OXFORD, Ohio - Courtney Osborn scored a season-high 39 points, as the hot-shooting Miami University women's basketball team cruised past longtime rival Ohio University, 83-61, Saturday afternoon in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Millett Hall.
The sixth-seeded RedHawks improved to 19-11 overall, while the 11th-seeded Bobcats ended their season with a 6-23 mark.
"For Kirsten (Olowinski) and I, this is really our last time playing at Millett," Osborn said. "It's tournament time and we know that a loss can end our careers. Our teammates know that sense of urgency; we bring that sense of urgency and they responded so well. Today there was never a doubt that we weren't going to win this game."
MU will now play No. 7 Buffalo, which defeated No. 10 Northern Illinois 56-46 on Saturday, in the second round of the MAC Tournament Wednesday, March 13 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Tip time is 2:30 p.m.
The RedHawks split their regular season contests with the Bulls, who are 11-19 overall. Miami downed Buffalo, 69-56, on Feb 20, but dropped a home game, 78-70, on Jan. 31.
"They came in and beat us on our home floor," Osborn said. "They are a very good team. We are going to celebrate this win tonight and then tomorrow we'll focus on Buffalo."
Osborn started her impressive day at the 12:43 mark of the first half, as she led the 'Hawks on a 9-0 run, hitting an and-1 layup and two threes to give the hosts a 20-12 advantage.
The Fishers, Ind. native, who finished 12-of-17 from the field and 7-of-9 from deep, then nailed a long two and a pair of free throws to extend Miami's lead to 25-15 with 9:20 left.
Osborn, who is the RedHawks' all-time leading scorer and 3-point shooter, broke the school record for most threes in a season with her seven treys on Saturday. The senior now has 87, which is three more than Jenna Schone had in the 2007-08 season. Additionally, Osborn's 39 points was the fourth most points scored in program history and was nine short of her career-high 48 points against Akron on Jan. 4, 2012.
"They doubled Courtney throughout the game," MU coach Maria Fantanarosa said. "They knew where she was the whole game and she just played like a senior on a mission. It wasn't just that she scored, she also found people open."
Hannah Robertson made a breakaway layup and then hit a deep three to build a 15-point lead with 8:15 to go. The junior guard tallied 11 points and four rebounds.
After a brief rest, Osborn took over again with about seven minutes left in the half, as she made two threes and converted a transition bucket to make it 38-17 at the 5:10 mark.
Kirsten Olowinski scored six of the RedHawks' final eight points of the half to put Miami up 46-27 at the break. The senior forward finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, which was her 41st career double-double.
The 'Hawks shot 55.6 percent from the field and made 9-of-14 from long range, while Ohio was 35 percent and 6-of-19 from three.
The Bobcats made a mini-run to start the second half, cutting Miami's lead to 54-40. But the RedHawks were too tough down the stretch, as OU wouldn't get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Miami controlled the boards throughout the game and finished with a 43-26 rebounding advantage. The 'Hawks also dominated the Bobcats in the paint, 34-18.
Ohio got it to 70-58 with 4:51 remaining after an and-1 layup by Mariah Byard, but Miami finished the game on a 13-3 run.