Oakland women's season officially finished
The Golden Grizzlies were hoping to play in their third WNIT in four seasons, but the Golden Eagles will be taking that trip, while the Jackrabbits will be going to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.
Oakland coach Beckie Francis and her players were in attendance Tuesday afternoon.
"We had our whole team sit there and watch it so we would know immediately what the outcome was and whether we'd be playing in the postseason or not," Francis said. "The raw emotion is maybe cold cruelty and torture to have our players sit their live, but I just wanted them to see the atmosphere and how hard it is to play here at South Dakota State and win in the championship game. So there were two reasons we did it that way."
Were the Grizzlies openly rooting for the Golden Eagles? No, just on the inside.
"I told them, 'Be careful,' because there's 6,000 South Dakota State fans watching them and we still have to travel to Brookings, (S.D.) next year and potentially play them again for the championship," Francis said. "But I did see a few claps once in a while when Oral Roberts would make a basket."
The No. 2 Grizzlies became the third team of that seed to fall in the quarterfinals, when they lost to No. 7 Western Illinois, 68-57, Saturday.
"Our career here has been amazing," senior forward Hanna Reising said after a Monday practice. "I'm not going to just think back on this one game, obviously it's not how I wanted to finish my career, but the teammates I've played with over the last four years and the experiences I've had with them are unforgettable and I'm not just going to think about this last game we had."
Reising is one of three Oakland seniors along with All-League First Team guard Melissa Jeltema and point guard Riikka Terava.
Oakland hadn't lost in the tournament quarterfinals since 2003-04. The Grizzlies lost to South Dakota State in the finals last season.
Paul Kampe covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @PaulKampe.