By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Lady Colonels came up with the big plays down the stretch that allowed them to get into overtime Friday at McBrayer Arena against Miami (Ohio).
In the extra period, they were in complete control.
Marie Carpenter had 27 points and Jade Barber almost posted a triple-double (13 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocks) as EKU opened the season with a gritty, hard-fought 73-63 win over the Lady Redhawks. The Lady Colonels limited Miami to just one-of-eight shooting in overtime while they connected on four-of-seven field goal attempts and four-of-six free throws.
“They are a good team,” EKU coach Chrissy Roberts said of Miami. “We knew coming in we would have our work cut out for us. But, we paid attention to details. We were zoned in and focused for the majority of the game. We got stops when we needed to. We finished down the stretch and the outcome is a great win.”
Miami won 22 games last season, including a 60-55 victory over EKU, and was the preseason pick to win the MAC East this year.
The Lady Redhawks led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but they needed a banked three-pointer by Kirsten Olowinski just to force overtime.
EKU never trailed in the extra period. Brittany Coles scored off a pass from Alex Jones to make it 63-61 and after Hannah McCue tied the game moments later for Miami, EKU scored the final 10 points of the game.
Barber was noticeably upset after being called for traveling late in the second half. The senior responded with a strong finish. She had three baskets in the final minutes that either gave her team the lead or tied the score.
“I just had to brush it off and keep going because at the end of the day, the win was important,” Barber said.
In the second half, Barber had 14 rebounds, 12 points and five blocks.
The Lady Colonels trailed 11-4 in the opening minutes. Later, Miami took a 20-10 lead after a three-point play by Olowinski.
EKU put together a 10-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play by Shelly Harper and a three-pointer by Raechele Gray, to tie the game, but the Lady Redhawks never relinquished the lead in the first half. Carpenter hit a three just before the buzzer to cut EKU’s deficit to 27-24 at halftime.
The Lady Colonels used 12 players in the first half, shot just 26 percent (8-of-31) and had 10 turnovers.
Miami shot only 38 percent (12-of-32) in the opening half, including a 1-of-9 performance from three-point range.
“(At halftime), we talked about just settling down and playing,” Roberts said.
The Lady Colonels opened the second half on a 17-6 run, taking a 42-33 lead on a Coles three-pointer.
Miami erased that lead relatively quickly, going on a 12-2 run.
Gray finished with 15 points and Coles had 10 points.
The Lady Colonels are set to return to action Wednesday at home against Kent State.