OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University women’s basketball team begins Mid-American Conference play when it welcomes Western Michigan to Millett Hall on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game. Tim Bray has the call and it can be heard live on WMOH, as well as seen on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.

NEW MAC FORMAT: For the first time since the 1997-98 season, the Mid-American Conference has returned to an 18-game format. As a result there have been a couple of format changes to accommodate the extra games. Teams will still play everyone in their division twice. The extra games are against two opponents from the opposite division chosen at random by a computer. For Miami, the RedHawks will play a second game on the road at Western Michigan on Jan. 22, and will also play two games against Toledo (on the road Jan. 12 and at home Feb. 6). As has been the case in previous seasons, the five repeat games against MAC East Division opponents will close out league play for Miami.

MAC OPENERS: Miami is 19-13 all-time in MAC openers. Last season, the RedHawks dropped a narrow, 62-59, decision to Ball State on the road to open conference play. Miami is opening MAC play at home for the first time since 2008 after starting on the road the previous five league openers. This is also only the second time the Red and White have begun MAC play with Western Michigan. The previous time came on Jan. 5, 1994, when the Broncos took an 86-79 win.

ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN: Western Michigan is 4-7 on the season. The Broncos broke a three-game losing streak in their last contest when they defeated Valparaiso, 72-50, on Dec. 29. They also have victories over Massachusetts, Detroit and Chicago State this season. WMU has been led by sophomore forward Miracle Woods. She is averaging an impressive 17.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, however she missed several games earlier in the year with an injury and has played only six games total. Another key player is junior forward Michelle O’Brien. She is averaging 9.0 points per game and leads the Broncos with an 8.1 rebounds per game average.

SERIES AGAINST WESTERN MICHIGAN: Miami leads the all-time series with Western Michigan, 33-24. The RedHawks have won two straight in the series, including a dominating 73-47 victory in Kalamazoo last season on Jan. 13. Courtney Osborn led Miami with 22 points, while Haley Robertson contributed a career-high 19.

UP NEXT FOR THE REDHAWKS: Miami hits the road for its next couple MAC games. On Thursday, the RedHawks take on Ohio in Athens at 7 p.m. for the annual “Battle of the Bricks”  game. Miami then travels to Toledo on Sunday, Jan. 12 for a 2 p.m. contest. Both games can be heard live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription, while the Toledo game will also air on WMOH. The RedHawks return home on Wednesday, Jan. 15 when they host Akron at 7 p.m.