Brian Gallagher, For The Miami Student

A week that, for many, involved football and tryptophan-induced comas was much more rigorous for the Miami University women’s basketball team, as they split a pair of games against Indiana University and Stetson University.

On Tuesday evening, the RedHawks played host to the visiting Indiana Hoosiers and sent them back to Bloomington disappointed after Miami won a tough 77-72 contest. The victory brought the ‘Hawks record to 3-1, and gave Coach Maria Fantanarosa her 200th victory at Miami.

“I’ve been really fortunate at Miami to be surrounded by great players and coaches, and each victory has been special,” Fantanarosa said. “I’ve really enjoyed the journey.”

Four RedHawks were in double figures led by junior Courtney Osborn and senior Maggie Boyer, each pouring in 19 points. Senior Rachael Hencke added 13 points including several big shots towards the end of the game that kept the Hoosiers at bay. Even facing a taller Indiana team, Miami held the advantage on the glass 47-37, thanks in part to sophomore Erica Almady’s 10 rebounds.

Fantanarosa noted the competitiveness that the team showed saying, “Indiana was a great step because we were challenged by bigger bodies inside and outside but the team was still able to go out and win together.”

Miami then traveled to sunny DeLand, Fla. on Friday to face the Hatters of Stetson University. This trip was no vacation though as the RedHawks fell 71-62, dropping their record to 3-2. Stetson, off to its best start in 11 years at 5-1, was able to capitalize on Miami turnovers, turning 24 turnovers in 23 points.

“Stetson is a NCAA tournament team, so now we know what it takes to compete against these teams,” Fantanarosa said. “It gives us a good blueprint of how we can continue to improve ourselves.”

The Red and White hit four of seven three-pointers in the first half and sprinted out to a 38-32 advantage at the break. Junior Kirsten Olowinski pushed the lead to eight with a layup just 30 seconds into the second period but Stetson never let the ‘Hawks pull away. Miami took its last lead at 49-47 before Stetson hit another gear and went on a 16-5 burst that put the game out of reach. A Rachael Hencke jumper brought the ‘Hawks to within seven with 1:49 left in the game but that was as close as Miami would get. The “Mad” Hatters hit 17 of 18 free throws in the second half to clip the ‘Hawks wings and hand Miami its second loss of the season.

Osborn once again led the RedHawks, pouring in 21 points in addition to five rebounds and five assists. Almady just missed a double-double, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds. Miami utilized its deep bench, outscoring the Hatters 21-11 and also held the advantage on the glass 44-34. However, tight rims in the second half and 18 Stetson steals were too much for Miami to overcome.

“We did a great job rebounding, but offensively we just had too many turnovers,” Fantanarosa said. “Our defense and rebounding are coming along though, and games like this offer good teaching moments.”

The RedHawks take to the court again with a home contest against another strong mid-major, Iona College, on Friday. The early 1:30 p.m. tip-off is for the annual “Class of the Court” game, which will have over 1,500 Talawanda Elementary School students in attendance.

Miami students should follow the example of their middle school brethren and also head out of class early to support the RedHawks in action.