Women’s basketball (9-14, 4-10 MAC) suffered another devastating loss to Miami (OH) (10-17, 5-9 MAC) on Saturday at Alumni Arena, falling 72-67 to the RedHawks.
The loss makes it significantly more difficult for the Bulls to make the Mid-American Conference Tournament, as UB is on a five-game losing streak following a three-point loss to Kent State on Wednesday and a one-point loss to Central Michigan the game prior.
“It breaks my heart for them because they work really really hard every single day,” head coach Becky Burke said in the postgame press conference. “They’re fighting against a time of adversity right now and they deserve to have had a few things go their way.”
The Bulls sat at eighth in the conference standings, one spot above the Redhawks’ ninth, going into Saturday’s game. With only four games remaining in their regular season, the Bulls desperately needed the win to secure a spot in the MAC tournament, which takes place in Cleveland starting March 8.
Miami came out of the gate firing and started the game on an 11-0 run, but the Bulls quickly found their rhythm. The score stood at a tight 18-16 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bulls had a big second quarter, taking the lead as a result of solid defense and aggressive penetration into the paint. Freshman guard Caelin Ellis hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half. The Bulls carried that energy and momentum into the third quarter.
UB held onto the lead for most of the game, but the RedHawks kept it close throughout. With three minutes left, they brought it back to a tie game at 64 points apiece.
Graduate guard Re’Shawna Stone — who led all scorers with 23 points and four assists — drove to the paint and scored an-and-one bucket to put the team up by two with 1:15 to go. Miami answered quickly, hitting a pair of free throws to tie the game at 67-67 with one minute to go. After a turnover by the Bulls, Miami came down and hit a three-pointer to put them up by three with only 24 seconds to go. The Bulls couldn’t score again. The score finished at 72-67, resulting in another last-minute loss for UB.
Along with Stone, UB’s top scorers were fifth-year guard Jazmine Young (15 points) and fifth-year guard Zakiyah Winfield (14 points).
Sophomore guard Maddi Cluse led Miami with 20 points while fellow senior guard Peyton Scott had 16.
Miami proved to be clutch down the stretch, going 3-3 from three-point range in the fourth quarter. It was this accurate shooting that secured the RedHawks the victory, despite the Bulls being up for most of the game.
“It’s about who can do the hard things better in the crucial moments, and they did those better than us tonight,” Burke said. “Some days it comes down to the last couple of plays, but there’s so many things that happened before that in the 40 minutes that we need to tighten up on and do better.”
The Bulls are also dealing with injuries and a limited roster which makes the team fatigued in the fourth quarter, but Burke emphasized that “it’s not an excuse.”
With only four games left to play, the Bulls are sitting just on the cusp of making the tournament at 10th in the conference. The Bulls play next at Eastern Michigan (13-12, 5-9 MAC) on Wednesday, a game that is crucial for the playoff hopes of both teams, as the Eagles currently sit one spot ahead of the Bulls at ninth in the conference. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.
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