden Grizzlies defeated the Mid-Con favorites 71-64. Wolfe led all scorers with 31 points seven rebounds and four assists. Record 6-7, Mid-Con 2-1.
OU returned home to battle the Cougars of Chicago State January 15. The Grizzlies jumped out to a half time lead of 39-15. Oakland didnt let up in the last 20 minutes of play increasing its lead to 30 at the 11:48 mark. Oaklands highest lead was 36 at the 2:56 mark. OU defeated CSU by the final score of 78-46. Zeone led all scorers with 22 points and Judd collected another double double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, she also dished out 6 assists. Record 7-7, Mid-Con 3-1.
On January 20 the Grizzlies traveled to the Maybee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma to face the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts. Oakland trailed the entire game and in the first half the Grizzlies were down by as much as 20. In the first half OU cut the ORU lead to 12 going into half time down 37-25. Oakland came out in the second half and cut its deficit to as little as five but the Golden Eagles were too strong for OU downing the Grizzlies by the final score of 60-46. Judd led the Grizzlies in scoring and rebounds with 15 and 11, repectively. Record 7-8, Mid-Con 3-2.
The Grizzlies rebounded in Kansas City as they downed the Kangaroos of UMKC by the score of 80-65. Zeone torched the Kangaroos for a season-high 40 points. Zeone was an amazing 14-19 from the field, hitting five of nine three pointers. Wolfe also chipped in 18 points, 12 of them coming off of free throws (12-14). Record 8-8, Mid-Con 4-2.
Oakland traveled to Indianapolis to face IUPUI January 27. OU had a 31-30 lead going into half time. But the Jaguars came out smoking in the second half taking the lead and extending it as much as eight points before the Grizzlies came alive and regained the lead. With 1:25 left in regulation the game was tied at 61-61. The Jaguars Kelli Byers hit the game winning three pointer with :01 seconds on the clock to win the game for IUPUI by the final of 64-61. Judd led the Grizzlies in scoring and rebounds with 23 and seven, respectivley. Record: 8-9, Mid-Con 4-3.
After the heart breaking loss suffered at the hands of the Jaguars, Oakland traveled to Youngstown State January 29. The Grizzlies jumped out to a 37-34 halftime lead, and came out in the second half with intensity. OU never trailed and only allowed a tie twice. Oakland beat YSU in front of 1,300 Penguins fans by the score of 84-79. Oaklands Big 3 poured in 70 points as Zeone scored 34 points, Wolfe 22 and Judd 14 points and 16 rebounds. Record 9-9, Mid-Con 5-3.
The Warriors of Rochester College visited the Golden Grizzlies in the Orena January 31. Oakland scorched the Warriors for 108 points and only gave up 41. Zeone led the Grizzlies blowout with 30 points, while Wolfe poured in 19 points and 11 rebounds, freshman Romica Clint scored 12 points and Judd had 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, one assist shy from a triple double. Record 10-9.
OU went into its first overtime game of the season with the visiting Crusaders of Valparaiso February 2. Oakland and Valpo were tied at 61 at the end of regulation. Judd scored 21 points in 14 minutes at the end of regulation. At the end of the second overtime the two teams were dead locked at 68. At the end of the second overtime the Golden Grizzles were victorious by the score of 83-77. OU scored 15 points to Valpos nine in the second OT. Leading scorers for Oakland were Judd and Wolfe each with 25 points. This victory completed the Golden Grizzlies regular season sweep over the Crusaders. Record 11-9, Mid-Con 6-3.
Oaklands Big 3 once again led the Grizzlies to victory over the T-Birds of Southern Utah. The Golden Grizzlies trailed at the half 41-34 and outscored the Thunderbirds 55-39 in the second half to defeat Southern Utah 89-80 in Cedar City, Utah February 10. Wolfe led Oakland with 29 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Judd had 27 points, eights rebounds and three assists, while Zeone had 24 points and four rebounds. The Big 3 accounted for 80 of Oakland 89 points. Record 12-9, Mid-Con 7-3.
Oakland then traveled to Macomb, Illinois to battle the Westerwinds of Western Illinois February 12. The Westerwinds jumped out to a 6-0 lead two minutes into the game and led 20-12 at the 12:46 minute mark. Wolfe answered with five consecutive points and Zeone gave the Grizzlies the lead 26-24 on a three-pointer at the 4:39 mark of the first half. OU had a 34-28 lead going into half time. Oakland outscored the Westerwinds again in the second half (30-27) to win the game by the final score of 64-55. Wolfe had a game-high 21 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Judd had 16 points, three blocks, and one assist, while Zeone scored her second double double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Record 13-9, Mid-Con 8-3.
IUPUI came to town on February 17 and the Golden Grizzlies wanted paypack for their last second loss against the Jaguars earlier in the season. OU jumped out to a 10-point lead 28-18 at the 3:31 mark, and took a 37-28 halftime lead. In the last 20 minutes of the game Oakland got payback defeating the Jaguars by the final score of 69-54. Zeone led the Grizzlies in scoring with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Record 14-9, Mid-Con 9-3.
The Golden Grizzlies traveled to the windy city to face the Cougars of Chicago State February 19. Oakland led CSU at the half by one point 36-35. OU defeated the Cougars by the score 74-64. Wolfe led the Grizzlies in scoring with 22 points. Clint and Zeone each had 17 points, while Judd had 11 points and nine rebounds in the Oakland win. Record 15-9, Mid-Con 10-3.
Oakland then began its three-game homestand to finish out the regular season. First up was Western Illinois. OU took a 37-32 halftime lead and outscored the Westerwinds by the score of 34-30 in the last 20 minutes of play to win the game by the final of 71-62. Zeone once again led Oakland in scoring with 26 points, Judd had 25 points and 16 rebounds. Record 16-9, Mid-Con 11-3.
UMKC came to town seeking revenge for its loss to the Grizzlies earlier in the season. Though the Kangaroos were able to keep Zeone under 40 points this time, they were unable to keep the Grizzlies in check. OU dominated UMKC and won the game by the score of 79-42. The Big 3 once again powered the Grizzlies to another win. Zeone led all scorers with 26 points, while Judd had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Wolfe added 10 points. Record 17-9, Mid-Con 12-3.
1999-2000 Mid-Continent Conference Champions
Oakland clinched the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title with a win over the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts February 26. Oakland defeated the Golden Eagles in style by the final of 68-49. Judd led all scorers with 25 points and nine rebounds. Record 18-9, Mid-Con 13-3.
Having won the Mid-Con regular season title, Oakland entered the Mid-Con tournament as the number one seed and received a bye for game one.
Oakland faced UMKC in the second round in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Grizzlies jumped out to an 11-point 37-26 lead at the half. UMKC came out in the second half strong and outscored OU 37-31 but OU held on to win the game 68-63. Judd led OU with 26 points, while senior Courtney Ruffing had six points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Record 19-9.
Oaklands cinderella season came to a sudden hault at the hands of the Crusaders of Valparaiso. OU swept the regular season series with Valpo but the Crusaders got the last laugh as they ousted the Grizzlies from the post season with a 83-66 loss. Record 19-10.
Beckie Francis was named the Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year after the 13-3 season in the Mid-Con. Wolfe and Judd were named first team all-conference, while Zeone was tabbed second team. Wolfe was also named the Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year.