The Miami RedHawks will not live to play another day.
The team lost at Buffalo, 87-72, knocking Miami out of the Mid-American Conference Tournament and effectively ending its season.
The game started out back and forth, with both teams hitting a 3-pointer in the first minute. A jumper from freshman guard Peyton Scott made the score 7-5 after a little more than two minutes of action. From there, the Bulls went on a run and led 20-11 after the first media timeout.
The RedHawks tried to stop Buffalo’s run with a layup from sophomore guard Vanessa Garrelts.
It didn’t matter.
After Garrelts’ layup, the Bulls played stifling defense on the RedHawks, holding them to just one point for the rest of the quarter. Buffalo kept its foot on the gas pedal, as a layup from sophomore forward Adebola Adeyeye gave it a 32-14 lead after one period.
The Bulls maintained their lead in the second quarter. Miami stayed competitive, though, with senior forward Savannah Kluesner providing an offensive spark in her last game as a RedHawk.
After a pair of Kluesner free throws with five minutes remaining in the half, Buffalo made its run.
The Bulls scored the game’s next nine points, giving them a 50-24 lead. Although a jumper from Kluesner stopped the bleeding, Buffalo didn’t let up. Freshman center Elea Gaba scored in the half’s final seconds to give the Bulls a 56-27 lead going into halftime.
The second half was more of the same, as the teams traded baskets to start the quarter. Kluesner, determined to finish her career on a high note, scored six points early in the period.
Down by 30 with five minutes left in the quarter, the ’Hawks clawed their way back into the game, led by their three seniors. It started with a three from graduate student forward Bree Paulson, her first points of the game.
Senior guard Lauren Dickerson, who became Miami’s all-time leading scorer Saturday in a loss to Ohio, made a jumper to add to her career total. A few minutes later, she hit a shot from behind the arc to pull the RedHawks within 17 points of the lead. After two free throws from Kluesner, the score was 66-51.
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The RedHawks had gone on a 15-0 run. Thirteen of those points were scored by seniors, as Dickerson and Kluesner accounted for five points each. Although two Buffalo free throws gave the Bulls a 70-53 lead after three quarters, Miami had momentum on its side.
Buffalo took it right back from them, however. Freshman guard Dyaisha Fair, who scored a team-high 28 points, hit her first three shots to start the quarter.
The fourth quarter was an offensive struggle, as both teams went cold after Fair’s third make. After almost three minutes of scoreless play, the Bulls found their rhythm, making three straight shots to put them up by 24.
Led by Dickerson, the RedHawks continued to fight. The dynamic point guard scored 12 of her 22 points in the last period, including a three with a minute and a half to go in the game. It will go down as the last made shot of her college career and the final bucket of the team’s season. Dickerson will end her career with 2,208 points.
Buffalo won, 87-72, giving the RedHawks their ninth straight loss. Miami ends its season with an 11-21 (4-14 MAC) record.