RedHawks hopeful for postseason bid
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 23:03
The Miami University women’s basketball team was likely awake late Monday night as it eagerly waited to see if its name would be called for the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The bracket was not released by press time.
The ’Hawks (19-12, 10-6) hopes for an NCAA tournament bid ended when they lost their second round Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament game to the University at Buffalo Bulls (12-19, 8-8).
There are 347 NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball teams, and 64 are invited to the NCAA Tournament. After the NCAA field is announced 64 more teams are invited to the WNIT and after that 16 more teams are invited to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI). Head Coach Maria Fantanarosa is confident the ’Hawks will be playing more basketball this season.
“I think our body of work throughout the year has me optimistic for a postseason bid,” Fantanarosa said. “Our whole résumé says that we are a solid team with two dynamic seniors.”
The two dynamic seniors Fantanarosa referred to are guard Courtney Osborn and forward Kirsten Olowinski. Osborn is averaging 19 points per game this season and Olowinski averages a double-double.
Fantanarosa said she believes the injury problems the ’Hawks have faced all year has helped them handle adversity. This season the ’Hawks have had 10 different players start in at least one game.
“This whole season has been full of obstacles and opportunities,” Fantanarosa said. “The players have been eager to learn from their mistakes.”
Before the ’Hawks fell to the Bulls, they faced off against rival Ohio University (6-23, 1-15) twice, one a regular season game and the other in the first round of the MAC tournament. The ’Hawks took both games and completed a season sweep of the Bobcats.
“It’s a great feeling to get three wins over any team in one season,” Olowinski said. “It doesn’t happen very often.”
Olowinski also noted that playing the Bobcats in consecutive games helped the RedHawks identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
Osborn led the Red and White in scoring in both games, with 21 points in the first game and 39 in the tournament win. Osborn said she thinks teamwork was the key in the tournament win.
“We were playing really well as a team, our mindset was that there was no way we would lose,” Osborn said.
The ’Hawks took on the Bulls in their next game, and the third game in one week and fell 82-70. Despite playing three games in one week, Osborn said she does not believe fatigue played a factor.
“In a tournament fatigue is an excuse, and only an excuse,” Osborn said. “It was Buffalo’s third game in one week too. We didn’t play defense and rebound. Every time we have lost this year that has happened.”
Olowinski said she did not think fatigue was the reason for the loss either.
“We weren’t playing our game, we lacked chemistry,” Olowinski said. “That was the most individualistic game we have played all year.”
Fantanarosa agreed with her talented senior forward.
“We were very tight the whole game, on offense and defense,” Fantanarosa said. “There was no help on defense because everyone was too concerned about their own assignment.”