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Women’s basketball endures frustrating season

<p>The women&#x27;s basketball team huddles up before its game against Western Michigan. The game ended with the RedHawks breaking a 13-game losing streak.</p>

The women's basketball team huddles up before its game against Western Michigan. The game ended with the RedHawks breaking a 13-game losing streak.

On some losing teams, the season can’t end quickly enough. Players loaf up and down the court in the last few games, and at times, it looks like no one wants to be out there.

That was the opposite of what happened with the Miami women’s basketball team. 

The team started the season 1-1 before an expected blowout to the Ohio State Buckeyes, 104-65, on Dec 10. 

Little did the RedHawks know that it would be almost two months before the team would win another game, as the loss catapulted a 13-game losing streak, including 11 straight defeats in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play. 

By the time Miami picked up its first conference victory against Western Michigan on Feb 3, the team was well out of contention for one of the top eight spots needed to make the conference tournament.

Still, the RedHawks didn’t quit. The team suffered three defeats by three points or less in a row before beating Toledo, 62-60 for its first MAC road win.

Two games later, on Senior Day, the team beat Kent State on a 3-point buzzer beater from sophomore guard Peyton Scott. The shot appeared on SportsCenter the next day, ranking fifth on Top 10 Plays.

The team ended the season 4-20, finishing last in the MAC with a 3-17 conference record.

As the team continues its rebuilding phase, let’s take a look at the team's roster this season and going forward.

ROSTER EVALUATIONS

Key Departures

Kelly McLaughlin 

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6’2” forward

12.6 ppg, 7 rpg, 53% fg

Abbey Hoff

6’0” forward

6.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2 apg

Kenzie Schmitz

5’10  guard

4.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1 spg

In her last season in Oxford, McLaughlin took a huge step forward. The senior forward had more points (278), rebounds (149) and minutes played (567) this season than her first three years combined. 

She became a reliable scoring option this season, averaging 12.6 points per game and scoring 20 or more points in five games. McLaughlin also extended her outside range, making seven of her 16 3-pointers after attempting zero threes before this season.

Hoff’s shooting took a dip this year, as she shot just 28% from behind the arc after making 39% percent of threes a season ago. Still, her combination of size, shooting and ability to guard the perimeter will make replacing her at the four a tough task.

Schmitz’s impact was never measured by her box score, but the young Miami squad will miss her defense and veteran presence.

Key Returners

Peyton Scott

5’8 guard

21.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2.7 spg, 37.5 mpg

Scott took a major step forward this season after showing a lot of potential her freshman year, increasing her scoring output from 12.5 to 21.2 points per game.

She also became the emotional leader for the team this season, filling a void left by last year’s senior class.

Scott’s name is all over the MAC leaderboard, as she was top five in points and steals per game. She led the conference with 5.3 assists per game and 866 total minutes played.

While Scott shone all season, there was one stretch in particular that was really special. It started with her scoring a then-career high 37 points in the streak-breaking win over Western Michigan. 

Scott then scored 34 and 31 points, respectively, before eclipsing her career high with 39 points in a gut-wrenching loss to Ball State.

Not only did Scott score more than 30 points four games in a row, she played 159 of 160 minutes in those games. The sophomore guard played at least 35 minutes in 19 of 24 games and for all 40 minutes in 11 of those games.

Scott should be a shoo-in for the All-MAC team this season and could easily win conference player of the year before she graduates.

Katie Davidson

5’10 guard

11.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 1.2 spg

Davidson had a freshman season similar to Scott’s as the team’s third-leading scorer, scoring 11.5 points per game. She shot under 40% from the field but an encouraging 33.6% from 3-point range, both of which should improve as she develops. 

It’s unlikely Davidson will make a Scott-like jump in her sophomore season (or ever), but she should be a quality starter for the RedHawks going forward.

Tihanna Fulton

6’0” Forward

3.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Fulton’s role increased dramatically this season, as she started eight of 22 games and averaged more than 20 minutes per game. With three starting spots open next year, Fulton is in the mix to take one of those spots. 

Vanessa Garrelts

5’4” guard

1.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.2 apg

In her first two seasons at Miami, Garrelts was a backup for Lauren Dickerson, one of the MAC’S best point guards. Now, she’s the backup for Peyton Scott, now also one of the MAC’s best point guards.

Garrelts played sparingly, as Scott rarely left the court. Still, the veteran guard could earn more playing time next season.

Armani Freeman

6’2” Forward

2.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 65% fg 

Freeman’s role increased a little bit as a sophomore, and her field goal percentage leaped from 45.5% to 65.5.% on more shot attempts.

Freeman shared the backup center spot with Jada Duckett this season, and with McLaughlin gone, the two will likely be competing for a starting spot next year.

Jada Duckett

6’2” Forward

3.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Duckett was one of two true freshmen, along with Davidson, to play for the RedHawks this season. In 21 games, she averaged 3.8 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game in 224 minutes. 

KEY ADDITIONS

After sitting out this year for various reasons, Miami will have sophomore guard Jordan Tuff, sophomore forward Tajah Foster-Walker and freshmen guards Edyn Battle and Sydney Watkins on the team for next year. 

Foster-Walker and Tuff, both transfers, have a leg up with their experience. Foster-Walker, who stands at 6’2”, averaged 6.2 points and 5.6 rebounds her freshman year for the University of Missouri-Kansas City and could slide into the starting lineup as a power forward or center.

@LukasTheDream

nelso156@miamioh.edu

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