PITTSBURGH - For the second consecutive year the game between the Miami University women's basketball team and Duquesne came down to the wire in Pittsburgh. This time the RedHawks made the plays down the stretch to come away with a 54-49 win Saturday afternoon. Miami heads into Mid-American Conference play with a record of 8-5. The Dukes fall to 11-3.
Kelsey Simon had a career performance to lead the 'Hawks. Consistently battling down low, the junior forward poured in a career-high 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting. She also brought in seven rebounds.
Courtney Osborn broke another Miami record when she hit a pair of three-pointers early in the second half. She finished with three 3-point makes to become the Red and White's all-time leader with 239 for her career. She broke the record of Jenna Schone (2005-09), who had 237. Osborn finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points while bringing in 10 rebounds.
Kirsten Olowinski also had a double-double for the RedHawks, tying for the team lead with 16 points while bringing in 11 rebounds. It was the 34th double-double of her career, which is only one short of the team record set by Miami Hall-of-Famer Monica Niemann (1991-95).
Despite an opening layup from Olowinski, the rust from not playing for two weeks was evident early for Miami. The Dukes used four RedHawk turnovers to build a 15-4 advantage six minutes into the contest. The Red and White would respond by finding Simon down low for three consecutive layups as part of a 10-0 run that pulled the team to within one at 15-14 with 10:54 to go.
Duquesne would answer with a jump shot to break up the Miami run, but the 'Hawks continued to feed the ball to Simon as she hit another pair of layups to make it 19-18 at the 8:57 mark. The Dukes followed with an 8-0 run of their own over the next three minutes to push the advantage back to eight at 27-18.
A layup from Jessica Rupright, along with a pair of baskets from Courtney Larson cut the lead down to three at 27-24. Duquesne hit a basket with 2:42 remaining to go back in front by five, but Simon would hit another layup off a rebound of a missed shot to send the 'Hawks into the break down three at 29-26.
Simon led Miami with 12 points in the first half, while Osborn had six rebounds and three assists. The RedHawks hit 41.4 percent (12-for-29) of their shots, while holding the Dukes to 35.1 percent (13-for-37) shooting.
Duquesne quickly pushed the lead back to seven at 37-30 with an 8-4 run to begin the second half. After only scoring one point in the first half, Osborn would get the RedHawk offense going with a three-pointer that tied the record of Schone. The Dukes responded with a layup, but Osborn hit another three-pointer to break the record and make it 39-36. After a Duquesne miss, Osborn would make it three straight treys to tie the score at 39 and force a Duke timeout with 13:50 to go.
Duquesne hit a free throw to regain the advantage, but a layup from Olowinski would put the RedHawks in front, 41-40, for the first time since it was 2-0. She followed with a three-pointer to make it 44-40 at the 8:11 mark. Trailing 46-42, the Dukes battled back with a pair of steals and layups to tie the score at 46 with 4:01 remaining.
Simon would not let Miami fall behind again. Rebounding a RedHawk miss, she would lay it back in to give the Red and White the lead. After a defensive stand that featured a Simon block, she hit another layup at the 1:50 mark to put Miami up, 50-46. Duquesne would respond with a jumper and a free throw to pull with one at 50-49, but Olowinski would calmly drain a pair of free throws to make it a three-point contest. The 'Hawks would hold the Dukes off the board the rest of the way as they held on to the 54-49 win.
The stingy Miami defense led the RedHawks to the victory in the second half. Trailing 37-30, Miami allowed Duquesne only 12 points over the final 15:44, while scoring 24 points of its own. For the game the RedHawks held the Dukes to 32.4 percent (22-for-68) shooting, while hitting 42.9 percent (21-for-49) themselves. Miami outrebounded Duquesne, 46-35, for the game.
The RedHawks will begin MAC play next Thursday when they travel to Muncie, Ind. to take on Ball State at 7 p.m. Tim Bray will have the call and an audio broadcast can be heard live on Miami All-Access.