After a controversial conclusion to the 2022-23 women’s basketball season, the Miami University RedHawks faced a completely new beginning. Of the 12 players on last year’s roster, only five returned. The arrival of Head Coach Glenn Box, as well as four incoming transfers, helped fill the RedHawks’ blank slate.
Miami also recruited five freshmen, who make up over half of the roster this season. For first-year players Maddy Huhn and Núria Jurjo, the journey to Oxford has been unconventional.
These two players both traveled quite a distance before arriving at Miami, and their eventual decision to commit to the RedHawks took some time to develop.
Huhn, a native of Carlsbad, California, said her decision to come to Oxford came down to two things.
“I wanted to experience a different part of the country,” Huhn said. “But also, I wanted to be somewhere where I felt like I could contribute right away and make a difference.”
At Carlsbad High School, Huhn averaged 24 points, five rebounds and four assists per game as a senior. She also holds the record for most career points (2,117) for the Carlsbad Lancers and was named First Team All-Conference in her final season.
This season, Huhn has made a difference for the RedHawks as a starter by averaging four points, two rebounds and one assist on 32% shooting from the field in 23 minutes as a first-year.
She’s also been gaining confidence as the season continues and credits it to Box and her teammates.
“Having a coach believe in you as a freshman definitely is a confidence booster,” Huhn said. “And it feels great to be surrounded by players who support you.”
Jurjo has had a similar journey, gaining confidence as a first-year after traveling a long distance to Oxford. Jurjo is a native of Barcelona, Spain. She also wanted to have a chance to add to the Miami basketball program.
“I was coming to a new team with a new coach where I could contribute,” Jurjo said. “Miami really pursued me to the very end of my decision process.”
In Barcelona, she attended Institut Montserrat Roig, where she shot 49.4% from the floor as a senior and averaged 10 points per game as a junior while shooting 75% from the charity stripe.
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Jurjo also played for Basket Almeda, one of the top second division women’s clubs in Spain. She played for three seasons and averaged five points and two rebounds on 49% shooting last season.
This season for the RedHawks, Jurjo has been a consistent force off the bench. She is averaging three points, two rebounds and a team high 2.3 assists per game in 16.8 minutes.
Both Jurjo and Huhn’s favorite memory on-court was their decisive victory over the Xavier University Musketeers on Nov. 28, a 58-57 overtime winner at home for the RedHawks.
Box spoke of how proud he was of the team’s effort that game.
“I’m super happy for our team and our staff,” Box said. “Everyone has worked super hard. It was good for them to see something good happen.”
The RedHawks are 4-14 so far this season, with two of their wins coming in overtime. The first was over Xavier, and then the RedHawks beat Oakland University 68-66 on the road.
The RedHawks are a much different team from last year's group, which finished 10th of 12 in a very competitive Mid-American Conference (MAC). They didn’t qualify for the conference tournament, but they finished 7-11 in MAC-play and missed due to an 0-3 record versus Ball State University and Bowling Green State University combined.
That team had five players who averaged 63.1 points per game, which accounted for 90% of the points. They also averaged 25.9 rebounds per game which accounted for 73% of the rebounds last year.
The RedHawks lost all five of those players via transfer and returned only five of the 12 players from last year’s roster.
Miami’s team makeup this year includes four true first-years, the five returners and five transfers as well as a brand new head coach.
Time will tell how the RedHawks will mesh together, but they have an opportunity to make a run for the conference tournament with six home conference matchups occurring in the next month and a half.
In their next few games, Miami will take on two MAC teams which are ranked 11th and 12th. The RedHawks’ next matchup will take place in Akron against the University of Akron Zips on Feb. 3.