The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team, through missed opportunities and lackluster effort, dropped its third consecutive contest Sunday 70-48 to the Miami University of Ohio RedHawks at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio.
“I have stressed all year long that we cannot compete for 20 minutes and expect to win,” EMU coach Tory Verdi said. “We have to compete for 40 minutes and if we do that collectively, we will put ourselves in a better position to win basketball games.”
In just 24 minutes played, freshman Bianca Cage led all Eagle scorers with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting, to go along with 3-of-9 shooting from three-point range. Senior India Hairston chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Junior Natachia Watkins put together another solid performance with 10 points and five rebounds in just 19 minutes, before fouling out in the second half. Junior Desyree Thomas had four points and a game-high six steals, but turned the ball over four times.
As a team, the Eagles shot just 20-of-58 (34.5 percent), compared to the RedHawks going 22-of-57 (38.6 percent). Free throws did not help EMU’s cause with just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent). EMU’s three-point shooting was ice cold at 3-for-17 (17.6 percent). In the rebounding department, EMU grabbed 30 compared to Miami’s 50.
For Miami (11-6, 3-1 Mid-American Conference), senior Courtney Osborn scored a game-high 18 points on 4-of-12 shooting and 7-of-8 from the foul line. Junior Hannah Robertson came up two rebounds short of a double-double as she finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds. Kirsten Olowinski rounded out the RedHawks’ main scoring with 12 points and nine boards, in 21 minutes.
Unlike the previous game against Toledo, EMU (3-14, 1-3 MAC) jumped out of the gate with a quick 4-0 lead on Hairston’s layup and Watkins’ jumper.
The Eagles continued to control the pace as the team’s lead grew to as many as eight points at 25-17. In what has been the norm all season long, the Eagles began to fall apart at the seams in the late stages of the first half.
EMU closed the half on the back end of a 16-4 run by Miami in the last 6:49 and went into the locker room trailing 33-29. The second half for the Eagles looked like a carbon copy of the last game, as they were dominated on the boards and could not make open jump shots.
With Watkins fouling out of the game with 12:13 left in regulation, all of their hopes of a comeback went out of the window.
“We are always looking for the next person up, and it did not happen tonight,” Verdi said.
Without Watkins’ passion and energy, the Eagles’ deficit ballooned to 25 with 1:05 left in regulation, and once more the EMU fans were left with more questions than answers at the end of the day. What is it going to take to put some wins on the board?
There were 841 in attendance for the cross-divisional matchup between the two teams.
EMU’s 22-point loss snaps a three-game road winning streak against Miami.
On Thursday, the Eagles will travel to Kent, Ohio to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes.
Kent State is 2-15 and 0-4 in the MAC. The Golden Flashes’ last game was a 59-44 loss Jan. 19 to the Ball State Cardinals.
Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be heard on WEMU 89.1 FM.
Follow me on Twitter @EasternEchoGeno
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