The Miami University women’s basketball team picked up a crucial win on Wednesday night, taking down intrastate rival University of Akron 54-49 in front of a Millet Hall crowd. The victory breaks a six game losing streak for the RedHawks (8-16, 2-9 MAC), who had not won a game since January 11th.
The game proved to be a close one from the start, as the two squads went back and forth in the early minutes. Sophomore guard Kendall McCoy set the tone for the ’Hawks, scoring the team’s first four points on two mid-range jumpers. Sophomore guard Leah Purvis would later hit a buzzer beater to give the Red and White a 10-9 lead after one.
In the second quarter, the Zips took the lead at 18-14 with just under two minutes to play before the half. MU quickly responded as baskets from freshman forward Savannah Kluesner and Purvis propelled the team onto a 6-0 run that helped tie the game at 20 before the break.
Miami jumped out on an 8-2 run in the third quarter behind three pointers from Purvis and freshman guard Lauren Dickerson. The Zips would later narrow the ’Hawks lead, but four straight points from Kluesner helped MU cling to a 35-33 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
After a McCoy bucket put the RedHawks up 46-43 with just under the seven minutes to play, neither team managed to score again until the one-minute mark. With 13 seconds left, Akron got the game within one at 50-49, but Miami was up to the task as Dickerson and McCoy sank four from the line and the defense held on the seal the much needed win.
“You win the game at the free throw line when you have the chance and that’s what we did,” head coach Cleve Wright said.
McCoy (14 points), Dickerson (13 points), and Purvis (11 points) finished in double figures for the ’Hawks, while Kluesner dominated the boards with a career-high fifteen rebounds. MU shot 31.7 percent from the field for the evening.
Akron tallied eleven turnovers on the night, compared with fifteen for Miami. Yet, the Red and White overcame it with a gritty performance that delivered a much needed victory.
“We knew we had two things to do tonight: pound the boards and play great defense. It was really a team effort tonight,” McCoy said.
With the losing streak behind them, the RedHawks now head back on the road to square off against Eastern Michigan University on Saturday afternoon. They look to winning back to back for the first time since mid-December.