By Daniel Taylor, For The Miami Student
Photo by Connor Moriarty
Baleigh Reid netted a career-high 22 points to lift Miami University women's basketball past Kent State University in a 66-59 victory Saturday.
The win is Miami's third consecutive and moves the RedHawks (7-20, 4-12 Mid-American Conference) ahead of Kent State in the conference standings for the first time this season.
Senior guard Courtney Larson scored 15 points in the final home game of her collegiate career.
"I don't think it's quite hit me yet that it was my last time playing at Millett," Larson said. "The whole team wanted to do it for me and [fellow senior] Katy [Dolesh]."
As Larson begins her final few weeks as a 'Hawk, she believes Reid is ready to assume her role.
"I'm totally confident in this kid," Larson said. "Baleigh is going to beat the expectations."
Reid was excited to help the team send the seniors out on a high note.
"I just wanted to do all I could to get this win for Courtney and Katy," Reid said. "Larson was actually hitting a lot of shots. She opened it up for me."
Kent State (5-22, 3-13 MAC) took advantage of Miami's slow start and led by 10 at the 8:30 mark of the first half.
After an 8-0 run and a 3-pointer from Larson, Miami gained the lead with 2:49 left.
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The second half was a back-and-forth battle, but the RedHawks held onto the lead for the final 12 minutes.
MU's victory was due, in large part, to excellent first half shooting. The team hit 60.9 percent of its shots. The Golden Flashes shot 53.8 percent.
Both teams came back with poor second half shooting. Miami shot 25 percent from the field, while Kent State converted 32 percent of its attempts. However, the Red and White were 15 of 18 from the charity stripe in the second frame.
KSU redshirt senior center Cici Shannon posted seven points in the first four minutes of the contest, but was held to four points in the rest of the game.
"I think we were letting her catch the ball too low," head coach Cleve Wright said. "That's too easy of a shot … we did a better job of trying to defend her early. We did double her a little bit."
Sophomore guard Larissa Lurken kept the Golden Flashes within striking distance by firing a barrage of 3-pointers. She converted 4 of 11 attempts a managed to score a career-high 22 points.
The RedHawks return to action at the University of Akron. Miami is 33-12 in the all-time series against Akron, but suffered a 65-47 rout mid-January at home.
The Zips (20-7, 10-6 MAC) are tied with the University of Toledo and Western Michigan University for the third seed in the MAC tournament.
Akron lost 87-80 to the University at Buffalo Saturday. Junior guard Anita Brown, who averages 18.7 points per game, totaled 31 points in the loss.
Senior forward Sina King is the MAC's leading scorer and averages 20 points per game. Sophomore guard Hannah Plybon joins Brown and King on the list of top-12 scoring in the MAC, with 13 points per game.
Tip is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Akron's James A. Rhodes Arena.