OXFORD — Jazz Smith’s career-high 17 points paced a balanced scoring effort in the Miami women’s basketball team’s 70-57 victory over Cedarville on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Nine of the 10 RedHawks (6-7) who got on the floor scored as they wrapped up non-conference play as winners of four of their last five games.
After yielding a three-pointer to open play, the RedHawks countered with the next five points on a Megan Galloway layup and a Leah Purvis three-pointer. The run extended to 12-0 on two Abby Hoff free throws, a Savannah Kluesner baseline jumper and a Lauren Dickerson three-pointer that made it 12-3. Miami forced the Yellow Jackets (6-4) to miss 11-straight shots in that span and led 14-7 after the first quarter.
Cedarville pulled to within four points in the second quarter after falling behind by as much as nine early on. After MU’s lead was whittled down to 18-14, it responded with a 9-2 surge to regain its nine-point bulge at 25-16 with 5:19 left in the half. That run was punctuated by another three by Purvis.
Miami’s lead eventually grew to 12 at 31-19 and after trading baskets, Kayla Brown hit a mid-range jumper in transition at the buzzer to hand the RedHawks a 35-21 lead at halftime.
Miami came out on fire in the second half, going on a 9-3 run to extend their lead to 44-24 with 7:08 left in the third quarter. Dickerson contributed to five of those points on a layup and a three while Brown and Smith converted layups to bump MU’s lead to 20.
Cedarville scored the next nine points to pull to within 11 in a 2:22 span. A three-pointer by Smith quieted the surge and upped the lead back to 47-33 and both teams traded a pair of free throw makes to keep MU ahead by 14. The Yellow Jackets clawed a bit closer, but the RedHawks remained up by a dozen (50-38) after 30 minutes of play.
After the Yellow Jackets cut the RedHawk lead to 10, Purvis responded with a pair of three-pointers to 56-40 with seven and a half minutes to go. Cedarville clawed back to a 10-point deficit at 65-55 late, but that was as close as it got as Smith connected on another three and hit a couple free throws to cap her career evening.
Smith’s 17 points headlined three MU players who finished in double figures. Purvis netted 12 points on four three-pointers while Dickerson chipped in 10 points and a game-high tying five assists.
Miami shot 39 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers while holding Cedarville to 37.5 percent shooting and forcing 14 turnovers. The Yellow Jackets did hold a slight edge in rebounding at 39-36. Both teams scored in bulk from three-point range with Miami connecting on 9-of-27 (31.0 percent) and Cedarville going 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Of note, MU outscored Cedarville by eight from the charity stripe, hitting 15-of-20 (75 percent) at the line compared to Cedarvilles 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) clip.
The RedHawks begin Mid-American Conference play on the road with a New Year’s Eve showdown at Buffalo. Opening tip is at 6 p.m.