Photo by Connor Moriarty
By Grace Remington, For The Miami Student
The Miami University women's basketball team opens its season Tuesday when it welcomes Cincinnati Christian University to Millett Hall.
The 'Hawks are 15-8 in season openers and are riding the momentum of their 76-60 exhibition win over Cedarville University last Tuesday.
"We showed some good things in the exhibition and certainly some things we need to work on," head coach Cleve Wright said.
Cincinnati Christian plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which is a competitor of the NCAA. CCU is already 3-3 on the year, as the NAIA season starts earlier than the NCAA. Miami has not played a non-NCAA Division I school since 1981, and this is the first meeting between the two schools.
Miami begins the season with a new look. Seven newcomers, including five freshmen, join the team this year, and only four veterans return. Two of those freshmen will debut in the starting lineup. Freshman guards Baleigh Reed and Kayla Brown gained some preparatory action in the exhibition, scoring 15 and 12 points, respectively.
"Baleigh and Kayla both have to work hard to understand the faster pace of the game," junior forward Hannah McCue said. "Starting as a freshman is a very big role to take on, and I commend them for that. These two as well as all the freshmen have the potential to really help us out this year."
New or returning, a majority of the players have an opportunity to clock into the game and make an impact.
"Everybody will be playing a lot of minutes because of our numbers," Wright said. "We're still dealing with different rotations, and we'll be doing so for the next several games. The goal is to have that figured out by conference time."
Senior guard Courtney Larson is ready to lead the Red and White in her final season. With 76 career games under her belt, including 30 from last season, she averaged 3.9 points and 2.2 assists per game. In the exhibition, Larson recorded six points, seven assists and three steals.
Miami's guards face a solid matchup in CCU's senior guards Beth Moorman and Amanda Baute. Moorman has averaged 14.2 points per game this season, while Baute is averaging 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds.
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Junior forward Jessica Rupright joins McCue as a starter for the Red and White. Rupright is Miami's leading returning scorer. She averaged 6.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 19 games in last year's campaign after overcoming multiple early-season injuries. Her strong showing in the exhibition included 18 points and nine rebounds. McCue is the squad's leading returning rebounder, recording 4.6 boards per game last season. She totaled 14 points and four rebounds in the exhibition.
"This group is not only a strong lineup, but we work well together," McCue said. "I'm very excited about heading into the first game. I'm ready to show my hard work on the court."
Miami shot 46.6 percent from the field against Cedarville, with a 47.6 percent performance from behind the 3-point line. CCU is making 45.1 percent of their shots, but allowing opponents to hit 45.5 of theirs.
"I know the last year was a rocky one for the team," McCue said. "I'm excited to turn over a new leaf and start my third year here. Even with the lack of experience everyone comes in ready to learn and play, so it's refreshing and motivating knowing we are all on the same page."
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday.