The Miami RedHawks scored more points in the final 14 seconds than the Ohio Bobcats had in the entire fourth quarter at the Convocation Center on Wednesday night.
After entering the final ten minutes down 58-53, the RedHawks limited Ohio to three points — a layup with seven minutes to go and a single free throw with 1:26 left — while tallying 14 of their own in the quarter.
Senior guard Leah Purvis and senior forward Kendall McCoy contributed a combined five points in the game’s final 14 ticks to cement a 67-61 Miami victory.
The RedHawks’ fourth straight win kicked Ohio out of first place in the Mid-American Conference and snapped its six-game winning streak.
“We were thrilled to go on the road to Athens and have that huge comeback win,” MU head coach Megan Duffy said. “We didn’t have our best first half, and I thought the team really responded to a few adjustments and ultimately had some tremendous grit and determination to beat the rival.”
Miami’s (14-4, 5-2 MAC) comeback bid ran throughout the entire second half. The RedHawks found themselves behind by double digits as early as two minutes into the second quarter, as Ohio (17-2, 6-2 MAC) opened the period with a 7-0 run that made it 24-14.
Ohio held a 39-29 advantage at halftime.
As the MAC’s second-best 3-point shooting team, the Bobcats made six of the 12 threes they launched in first half. Miami shot an abysmal 1-for-9 from deep in the half.
But, something had to give.
Statistically, Miami is the best in the MAC at defending 3-pointers. They came into Wednesday night’s contest allowing opponents to hit just 21.5 percent of their downtown looks.
And, something did give.
The RedHawks held the league’s top scoring team to 1-of-7 from three and 8-of-28 overall from the field, while picking up their own shooting in the second to climb back into and, eventually, win the game.
“I think we didn’t do a great job guarding the 3-point line [in the first half], and they got too many easy looks,” Duffy said. “We said, ‘Hey, if we’re going to go down, let’s at least take away that and see if we can not trade threes for twos.’ I thought we locked down defensively a little bit better [in the second].”
Junior guard Lauren Dickerson led the ‘Hawk offense by dropping a season-high 28 points, 21 of which came during the second-half comeback.
“Lauren was awesome,” Duffy said. “She got in foul trouble in the first half a little bit, and I put her back in, and she kept her composure and survived to halftime. Then, man, she made big shot after big shot, was hot from three-point land and just had complete control over the team and brought a lot of confidence.”
After a layup by redshirt senior guard Baleigh Reid knotted the game at 60, Dickerson made a layup of her own with 2:19 remaining to give Miami its first lead (62-60) since the first quarter.
An OU free throw cut the RedHawk advantage to one with 1:26 left, but a Purvis 3-pointer and two McCoy free throws in the final seconds ensured a Miami win.
By the end of the game, neither team’s shooting percentages were pretty. The RedHawks shot 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from three, while the Bobcats finished 38 and 37 percent, respectively, in those same categories.
Miami won the rebounding battle 36-25 behind a career-high 16 boards from junior forward Savannah Kluesner. Kluesner posted 21 points to complete her double-double.
Redshirt freshman forward Erica Johnson led Ohio with 16 points. She was one of the four Bobcat scorers in double figures and also tied two other players for a team-high six rebounds.
The RedHawks stay on the road through this weekend. They’ll stop in Kalamazoo on Saturday to take on the Western Michigan Broncos.
“Our conference is so good right now,” Duffy said. “I think we’re still under the radar, and we’re fine with that. More so, not only did we beat Ohio U. and Central, but we beat them on their home floors, which is really tough. Now, it’s about settling back down and getting our composure and getting ready for Western.”
That contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.