Frustration could be felt on and off the court Tuesday night as the Miami University women’s basketball team struggled against the Ohio University (OU) Bobcats in the Battle of the Bricks.
After a rough battle on offense and an even greater struggle on defense, the RedHawks’ record now stands at 10-8, and the team drops to 2-3 in the Mid-American Conference.
The first half of the contest started out with OU scoring first. The ‘Hawks managed to take the lead a couple times early on as a result of three-point shots made by junior guard Maggie Boyer and sophomore guard Courtney Osborn.
“We knew they were athletic, we knew we needed to box out and we knew they were going to penetrate,” Boyer said.
As expected, the Bobcats did penetrate. A 9-0 run took the 8-6 lead away from Miami, and with a final 10-6 run before the half, the RedHawks headed into the locker room down 33-23.
The Red and White didn’t seem to have any more success in the second half. Just four minutes in, the Bobcats increased their lead to 13. They would let Miami catch up a couple times, closing the gap to six, but would then respond with crisp three-point shots.
The RedHawks were crushed on rebounds as well. They were outrebounded by the Bobcats 50-41 and gave up 23 offensive rebounds over the entire course of the game.
“Rebounding was a big factor, we knew that was the number one focus, and we didn’t do it,” Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa said. “That was the biggest reason why Ohio was in this game offensively.”
Jump shots and layups were made late in the second half by Boyer, sophomore forward Kirsten Olowinski and freshman guard Hannah Robertson to try to give Miami a chance to take the lead, but OU never lost momentum and cruised to a 69-56 victory.
“We’re a young team, but we have to learn to fight even when we have adversity, and I think that is one of our biggest problems right now,” Boyer said.
Besides a significant injury and losing on the boards, Miami had players in foul trouble throughout the game. Four players had four fouls each, and with 30 seconds left in the game Robertson fouled out. However, what concerns Fantanarosa more than her players in foul trouble is the team’s defense and the players’ ability to rebound and box out.
“Defensively we should always be consistent,” Fantanarosa said. “The defensive part is we’re still gaining trust in each other, and that has to end with the rebound. So when our defense is good but we don’t box out, we lose confidence in the defense versus just in the rebounding, and that’s because we’re a young team.”
With the team’s roster and starting line up consisting of juniors, sophomores and freshmen, the RedHawks are a young team. However, learning to trust each other on the court and building a consistent defense is a learning experience the Red and White can grow from.
The RedHawks will return to action Jan. 23 when they travel to DeKalb, Ill. to take on the Northern Illinois University Huskies.