OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami University women’s basketball team nearly made a last-second comeback, but Northern Illinois hung on to take a 69-66 victory on Saturday. The RedHawks fall to 5-11 overall and 1-4 in the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies improve to 7-8 overall and 3-2 in the MAC.
Trailing 67-61 with less than 10 seconds remaining, senior guard Hannah Robertson forced NIU to throw the ball away on a long pass. Senior guard Haley Robertson was fouled on her subsequent jump shot. She hit both to cut the deficit to four with six seconds to go. Miami fouled immediately to extend the game. The Huskies converted 1-for-2 from the line to make it 68-63 with 4.7 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, the RedHawks ran a perfect inbounds to play to Hannah Robertson, who drained a corner three-pointer with 0.7 seconds to go. On the subsequent inbounds play Haley Robertson collided with Ally Lehman of the Huskies as the referees called a foul. A video review was needed to determine who the foul was on. Unfortunately for the RedHawks it was determined to be on Haley Robertson, which allowed NIU to finish off a 69-66 win.
Hannah Robertson led Miami with 16 points. Freshman forward Nicole Anderson was also in double-figures for the ‘Hawks, finishing with 11. Sophomore forward Hannah McCue had a strong game off the bench with nine points. The team finished 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) from behind the arc, and was an impressive 24-for-30 (80.0 percent).
Unlike the RedHawks’ back-and-forth game against Akron on Wednesday, the first half was played at a much more deliberate pace, with each team trying to execute its half-court offense. Hannah Robertson drained a couple of jumpers, while Anderson and sophomore forward Jessica Rupright hit back-to-back three pointers to give Miami a 12-4 lead five minutes into the contest. NIU was able to score the next six points to pull within two, but a 9-2 run keyed by a three-pointer from Anderson gave Miami a 21-12 lead with 6:58 remaining in the period.
Northern Illinois again cut the lead down to four, but three-pointers from sophomore guard Maddie McCallie and McCue sparked a 12-6 run that gave the ‘Hawks their largest lead of the contest at 34-24. Amanda Corral drained a three-pointer of her own with five seconds to go to send the Huskies into the break trailing by seven at 34-27.
Anderson led the ‘Hawks with nine points in the first half, while Hannah Robertson and McCue each had seven. Miami shot 9-for-24 (37.5 percent) during the period, while NIU shot 10-for-27 (37.0 percent).
Despite a three-pointer from Hannah Robertson and a jumper by junior guard Courtney Larson, the Huskies opened the second half on a 13-5 run to take their first lead of the game at 40-39 with 13:42 to go. Freshman guard Jillian Spurlock got the lead right back for the RedHawks with a jumper on the next possession. The lead changed a total of five times before a pair of free throws from junior guard Kindsay Brandt gave Miami a 47-45 lead with 11:09 to go.
NIU answered with a 15-6 run over the next five minutes to take a 60-53 advantage, its largest of the game. Miami did not give up as a pair of free throws from senior center Kelsey Simon, along with a three-pointer by Haley Robertson made it 60-58 with 4:42 to go.
The teams traded free throws over the next few possessions until one by Hannah Robertson made it 63-61 at the 1:09 mark. On the next possession, Miami forced NIU to use all of the shot clock, but Jenna Thorp was able to hit a key three-pointer with 39 seconds to go. A free throw nine seconds later made it 67-61 NIU before the RedHawks nearly pulled off the comeback.
Miami finished the game shooting 17-for-48 (35.4 percent), while the Huskies were 23-for-57 (40.4 percent). Hannah Robertson led the ‘Hawks with seven rebounds, while Larson and Haley Robertson each had three assists. Northern Illinois finished with a slight, 37-35, rebounding advantage.
The RedHawks return to the road next Wednesday when they travel to Western Michigan for a 7 p.m. game. Tim Bray has the call and it can be heard live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.