The Miami University women’s basketball team will travel to DeKalb, Illinois for a Mid-American Conference (MAC) game Sunday against Northern Illinois University (NIU).
The RedHawks (13-7, 5-2 MAC) will take on the Huskies (5-14, 0-6 MAC) after having their five game win streak snapped with a 78-70 loss to the University at Buffalo.
The Bulls (7-13, 5-2 MAC) were led by freshman guard Mackenzie Loesing, who dropped a game high 19 points, six boards and three dimes.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Loesing, who attended high school at St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The ‘Hawks were led by junior guard Hannah Robertson, junior forward Erica Almady and senior forward Kirsten Olowinksi.
Robertson recorded a team high 18 points and chipped in seven boards. Almady had 17 points and seven boards as well. Olowinski recorded yet another double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
“Hannah is our x-factor,” Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa said. “When she is healthy and plays she takes our team to a different level.”
Buffalo’s victory ties them with the RedHawks for first place in the MAC East. The RedHawks will need to regroup against a Huskies team with a deceptive record.
Despite the Huskies’ winless MAC record, they have played all of their games close except one loss to Central Michigan University (12-7, 6-0 MAC).
The Huskies have lost each of the other five games by less than 10 points, and two of those games were decided by three or less points.
Miami Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa believes that defense is the key to the Huskies’ strategy.
“[NIU’s] coach [Kathi Bennett] is known for defense,” Fantanarosa said. “They are a very strong defensive team.”
The Huskies are allowing 62 points a game and are slightly out rebounding them as well. The Huskies’ opponents are shooting just 39 percent on the year.
“Teams struggle with shooting percentage against Northern Illinois,” Fantanarosa said. “We’ll need to find good shots.”
The ‘Hawks will look to improve their MAC record and Fantanarosa looks for Senior Courtney Osborn to continue to lead the ‘Hawks.
“[Osborn] is definitely a leader for the team,” Fantanarosa said. “She takes a lot of attention from defenders which allows other players to succeed.”
Osborn has played all but one game for the ‘Hawks this season. Senior Kirsten Olowinski has played every game this year and Fantanarosa called her the ‘Hawks “most consistent player.”
Olowinski was named the MAC East Player of the Week for the third time this year last week.
The RedHawks have battled injuries all year and gone through many lineup changes and Fantanarosa believes that Hannah Robertson has been a key player and Olowinski also praised the breakout play of the junior.
“Hannah is a very talented and passionate player. She puts in a lot of effort,” Olowinski said.
Olowinski said different players have been stepping up at different times for the RedHawks.
“I don’t think I could name just one person,” Olowinski said. “Everyone has been stepping up on any given day, whether it’s a junior, sophomore or a freshman.”
Hannah’s twin sister Haley and Almady have also helped the team through injuries.
“Almady and Robertson have contributed for us and seized opportunities,” Fantanarosa said. “Haley has been playing a lot more minutes. Even when she is exhausted she is outworking people and fighting.”