The Miami University women’s basketball team fell to Butler this past weekend, losing 68-60 to the Bulldogs and falling to 1-6 on the year. Freshman Courtney Osborn once again led the RedHawks with 22 points, while sophomore Rachael Hencke had 11 points to go with four rebounds.
Osborn was in foul trouble for most of the game and played only 29 minutes, the lowest number of minutes she has played all season. As a result, the RedHawks had to rely on other guards such as seniors Courtney Reed and Ashleigh Brown as well as sophomore guard Maggie Boyer.
“Boyer was our best defensive player (in this game),” Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa said. “We kept rotating her on to (Butler’s) ‘hot’ player at the time to slow them down.”
Boyer finished with 10 points and seven assists, while Reed contributed eight points and four rebounds and Brown had five points and eight boards to lead the team in rebounding. Six of Brown’s eight rebounds came on the defensive end, which the RedHawks have focused on throughout the season.
“We still need to improve our defense and our rebounding,” Fantanarosa said. “Our post defense is good but we need our team to take ownership in having pride in their defense. We just need to be able to put it all together for 40 minutes.”
Miami trailed 34-24 at the half, but they were able to cut the advantage to 38-32 with just more than 15 minutes remaining in regulation. The lead remained around six points until around the four minute mark, when Butler was able to drain a desperation three-pointer as the shot clock ran down, stretching the lead to nine points.
The RedHawks stayed close for the rest of the game, but Butler hit clutch free throws at the end of the game to seal the victory.
“We are not playing well enough to win, but we are improving each game,” Fantanarosa said. “We need to focus on having productive minutes from each of our players. Confidence is important and sometimes we are hesitant with our execution and defensive intensity.”
This year’s team is much younger than past teams. There are only two seniors and one junior on this year’s squad, which Fantanarosa believes is a big plus.
“There are six or seven freshmen and sophomores who get regular playing time,” Fantanarosa said. “However, they have only been together since mid-October and haven’t played together enough yet. It has only been seven games and we need to stay focused on improving from game to game.”
Miami went 11-for-17 from the free throw line, while Butler was 27-for-39. However, Fantanarosa said she was still very pleased with the team’s aggressiveness.
“This is one of the best teams that I have had at getting free throw attempts,” Fantanarosa said. “It is still early and I am pleased at how much we are getting to the (free throw) line.”
The RedHawks host Wright State Wednesday in the second annual “Class at the Court.” More than 1,800 students from three area elementary schools will be in attendance.
“We do community service at these elementary schools throughout the year, and we have a very good relationship with the community,” Fantanarosa said. “We enjoy giving back to the community and this is a great way to do that.”
Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Millett Hall.