BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - After a back-and-forth battle that saw maximum intensity and focus on both sides, the Miami University women's basketball earned a hard-fought, 57-54, victory over Bowling Green on Thursday evening. The RedHawks won their fourth straight game and improved to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in the Mid-American Conference. The Falcons fell to 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the MAC.
Senior forward Kirsten Olowinski was key on both the offensive and defensive end, bringing in 15 rebounds. Her sixth rebound of the game, which came early in the second half, would make her the first Miami player and sixth all-time in the MAC to record 1,000 career rebounds.
As a team, the RedHawks had 14 offensive rebounds. Olowinski had a key one late when Osborn's shot with six seconds remaining and the shot clock running out grazed off the rim and into Olowinski's arms. She was fouled and missed both free throws, but Hannah Robertson would sneak in from behind and grab the ball. She was fouled with three seconds remaining and made one of her two free throws. The Falcons desperation three-pointer was off the mark and the 'Hawks had their win.
Miami came out and executed its game plan well right from the start, but the 'Hawks were extremely cold from the field over the first seven minutes of the game. Despite getting open shots, the Red and White started the game 1-for-9 and fell behind, 11-2, with 13:00 left in the first half. Courtney Osborn would find Erica Almady down low for an easy layup that made it 11-4 and would get the Miami offense going.
Almady continued the RedHawk comeback when she was fouled on a layup and hit the free throw to cut the deficit to four. A jumper by Osborn continued the run, which eventually saw a Hannah Robertson hit a shot that put Miami in front, 15-13. A three-pointer from Osborn and a jumper by Jessica Rupright helped the Red and White expand the lead to eight at 26-18, before a late Bowling Green three-pointer made it 26-21 at the half.
Almady's strong play early kept Miami in the game during the first half; she led the 'Hawks with nine points in the period. The RedHawks held the Falcons to only 28 percent (7-for-25) shooting.
Miami opened the second half on an 8-2 run to record its largest lead at 34-23 with 14:41 to go. During the run, Olowinski had a pair of layups, while Hannah Robertson and Almady each contributed buckets. The Falcons did not go away, as they answered with an 11-2 run of their own to pull within two at 36-34 with 11:27 remaining.
On Miami's next possession, Kristin Judson's shot was off the mark, but Hannah McCue would grab the offensive rebound. She would hit the layup and free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play. Haley Robertson would steal the ball and drive in for the layup to make it 41-34 at the 10:20 mark.
In front, 45-38, the RedHawks offense would go cold. Over the next three minutes, Bowling Green went on a 9-2 run, tying the score on a pair of Alexis Rogers free throws. Osborn would not allow the Falcons to take the lead, burying a three-pointer to put Miami back in front. The Falcons answered with a bucket to cut it to one, but back-to-back layups from Haley and Hannah Robertson made it 54-49 with 1:55 to go. A three-pointer from Jillian Halfhill would make it a two-point game with 1:37 remaining, but Osborn answered by hitting a pair of free throws. Miriam Justinger would score at the 1:01 mark to make it 56-54, but Bowling Green did not score again as Olowinski and Hannah Robertson came up with those key offensive rebounds to secure the win.
Miami shot 41.1 percent (23-for-56) for the game, while holding the Falcons to 37.0 percent shooting (20-for-54). In a battle of the two best rebounding teams in the MAC, Bowling Green ended up outrebounding the RedHawks by one, 38-37.
Miami will look to keep its momentum going when it travels to Kent State on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tim Bray will have the call and it can be heard live on WMOH and on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.