OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University women's basketball team played a great defensive team game, while both Kirsten Olowinski and Courtney Larson stepped up with strong offensive performances to lead the RedHawks to a gritty, 50-40, win over Massachusetts on Saturday. Miami improves to 4-3 on the season, while the Minutewomen fall to 2-6.
The team held UMass to 26.3 percent shooting (15-for-57) for the game. That included a 16.7 percent (3-for-18) performance from behind the arc. Hannah Robertson played great individual defense on Minutewomen sharpshooter Emily Mital. Mital entered the contest shooting 54 percent from three-point land, but Robertson held her to a 2-for-13 day behind the arc.
Olowinski led the RedHawks offensively with 13 points and 13 rebounds. It was her second double-double of the season and 32nd of her career. She is now only three short of tying the Miami career record. Olowinski did break the Miami career record for blocks with three on Saturday. She now is on top of the Red and White annals with 135 career rejections.
The RedHawks were out of the services of senior guard Courtney Osborn who missed her first career game with injury. She is listed as day-to-day. In her absence Larson performed well in the first start of her career. Playing 32 minutes, she provided a career-high 12 points, including a 10-for-10 performance from the line. She made six consecutive free throws down the stretch to help seal the victory.
A basket from Erica Almady and a three-pointer from Hannah Robertson quickly gave Miami a 5-0 lead to begin the game. Hannah Robertson would find her sister Haley Robertson for a layup inside as part of a 9-0 run that opened up a 14-2 advantage for Miami at the 13:18 mark. While Olowinski would get a pair buckets over the next eight minutes, the RedHawk offense would stall as UMass was able to pull with six at 18-14. A jumper by Olowinski would stop the run, while Hannah Robertson nailed a jumper of her own to send Miami into the break in front, 22-16.
Miami shot 40 percent (10-for-20) during the first half, while holding the Minutewomen to 22.6 percent (7-for-31) shooting.
The 'Hawks were unable to score for the first 7:29 of the second half. Despite this the defense held strong in holding Massachusetts to only seven points during the same period. Hannah Robertson would find Almady down low for a layup to end the RedHawks scoreless streak and put them back in front 24-23 with 12:31 remaining. The Minutewomen responded with a 5-2 run to give themselves their largest lead at 28-26 at the 11:14 mark.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Kelsey Simon gave Miami the lead back at 29-28. After UMass briefly retook the advantage with a layup, the RedHawks would go on the decisive 10-0 run over the next four minutes that would give Miami control. The first eight points of the run were all off of free throws, as Larson put in six, while Olowinski contributed two. A jumper by Almady and a free throw from Hannah Robertson made it 40-30 with 4:41 remaining.
The Minutewomen answered back with a 7-0 run that made it 40-37 at the 2:20 mark. Larson would put the dagger in the comeback attempt, nailing a jumper from the left side that made it a two possession game. Haley Robertson would then hit a layup after a steal from Hannah Robertson to make it 44-37 with 1:20 to go. Miami hit its free throws down the stretch to finish off the 50-40 win.
Hannah Robertson and Almady each contributed eight points for the RedHawks, while Haley Robertson had six. Hannah Robertson also had five assists and six steals, while Almady brought in seven rebounds. Miami forced Massachusetts into 21 turnovers during the game.
The RedHawks returns to action on Tuesday when they host Wright State at 1:30 p.m. That game is the fifth-annual Class at the Court contest and will see over 1,500 elementary students from the local Talawanda School District in attendance.