The Red and White were back in action Saturday against the Toledo Rockets, the team picked in the pre-season to win the MAC West Division. After a slow start, Miami was able to rally late in the game to cut a double-digit Toledo lead to five points, but that was the closest they would get as the Rockets went on to win 70-63.
This was Miami’s third straight loss, dropping them to 4-15 on the season and 2-4 in the MAC. However, this was the third closest loss of the season for the Red and White and it came against a Toledo team that is now 15-4 on the season, including a 5-1 record in the MAC.
Freshman Courtney Osborn once again led the RedHawks with 21 points, while senior guard Courtney Reed had 14 points and freshman Kirsten Olowinski pitched in 11 points to go with eight rebounds. Miami shot just more than 32 percent for the game, but they were able to hold Toledo to 34.3 percent from the field and an abysmal 2-22 from behind the arc.
However, Toledo was able to get to the free-throw line consistently throughout the game and was also able to get a lot of second chance points due to their offensive
rebounding. The Rockets had 23 offensive rebounds and were 22-30 from the charity stripe, while the RedHawks were only 5-10 from the free-throw line. In addition, the Rockets out-rebounded the Red and White 57-43.
“Second chance points and getting to the free throw line were key in this game,” Courtney Reed said. “We could have easily won this game, but we gave Toledo too many easy points.”
Miami showed a lot of progress in this game, as they got solid contributions from numerous players and were able to maintain their confidence throughout the game.
“We still continued to be confident once we were down,” Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa said. “Staying confident like this is a huge accomplishment. We had a sharper game against Toledo and we want to improve our focus from week to week.”
The Red and White trailed 28-20 at the half, which was huge considering they only shot 25 percent from the floor in the first half. However, the Rockets opened the second half with a 12-4 run, which gave Toledo its largest lead of the game. Twice the RedHawks were able to cut Toledo’s lead to five points but they were not able to close the deal, as late free throws by the Rockets ultimately sealed Miami’s fate.
Once again different players stepped up for Miami in this game, as Osborn, Reed and Olowinski were the top three scorers for the Red and White. This variety has been both strength and weakness for Miami this season, because although any player on the team is capable of playing well on any given night, it is unclear who those players will be each game.
“We need to be more consistent as a team,” Fantanarosa said. “Hencke and Osborn have been the two most consistent players for us this season followed by Olowinski.”
Throughout most of the season Osborn has led the RedHawks in scoring, but recently others have stepped up and have filled that role.
“Osborn has proven that she is consistent,” Reed said. “We have so many threats (on this team), and I think it is important that we have several people capable of playing well in any given game.”
Up next for the RedHawks are the Northern Illinois Huskies, who enter at 8-10 on the season and 2-4 in the MAC. The Huskies are coming off a big overtime win against Buffalo this past weekend, where four players scored in double digits. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Millett Hall.