CANCUN, Mexico - The Miami University women's basketball team will make history this week when it plays games outside of the United States for the first time. The RedHawks will travel to Cancun, Mexico to participate in the Caribbean Classic, Dec. 21-22. On Friday, Miami will face Creighton at 3:30 p.m. (CST). On Saturday, the 'Hawks will take on Nevada at 1 p.m. (CST). There will be no Miami audio broadcast of the games, but live stats are available.
HOW THE CARIBBEAN CLASSIC WORKS: The Caribbean Classic is put on by Triple Crown Sports, the same company that runs the WNIT each March. In addition to Miami, Creighton and Nevada, the University of South Florida will also participate in the event. Rather than setting up a traditional bracket, the tournament organizers created pre-set matches so everyone knows who they are playing going in and at what time. This year's event is at the Aventura Cove Palace just south of Cancun. A court and bleachers will be set up in one of the resort's ballrooms to accommodate the games.
OLOWINSKI SHOULD BREAK REBOUND RECORD IN MEXICO: Senior Kirsten Olowinski brought in nine rebounds in Miami's win over Chicago State on Sunday, which gives her 916 for her career. She needs only seven more to tie and eight more to break Miami Hall-of-Famer Monica Niemann's (1991-95) record of 923. Since she currently averages 9.9 rebounds per game and will have two opportunities to break the record, she has a very good chance of doing it in Mexico.
ABOUT THE BLUEJAYS: Creighton is 6-2 on the season. The Bluejays have won four straight, including a 63-42 decision over North Dakota State in their last action on Sunday. Their only two losses have been to ranked teams in Oklahoma (69-48 on Nov. 10) and Kansas (58-48 on Nov. 25). They also upset then 25th-ranked Nebraska, 66-57, on Dec. 5. Creighton is an incredibly deep and balanced team with 10 players who average 10 minutes of playing time or more. The Jays' top player is junior forward Sarah Nelson. She averages 10.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in 34.4 minutes of action per game. Creighton is a strong three-point shooting team, averaging nearly eight makes per contest.
SERIES WITH CREIGHTON: This is the first meeting between Miami and Creighton.
MIAMI VS. MVC: The Missouri Valley Conference is made up of 10 medium-sized schools located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. It is a competitive conference, with its league champion usually a tough out in the NCAA Tournament. Miami is 6-9 all-time against schools from the MVC. The RedHawks are 2-0 vs. Wichita State, 1-2 vs. Bradley, 0-3 vs. Illinois State, 3-3 vs. Indiana State and 0-1 vs. Northern Iowa. In addition to Creighton, Miami has never faced Drake, Evansville, Missouri State or Southern Illinois.
ABOUT THE WOLFPACK: Nevada is 5-4 on the season. Prior to taking on Miami, it will face USF the day before in its first game in the Caribbean Classic. The Wolfpack have won two in a row, including a 91-81 victory over Division II team Cal State Los Angeles in their last action on Dec. 12. Nevada plays its games at a very fast pace, scoring on average 72.2 points per game, but giving up an average of 71.2. The Wolfpack's top player is junior guard Danika Sharp. She averages 16.2 points per game. Another key player is senior guard Chanelle Brennan. She averages 14.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
SERIES WITH NEVADA: This is the first meeting between Miami and Nevada. The Bluejays and the Wolfpack are the only two teams the RedHawks are scheduled this season to meet for the first time.
MIAMI VS. MOUNTAIN WEST: The Mountain West Conference is made up of 10 schools from the western portion of the United States. Miami's history is nearly non-existent against teams from the Mountain West, as its only game was a 66-56 win at Air Force on Dec. 6, 2008 to win the Air Force Tournament in Colorado Springs. In addition to Nevada, the RedHawks have never faced Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV or Wyoming.
UP NEXT FOR THE REDHAWKS: Miami will be off for the holidays for the next two weeks. The RedHawks will resume their season on Saturday, Jan. 5 when they travel to Duquesne for a 2 p.m. game. Tim Bray will have the call and an audio broadcast can be heard live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.