Despite a strong second half surge, the Miami University women’s basketball team was unable to overcome an early deficit, falling 63-61 to Northern Illinois University at Millett Hall on Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Leah Purvis helped the RedHawks jump out to an early lead, tallying three layups to help the squad build a 12-10 advantage after the first quarter.

The Huskies quickly responded in the second quarter behind an 11-3 run that put them up 29-20 heading into the locker room.

NIU continued to push the ball down the court, taking a double-digit lead early in the third quarter. MU refused to lay down, going on a 8-0 run to close the quarter down by a slim 46-43 margin.

Sophomore forward Kendall McCoy tied things up right away in the fourth quarter by nailing a three pointer. She would then go on to score the next seven points for the Red and White, giving the home team a 53-49 lead at the halfway mark.

From there, despite threes from junior guard Kayla Brown and freshman guard Lauren Dickerson, the Huskies managed to retake the lead behind two free throws from senior guard Ally Lehman with 45 seconds left to play. A final three-point attempt by McCoy later fell short for Miami, giving Northern Illinois a tightly contested 63-61 win.

“I thought we kept our composure and ended up getting a really good look,” McCoy said.

McCoy and Dickerson each had 16 points for Miami. McCoy secured her third straight double-double with 16 points and 13 boards.

Lehman dominated the game for NIU, finishing with 33 points and eight rebounds.

The RedHawks (9-17, 3-10 MAC) shot 39.3 percent from the floor for the game, while the Huskies (18-6, 11-2 MAC) hit on 34.3 percent of their field goal attempts.

“I’m proud of our team’s effort and toughness. We kept fighting and I think that shows the character of our team,” head coach Cleve Wright said.

The Red and White play at home once again this weekend when they play Bowling Green State University at 2 p.m.

It is the team’s annual Love Honor Care game, which is an effort to raise money for Luna Cares, a local organization that supports women and their loved ones after a cancer diagnosis.