Lady Rockets Defeat Miami

The Miami University Red Hawks came into Savage Arena led by their veteran coach Maria Fantanarosa (12 years, 188-182 overall, & 100-81 MAC) and freshman sharpshooter Courtney Osborn (18.1 ppg). That did not stop the Lady Rocket from earning another victory though. Read on for a full recap of the game.

Toledo, OH - The Miami University Red Hawks came into Savage Arena led by their veteran coach Maria Fantanarosa (12 years, 188-182 overall, & 100-81 MAC) and freshman sharpshooter Courtney Osborn (18.1 ppg). Today's game was also a contest of two teams going in different directions. The University of Toledo Lady Rockets rolled into the game with a record of 14-4 and 4-1 in MAC conference play while Miami entered at 4-14 and 2-3. However, the level of play on the court denied the disparity in records and the game was in doubt until the final minutes. This was a game of hard play and shooting ineptitude. In the end the home team won this brick-laying contest.

The Rockets starting line-up included a questionable "go" in Allie Clifton at forward (foot injury) and the normal cast of characters including Tamika Mays (F), Melissa Goodall (F), Naama Shafir (G), and Jessica Williams (G). While Miami countered with Osborn (G), Rachael Hencke (F), Erin Wisner (F), Maggie Boyer (G), and Ashleigh Brown (G). However; the real story, and ultimately the player of the game, was a non starter and true freshman by the name of Yolanda Richardson (Toledo- Roy C. Start High School).

UT led from the start 2-0 on a lay-up by Mays and never relinquished the lead. The Rockets stretched the lead to 26-12 on a jumper by Mays at 5:49. Soon the shooting became as cold inside as the temperatures outside and The Rockets limped into halftime ahead only 28-20. UT found themselves ahead despite a terrible shooting first half (12-38 32%). How bad was the first half shooting? UT's starting guards were a combined 0-13 (1-23 game) from the floor while the Rockets were a combined 1-13 from three point land. The Rockets shot 4 space-balls from outside. UT owed a debt of gratitude to Miami since their shooting negatively exceeded the Rockets. The Lady Red Hawks only shot a measly 25% overall from the floor and 2-12 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes. UT was led by a strong performance by Tamika Mays who very nearly recorded a double-double by halftime (12 points & 9 rebounds). Fortunately for UT Miami's leading scorer (Osborn) was shut-down and registered only 7 points on 3-12 overall shooting and 1-5 on 3 point attempts. UT was in a 2-3 "choking" zone for most of the first half.

One of the more interesting statistics yielded by the poor first half shooting was that UT's offensive rebound total very nearly exceeded Miami defensive rebounds (14-16).

The Rockets came out after halftime and rode the Yolanda Richardson express to a 42-29 lead at 14:39. Richardson single handedly stretched UT's lead by scoring 12 of UT's first 14 points after the break. Richardson scored repeatedly on inside put-backs and feeds. For the game Richardson scored 20 points and gathered in15 boards. The other dominant player for UT was Mays. She carried over her solid play after the half for a game total of 20 points and 14 rebounds. Toledo then went into a prolonged stretch of sloppy play. Miami reduced the lead to 58-53 until Toledo went into a trapping half court zone press which caused a turnover, two free throws by Shafir, and a timeout by Miami. Richardson then made a lay-up and the Rockets led by 9 at the 2:15 mark. The Rockets never looked back.

The Rockets won the game at the free throw line hitting 22-30 while Miami was only 5-10. The Hawks simply could not get to the line since UT only had a total of 11 personal fouls for the game.

At crunch time UT was relying on two freshmen (Yolanda Richardson & Lucretia Smith) to hold off the Lady Hawks. Toledo also played Richardson and Goodall together for the majority of the last 4 minutes of the game. Normally these two substitute for each other. This was an interesting call by coach Cullop.

Allie Clifton, Yolanda Richardson, and coach Cullop represented UT at the press conference. Clifton commented that Richardson is a "beast and is not playing like a freshman". Clifton also commented that her foot is "a little sore but is basically "100%". Coach Cullop also commented that Clifton is a "great rebounding G/F with 7 boards in 15 minutes of play". Coach Cullop when asked about winning the game at the line and whether the zone defense contributed to the lack of fouls by UT she stated "Yes I do. We did a good job of getting to the glass in the 2nd half which contributed to us getting to the line from offensive rebounds. Miami got frustrated on the box-outs which led to fouls. We tried to go inside-out in 2nd half versus relying so much on the outside shot."

UT's next game is on the road at the University of Buffalo on Wednesday Jan. 27. The Rockets must attempt to not look past the lady Bulls since the next home game is against arch rival BGSU on Saturday Jan. 30. SEE YOU AT THE GAME!

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