The Jaguars entered Monday night’s contest against Oakland University with the opportunity to even their Summit League record at the .500 mark. A big night by junior forward Kerah Nelson lead the Jaguars past the Oakland Golden Grizzlies and put the Jaguars at a 6-6 conference record. The Jaguars only trailed twice as they went on to beat Oakland 64-61. The win puts the Jaguars in a tie for the fourth place in the conference.
Nelson scored 25 points, marking the tenth game this season that she has scored more than 20 points. She completed a double-double by adding 14 rebounds. Emily Phillips also chipped in with 14 points and two blocked shots. In her second game back from a serious ankle injury, sophomore Katie Comello had 12 points and three assists as she provided a crucial spark off the bench.
Facing off against the Golden Grizzlies meant IUPUI would have to shut down the second leading scorer in the Summit League, Bethany Watterworth. In the first half the Jags were able to limit her to just six points and three rebounds, which was a large reason as to why IUPUI had a nine point lead at the half. In the second half Oakland looked to isolate Watterworth on the block, and the 5-11 forward was able to bang in 17 second half points.
The Jags found themselves in a tight game nearing the finish; with a 9-2 Grizzly run tying the game with less than a minute to play. However a missed Oakland shot was corralled by Phillips, who was immediately fouled, giving the junior a chance to ice the game and bring home the win for the Jaguars. Phillips sank both her free throws and an Oakland half-court attempt went wide as IUPUI completed their second two-game conference sweep of the season.
“We came in here knowing that we were a pre-season number nine and we all know this team is much better than a nine”, said Nelson after the game. “We’re just going to keep focusing on our conference match-ups and hopefully we can find ourselves in a nice position for the tournament.”
The IUPUI women’s basketball team will take on a long conference road trip this weekend when they travel first to Southern Utah on Saturday, followed by a trip to Oral Roberts Monday night. The Jaguars upset Oral Roberts on January 14 and will look to do it again a week from Monday night.