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Women’s basketball powers through Central Michigan to get revenge

Junior guard Peyton Scott dribbles between her legs during Miami's Jan. 29 loss to Eastern Michigan. Scott scored 32 points in the matchup.
Junior guard Peyton Scott dribbles between her legs during Miami's Jan. 29 loss to Eastern Michigan. Scott scored 32 points in the matchup.

To kick off the doubleheader Saturday for the RedHawks, the Miami University women’s basketball team piled on the misery of the Central Michigan Chippewas by handing them their fifth straight conference loss. 

Spearheaded by junior guard Peyton Scott with 24 points, the RedHawks rose to a 90-77 victory at Millett Hall.

As part of the battle against cancer and the One Miami Weekend, Miami went to battle in neon pink jerseys. 

Head coach DeUnna Hendrix stuck to the same lineup as on Wednesday, handing junior forward Tajah Foster-Walker her second, and sophomore guard Edyn Battle her eighth, successive starts.

Put on the backfoot in the early stages, Scott, Foster-Walker and first-year Ivy Wolf respectively canceled out the deficit. 

With less than six minutes left in the first quarter, Scott turned the situation around with a floater, putting Miami ahead 9-7. While Central Michigan was quick to respond with a basket of their own, Scott drove through the defense for a layup that lifted not only the team but also the arena. This play fused a 9-0 run for the RedHawks, one closed out by Battle on a robust drive from the left corner, putting Miami ahead 16-9.

Despite efforts from the Chippewas to narrow the gap, Foster-Walker extended the point difference into double-digit territory with an off-balance pullup, handing Miami a 27-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We came out and threw the first punch today,” Wolf said.

Upon return to court, senior guard Vanessa Garrelts hit the ground running by scoring a left-handed layup off of a mid-court steal. Sophomore guard Katie Davidson went coast to coast to score her first basket of the game and made it 31-16 for Miami.

The Chippewas came out making a couple of three-point baskets, to which Miami responded with 10 unanswered points. Forward Tihanna Fulton concluded the sequence by driving through the opposition for her first and only basket of the game, giving Miami a 43-22 lead.

Central Michigan called an immediate timeout, one they came out of responding by going 3-for-3 outside the arch, forcing Miami to call another timeout. This proved to have taken the RedHawks back up to speed and Miami eventually took a 54-36 lead into half-time.

For the first time since Feb. 8, 2020, Miami scored at least 50 points in a single half with the previous also coming against the Chippewas.

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Just 33 seconds into the third quarter, Davidson dropped a three-pointer to pull Miami ahead by 21 points of the Chippewas. 

The RedHawks were clinical from the free throw line, making all five of their attempts in the quarter. The 21-point gap that Davidson delivered was maintained to the end of the period as Miami took a 72-51 lead over Central Michigan.

In the final quarter, the Chippewas put up a fight, especially with three successive baskets from outside the arch. This allowed them to outscore Miami in the quarter, but not the game.

Battle remained sharp on free throws, capitalizing on all of her further four attempts. With just over 30 seconds left on the clock, Davidson hit an immaculate three-point basket, making a subsequent layup effort by Central Michigan futile, to help Miami hit the 90-point mark and close out the game 90-77.

On top of matching the game-high 24 points, Scott also added six rebounds. Wolf found 18 points and eight rebounds, Foster-Walker belted seven rebounds and seven points while Battle reached double digits in points for the 12th time in her last 16 appearances. With 12 points, Davidson scored in double-digits for the first time since mid-January. 

Collectively, Miami outscored Central Michigan 46-26  in the paint. The RedHawks also had nine steals compared to a couple by the Chippewas and scored 22 points on the fast break while their opponents managed 13.

“If we can defend without fouling and we can just get clean stops, we’re tough to stop in transition,” Hendrix said.

This victory took the team to 8-14 overall and 4-9 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Meanwhile, Central Michigan continued to sink deeper in the table, going 4-19 overall and 2-12 in the conference.

The RedHawks will return to action with a visit to Bowling Green. The Monday evening game tip-off is set for 7 p.m.