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RedHawks Drop Opener in Overtime

By Kennan Belau
On November 12, 2012

The Miami University women's basketball team (0-1) lost their season opener to Eastern Kentucky University 83-73 in overtime Friday night.

Senior guard Courtney Osborn led the RedHawks with 22 points and also had 10 rebounds and seven assists. Senior forward Kristen Olowinski led the team with 14 rebounds and added 10 points. Junior forward Erica Almady was the only other RedHawk in double figures; she finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"Osborn and Olowinski are used to being the focus of opposing defenses, but Almady stepped up and gave us good, quality minutes," Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa said.

Eastern Kentucky outrebounded Miami 57-45, including 22 offensive rebounds for the Lady Colonels.

The RedHawks only hit 50 percent of their free throws (15-30) after being in the top ten nationally in free throw percentage the past two seasons.

"We were terrible from the free throw line," Fantanarosa said. "We're normally one of the best teams in the country, but we just didn't hit them."

The teams exchanged baskets early, but the RedHawks would open the game up early by going on a 7-0 run, capped by a three point play by Almady. The Lady Colonels would cut Miami's lead to 13-10, but the RedHawks followed with another 7-0 run capped by a three-point play, this time by Olowinski, to give Miami a 20-10 lead with 7:58 left in the first half, which would be the largest lead of the game for the RedHawks. Eastern Kentucky went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 20, keyed by junior guard Marie Carpenter and several offensive rebounds.

"We let them have too many offensive rebounds," Osborn said. "Our rebounding is definitely a concern."

Osborn recorded an assist and a three-pointer to help Miami snap the drought with a 7-1 run of their own to give the RedHawks a 27-21 lead with 31 seconds left in the first half. Carpenter would respond with a three pointer at the buzzer to leave Miami with a 27-24 halftime lead.

Eastern Kentucky built off of that momentum and opened the second half with a 17-6 run to take a 42-33 lead at the 14:20 mark. Once again, the Lady Colonels relied on their rebounding and got some easy baskets to build the lead.

"We had to work for our points, and they were getting theirs easy," Fantanarosa said. "They were getting high percentage shots inside."

Osborn hit another big three pointer to stop the momentum of Eastern Kentucky and the rest of the RedHawks picked her up and hit several free throws and played tight defense to give Miami a 45-44 lead.

The Lady Colonels responded with a quick 5-0 run to take the lead back as Carpenter drove for a layup and hit a three of her own. Almady answered with back to back layups to tie the game at 49 and Osborn hit another three to give the RedHawks a 54-53 lead with 5:25 left. The lead changed hands four times over the next five minutes, with a Carpenter jumper giving Eastern Kentucky a 61-58 lead with 27 seconds remaining. Miami worked the ball around the perimeter looking for an open shot, and Osborn found Olowinski at the top of the key for a three pointer to tie the game with eight seconds left. The RedHawks applied good pressure on defense not allowing the Lady Colonels to get a good look, and the game went into overtime.

"We had a great comeback in the second half, but that's a position that we've been in before," Osborn said. "We just focused on the next play."

Eastern Kentucky and Miami exchanged baskets in the first minute of the extra frame, but that would be the only time the RedHawks scored in overtime, as the Lady Colonels would go on a 6-0 run, and then hit their free throws down the stretch for the 73-63 final score.

"They were extremely aggressive in overtime, and we just backed off a little bit." Osborn said.

The RedHawks will play their home opener Monday at 7 p.m. as they host Northern Kentucky University.

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