OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami University women’s basketball team had its offense working throughout the game, and it came up with the timely stops when it counted as it downed Akron, 79-76, Wednesday evening at Millett Hall. The RedHawks improve to 5-10 overall and 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference. The Zips fall to 7-8 overall and 1-3 in the MAC.
Senior Hannah Robertson led a balanced Miami attack that saw four players reach double figures. She finished with a game-high 18 points. Senior forward Erica Almady recorded a season-high 14 points, while sophomore forward Jessica Rupright contributed a career-high 13 points. Freshman forward Nicole Anderson also scored in double figures, finishing with 11.
Contributing mightily to the RedHawks’ win on Wednesday was their performance from the free throw line. Miami shot 23-for-27 (85.2 percent) from the charity stripe, led by Hannah Robertson finishing 6-for-6. By comparison, Akron was only 14-for-21 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line.
Defensively, the key for the RedHawks was keeping the ball out of Rachel Tecca’s hands. The defending MAC Player of the Year came into the game as the nation’s fifth leading scorer at 24.1 points per game, but Miami was able to hold her to only 15 points and eight total shots.
With both teams looking to score on the fast break, Akron jumped out to a 5-0 lead. A three-pointer by Hannah Robertson and a bucket from senior guard Haley Robertson quickly tied the score. The Zips pushed the advantage back to five, but back-to-back three pointers from Hannah Robertson and sophomore forward Hannah McCue gave Miami its first lead at 13-12 with 13:21 remaining in the first half.
Almady had a layup, while Anderson followed with two of her own. Rupright drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 24-14 at the 8:16 mark. That completed a 17-2 run for the ‘Hawks over a six-minute period.
The Zips responded with a 15-0 run of their own over the next five minutes to take a 29-24 lead with 2:53 remaining in the half. Rupright and Hannah Robertson ended the bleeding for the Red and White with back-to-back buckets. Trailing 33-28, Rupright and Hannah Robertson each drained a pair of free throws to send the game into the halftime break with Akron up by only one at 33-32.
Miami was 11-for-34 (32.4 percent) during the fast-paced first half, while it held the Zips to a 13-for-32 (40.6 percent) shooting performance. Rupright led the ‘Hawks with 11 points during the period, while Hannah Robertson contributed 10.
Haley Robertson opened the second half up with a layup to give Miami a 34-33 lead. After a pair of free throws and a bucket from the Zips put them in front, 37-36, an old-fashioned three-point play put the ‘Hawks back up, 39-37. While Akron would tie the score a couple of times, and the game would remained tight, the RedHawks would not fall behind the rest of the contest.
Tied at 39, Almady went to work down low. She hit a pair of layups to put Miami up three. A layup from McCue, followed by a three-pointer from Haley Robertson and a layup from Rupright gave the RedHawks a 51-43 advantage with 12:08 to go. Another layup from Almady made it 55-45 at the 11:01 mark. Akron fought back, answering with an 15-5 run that made it 60-59 with 7:13 remaining in the game.
Junior guard Courtney Larson ended the run with a three-point make. The Zips answered with four straight points to tie the score at 63 with 6:06 to go. On the next possession, Almady was fouled. She hit both free throws to put the ‘Hawks back on top. After forcing the Zips to miss, Anderson also was fouled on a layup attempt. She calmly drained both of her freebies to give Miami a 67-63 lead at the 5:01 mark.
The scoring hit a lull for a bit until Tecca hit a pair of free throws to pull the Zips to within two at 69-67 with 2:19 to go. Hannah Robertson answered with a layup to put the ‘Hawks back up four, while McCue stole the ball away from Hanna Luburgh on Akron’s next possession. With the Zips forced to foul, Miami hit all of its free throws to build a 77-71 advantage with 25 seconds remaining. Akron was able to hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to three, but Larson and McCue each hit a free throw to put the contest away. The RedHawks earned the 79-76 win after Akron’s desperation shot from half court fell short.
For the game Miami shot 25-for-65 (38.8 percent), while Akron was 27-for-59 (45.8 percent). The Zips had a slight, 40-39, advantage in rebounding. McCue led a balanced RedHawk rebounding performance with six. Larson finished with a team-high four assists, while Hannah Robertson and McCue each had two steals.
The RedHawks return to action on Saturday when they host Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. Bill Douglas has the call and it can be seen live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.