Despite suffering their first defeat at Millett Hall against Bowling Green State University Thursday night, the Miami University women’s basketball team did not hit the panic button.
Instead, the RedHawks returned to their winning ways Sunday with a well-earned 82-67 victory over the Broncos of Western Michigan University.
“We knew this would be a tough game coming off a tough, emotional loss to Bowling Green,” Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa said. “Western gave us some mismatch problems, so we knew we would be in for a 40 minute game.”
With the win, the RedHawks improved their record to 15-4 and 5-1 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and dropped Western Michigan to 5-14 (2-4 MAC).
Miami sprinted out of the gates with a 9-0 run to make the score 9-2 after only three minutes of play.
But following with what would be their theme of the night, the Broncos did not go away quietly.
They chipped away at the lead, eventually tying the game up at 17 with 10:32 to play in the first half.
The RedHawks then flexed their wings and went on a 18-5 run, fueled by 12 points from junior guard Courtney Osborn in a six-minute stretch to push the lead to 35-21 with just under five minutes remaining. The ‘Hawks kept their foot on the gas and took a 46-26 advantage into the break.
“Western Michigan deserves a lot of credit; they never let us get comfortable at any point in the game,” Fantanarosa said. “They’re one of the scrappiest teams we will play and they made it tough on us.”
An Osborn jumper gave the ‘Hawks their largest lead of the night at 53-30 with 16:44 remaining in the game. However, the RedHawks’ shots went as cold as the temperature outside and WMU went on a run of their own, scoring 15 of the next 17 points and bringing the lead down to 55-45 with 12 minutes to play.
A layup by sophomore guard Haley Robertson was able to stop the bleeding and started Miami on a 10-0 push that made the score 65-45 with 7:32 remaining.
Key baskets down the stretch by Osborn and forward Kirsten Olowinski helped Miami close out WMU and pick up their 11th victory at home this season.
“Our defense let down a little bit in the second half, which let them get back into the game,” Osborn said. “Any time you don’t bring your A-game in the MAC, anyone can beat you.”
Osborn led all scorers with 34 points, 21 of those coming in the first half alone.
She seemed to be in the right place when the ‘Hawks needed a score all afternoon.
Senior guard Maggie Boyer also added 14 points, even while playing hurt for most of the second half, and sophomore guard Hannah Robertson continued her strong play, adding 10 points of her own.
The RedHawks next travel to the University of Toledo to face the Rockets at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The defending regular season MAC champion Rockets (11-7, 4-2) are known for their stifling defense and held their last opponent to just 33 points.
Miami will continue to focus on the little things that got them to this point and look to counter with defensive pressure of their own.
“We’re going to work on being more aggressive on defense as opposed to being safe,” Fantanarosa said. “We want to stay focused for 40 minutes and make sure we’re on the same page defensively.”