In the middle of her third year as the head coach of Miami women’s basketball, DeUnna Hendrix isn’t a fan of moral victories.
“At one point I think I was more okay with moral victories. I think at this point, culturally, there is no other option (than winning),” Hendrix said.
Despite the second half effort from the RedHawks, the team couldn’t overcome the 48-28 halftime deficit, losing 63-54. The Saturday afternoon loss came off the heels of two straight wins, both of which came at Millett Hall.
Western Michigan was hot to start the game, as two shots from behind the arc gave them an 8-0 lead before Hendrix called an early timeout.
Out of the timeout, junior guard Peyton Scott threw a skip pass to sophomore guard Edyn Battle, who drained a three in the left corner.
Freshman guard Ivy Wolf made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two, but the Broncos scored twice to take a 14-8 lead after one quarter.
Redshirt sophomore forward Taylor Williams scored to open the second period, but the RedHawks answered with two buckets of their own. Another three by Wolf made the score 18-15 and caused Western Michigan to call a timeout with under six minutes in the half.
Wolf’s triple was the last points the team would score in the quarter. The Broncos, meanwhile, went on a 9-0 run to close the half. Redshirt junior forward Abby Voss made three of her four free throw attempts, then junior guard Sydney Shafer made two shots from behind the arc.
Western Michigan led 27-15 at halftime.
Early in the second half, Scott missed a shot, but quickly stole the ball from Williams and made a free-throw line jumper. It was the first bucket of the game for Scott, who missed her first 10 shots.
After two Scott free throws, the Broncos made another run. Jacobson made a triple then got a bucket inside. Voss scored twice, then Shafer made another three to give the Broncos a 48-26 lead. A layup by Scott stopped the bleeding going into the fourth quarter.
Down by 20 going into the fourth quarter, the RedHawks could have given up after that. Still, they fought back to almost tie the game.
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Early on in the quarter, Scott scored on a layup, then assisted Wolf for a 3-pointer.
Miami started to use a full court press on defense, which gave the Broncos a fit. Battle made a triple of her own, then got a steal on the ensuing possession, drawing a foul and making both free throws. Battle got another steal and fed Scott, who got fouled and made both from the line.
Scott’s free throws capped a 14-1 run and got Miami back in the game. A few possessions later, Wolf got another steal and fed Scott for a 3-pointer.
Timeout, Western Michigan.
Coming out of the timeout, Scott drew a charge, giving possession back to the RedHawks. Battle drove in and made a layup. She did the same thing on the next possession, getting fouled in the process and converting the And-1.
After being down by 22 late in the third quarter, the score was 52-50 with under four minutes left to go.
“That’s our identity,” Scott said. “We’re always gonna fight, we’re always gonna stay in the game and you can never count our time out of the game.”
The teams traded baskets the next few possessions, as two Scott free throws made the score 56-54.
After the comeback effort, Miami ran out of gas. Western Michigan ended the game on a 7-0 run to win 63-54.
Scott was the team’s leading scorer with 17 points. She also added four rebounds and three steals.
She had help, though. Battle and Wolf were the other two RedHawks in double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively. They recorded three steals each.
The team’s younger players have stepped up in the last three contests, which has led to less of an offensive burden for Scott to carry.
“Ultimately, that’s what we want,” Scott said. “We wanted to recruit versatile players to where, you know, I don’t have to score 20 or 30 a game and exhaust myself because we have so many options.”
Hendrix likes the new role Scott has found herself in so far.
“Peyton Scott is who she needs to be right now for this team,” Hendrix said.
The team was hampered by bad shooting, as the team shot 26.5% from the field and 28.6% from 3-point range.
“Our offense looked a whole mess,” Hendrix said.
With the loss, Miami’s record drops to 6-8 and 2-3 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
The team will be back in action on Monday night against the Ball State Cardinals in Muncie, Ind. The game tips off at 6:30.