OXFORD — Miami University’s women’s basketball team made a valiant second-half comeback, but were unable to overcome Northern Illinois, falling 63-61 Wednesday evening at Millett Hall.
Sophomore forward Kendall McCoy and freshman guard Lauren Dickerson led the RedHawks (9-17, 3-10 MAC) with 16 points each, with McCoy pulling down 13 rebounds for her second double-double in her last three outings. As a team, Miami shot 39.3 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Leah Purvis powered Miami early in the game, nailing three quick layups to help build a 10-5 lead with 3:07 remaining in the opening period. NIU (18-6, 11-2 MAC) would soon close the gap and only trailed 12-10 at the end of the quarter.
Led by senior guard Ally Lehman, who finished the game with 33 points, the Huskies pulled ahead early in the second quarter with an 11-3 run that gave them a 23-15 advantage at the halfway mark. Following a Miami timeout, junior forward Molly McDonagh’s layup halted the run, but NIU continued to hit shots and went to the locker room with a 29-20 lead.
In the third quarter, NIU appeared to be taking control of the contest as it extended its lead to double-digits early on. Miami’s outside shooting then came alive, but the Huskies were able to maintain some distance on the scoreboard. Once again down by ten, the RedHawks embarked on an 8-0 run to close the quarter that made the score 46-43 with one quarter to play.
The fourth quarter commenced with McCoy hitting a 3-pointer to tie the score at 46. McCoy’s terrific performance continued as she scored seven straight points to extend the Miami lead to 53-49 with 4:59 left. Lehman responded with her own surge and put NIU back ahead, 54-53, with just over three minutes remaining.
A pair of treys from junior guard Kayla Brown and Dickerson regained the lead for Miami at 59-58, but a NIU layup gave them a one-point lead as the final minute began to tick down. A floater from Dickerson put Miami ahead once again, but Lehman hit two from the foul line to do the same for NIU with 45 seconds to go. The RedHawks’ possession was cut short by an offensive foul, allowing Lehman to extend the lead to two with 11.8 seconds remaining. One final 3-point attempt from the RedHawks went wide, securing a victory for the Huskies.
The RedHawks remain at home this weekend as they face Bowling Green on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3. It is the team’s annual Love Honor Care game.