Losing is never fun.
Especially when it’s your sixth straight loss.
That’s the reality for Miami head coach DeUnna Hendrix and her RedHawks squad after Saturday’s 75-62 loss to Akron at Millett Hall.
Miami got out to an early 6-0 lead on 3-pointers from junior guard Kenzie Schmitz and senior guard Lauren Dickerson. Dickerson scored 12 points in the game and is now just 14 away from breaking Courtney Osborn’s all-time program scoring record of 2,166 points.
After a layup from Akron junior forward Jordyn Dawson cut the MU lead to 7-5, the RedHawks scored the next seven points, five coming from freshman guard Peyton Scott.
The Zips clawed their way back, with a layup from senior forward Haleigh Reinoehl making the score 18-12 after one. Akron scored the first seven points of the second quarter, taking a 19-18 lead on a three from Reinoehl.
The Zips weren’t done yet, though.
Sophomore guard Vanessa Garrelts, who had a career-high eight points, made a shot from behind the arc to give Miami a 24-23 lead. It was the RedHawks’ last lead of the game.
Akron retook the lead on free throws from Reinoehl and never looked back, closing the half on a 14-0 run and taking a 37-24 lead into the locker room.
All things considered, the RedHawks lost the game in the second quarter. The team scored just six points on 2-of-19 shooting, with both shots coming from behind the 3-point line. After Garrelts’ 3-pointer, Miami was held scoreless for the last 5:21 of the half. Akron, meanwhile, scored 25 points in the quarter and shot an efficient 57.1 percent from the field.
“It’s no secret that we’ve always, for the past six or seven games, we’ve had that one quarter,” Hendrix said. “Today, it was the second quarter.”
Despite the halftime deficit, the RedHawks knew they could play better than they did in the second quarter.
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“We were disappointed with mainly the second quarter, but we all knew that we were better,” Garrelts said. “We all knew that we had more to give.”
The third quarter was back and forth, with Miami trying to cut into its deficit. A quick basket by senior forward Savannah Kluesner to start the half gave the RedHawks their first points in more than five minutes of game time.
After an Akron 3-pointer to put the Zips up, 46-32, a layup from redshirt junior forward Abbey Hoff started a 7-0 run for Miami, and a jumper from Garrelts pulled the RedHawks to within seven points of the lead. The Zips hit two 3-pointers in two minutes to give them a 55-44 lead at the end of the quarter.
During halftime, former Miami women’s basketball players were honored as part of Alumnae Day at Millett Hall. In the second half, a lot of those alumni were seated on the baseline near the RedHawk bench, loudly cheering them on.
“I think I wanted to sub a few of them in,” Hendrix said.
Their support seemed to give the RedHawks a jolt of energy in the fourth quarter. Dickerson and Kluesner, playing in front of a few former teammates, scored the team’s first eight points to bring Miami's deficit to five. Free throws from Hoff capped an 8-0 run and made the score 57-54, Akron.
The teams then traded baskets, as a layup from sophomore guard Alexis Straw brought the deficit back to three with five minutes remaining.
That was as close as the RedHawks got.
Junior forward Jordyn Dawson made a three and a layup to put Akron up 66-58. Although the RedHawks stayed in it, a 3-pointer from Reinoehl with 1:16 left in the game sealed it for Akron. The Zips iced the game at the free throw line and won, 75-62.
On a poor shooting day, just three RedHawks scored in double digits: Dickerson, Kluesner (13), and Scott (14).
Despite the loss, Miami is still hopeful about its chances in the MAC tournament, which starts Monday, March 9.
“Obviously, the season hasn’t gone the way we want,” Garrelts said, “but anyone can get hot in the tournament, and we can be that team. We have no problem going in and playing the underdog.”
The RedHawks hope to break their losing streak this week, as they host Bowling Green on Senior Night. The game is on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Millett Hall.