After a hard-fought game Saturday afternoon, Miami head coach DeUnna Hendrix didn’t hold back how much the loss hurt for her players.
“I wish the result was different,” Hendrix said. “My heart literally hurts for them.”
Despite a strong effort from her team, the RedHawks lost a close game to the Ball State Cardinals, 79-77.
The loss mirrors the result earlier in the season against Ball State, when Miami was narrowly defeated, 85-82.
The RedHawks opened the game with two offensive rebound putbacks from senior forward Kelly McLaughlin and sophomore guard Peyton Scott. The game was back and forth in the first quarter, as Scott scored 14 of the team’s 18 points in the period.
With seven seconds left in the first quarter, Scott was fouled shooting a pull-up jumper and still managed to get the shot to go. After a free throw, the score was 18-14 after one quarter.
Miami made its run in the second quarter. After a Cardinals basket tied the score at 22, McLaughlin found redshirt senior forward Abbey Hoff for a 3-pointer. Scott drove in for a layup, then McLaughlin collected another offensive rebound and put it back in for two.
Scott capped off the 10-0 run with a pull-up 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, making the score 32-22.
Ball State responded, scoring the last six points to cut the deficit to 32-28 at halftime.
The third quarter was back and forth. Ball State took the lead on a turnaround jumper from senior forward Oshlynn Brown, but Scott made another shot from behind the arc to take the lead right back.
A few minutes later, Brown made another turnaround in the post to put the Cardinals ahead, 42-40.
It would be their last lead for a while, as Hoff quickly made two straight 3-pointers. Brown helped her team weather the storm, but another three from Scott at the end of the quarter gave the RedHawks a 52-47 lead after three quarters.
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Brown had it going early in the fourth, scoring six points in the first few minutes. She finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
After a long two from Brown cut the ’Hawks’ lead to two, Miami made another run. Freshman guard Katie Davidson drove into the lane for a layup and got fouled, completing the and-1. Scott assisted senior guard Kenzie Schmitz on two straight 3-pointers, then added another three of her own.
Just like that, the score was 70-59 with just five and a half minutes to go.
After Scott’s shot, a RedHawk win seemed inevitable.
Ball State wouldn’t go away, though, going on an 8-0 run of its own to cut Miami’s lead to just three with four minutes left.
Scott hit another long range shot to give the RedHawks a six-point cushion. She hit five of her nine 3-point attempts, a new career high.
The Cardinals were relentless, as a layup from sophomore guard Sydney Freeman tied the game at 73 with a minute and a half remaining.
Scott wouldn’t be denied on the next possession. She drove in and made a wild shot inside, making her free throw to complete the and-1.
With the basket, Scott set a new career high with 39 points. She also tied the single-game records for most points in Millett Hall history, which was set by Courtney Osborn in 2013.
“It’s becoming an easier 30 points, just because she’s understanding the game and learning her teammates,” Hendrix said.
Freeman answered on the other end by drawing a foul and making both shots from the charity stripe.
After McLaughlin went to the line and missed her second free throw, Ball State went down and scored again on a layup from freshman guard Ivet Subirats to tie the game with a minute left.
On Miami’s next possession, Scott collected an offensive rebound on a miss from Hoff. She tried attacking the defense again but was called for a charge with just 12 seconds remaining.
Ball State held the ball for the last shot, but McLaughlin was called for a foul away from the ball, sending Brown to the free throw line.
After Brown made two free throws, the RedHawks called timeout. The team would have just 1.9 seconds to get off a clean look. Davidson, the inbounder, found Scott in the corner, but her shot missed as time expired.
It was a tough loss for the RedHawks, who fell to 2-17 on the season. The team’s effort on defense and the offensive glass was good enough to pick up the win, but the game slipped away at the end.
Scott’s statline, as always, was stellar: 39 points on 15-of-27 from the field, along with six rebounds and four assists. She played all 40 minutes of the game, which has become the norm for her.
“We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well by now,” Hendrix said. “So every time I do try to give her a breather, she’s looking at me sideways, like ‘what are you doing?’”
The three seniors, Schmitz, McLaughlin and Hoff, were all big factors for the RedHawks. Hoff made three shots from behind the arc for 13 points, and McLaughlin chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds. Schmitz scored only six points but was active on defense, getting three steals and two blocks.
Miami will go on the road to play the Toledo Rockets this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.