OXFORD – Coming off arguably its biggest win of the season, the Michigan women’s basketball team returned to the court better than ever.

Well, in some ways it did.

Despite season highs in shooting percentage and assists, and a season low in turnovers, the Wolverines couldn’t escape Oxford with the most important statistic. Miami (Ohio) outplayed Michigan in nearly every category last night and took an 84-74 win in the process.

The RedHawks (5-4), who shot a blistering 64 percent from the field in the first half, always had an answer for the Wolverines (6-4).

And most of the time, those answers came from the 3-point stripe.

Miami used 11-of-25 shooting from behind the arc to halt Michigan’s momentum on numerous occasions.

“It’s deflating,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said of Miami’s hot shooting. “We were really trying to muster some enthusiasm and some excitement, and I didn’t feel like we were generating that.”

The Wolverines struggled to produce when they needed to most. The RedHawks held Michigan scoreless for the game’s final 2:14 and went on a 9-0 run to finish the contest.

“I didn’t think we executed well (in the final two minutes),” Burnett said. “I didn’t think our shot selection was very good at that point.”

Looking just at the statistics, Michigan played one of its better games of the year. The Wolverines shot 51 percent from the field and tallied 16 assists, while turning it over just 17 times.

But that wasn’t good enough. Miami outplayed the team in each area. The RedHawks shot 52 percent, tallied 19 assists and had one less turnover (16). Miami also held the rebounding edge by one, 32-31.

Center Krista Phillips did her best to keep Michigan in the game. The freshman tallied a career-high 21 points and grabbed eight boards.

But just as Miami (barely) outperformed Michigan as a team, the RedHawks’ top scorer bested Phillips as well. Miami’s Jaclyn Leininger’s had 22 points and 11 boards to top the stats of the Michigan center.

Leading 40-35 at halftime, Miami didn’t let up in the second period. The RedHawks scored on their first three possessions to jump out to an 8-2 run to open the half.

Phillips, who finished 8-of-11 from the field, was a constant inside force. She scored six consecutive points during one stretch to bring the team within two, 50-48.

But that didn’t matter to Phillips.

“With my game tonight, none (of the statistics) make a difference when we lose,” Phillips said.

Without her, Michigan would have been in even more trouble. The RedHawks shot well from the outside, but Miami coach Maria Fantanarosa said Phillips’s height is what forced her team to shoot from the perimeter.

“(Phillips) could just hang out in (the paint), and we weren’t sure what we were going to do,” Fantanarosa said.

But in the end, Miami seemed to know exactly what to do.

The Wolverines actually took a 68-67 lead at one point. But the RedHawks went back to their bread and butter, connecting on a 3-pointer to take a 70-68 advantage that Miami would never give up.

Michigan shot well, but it didn’t look as good on defense. When asked if there is anything a team can do to cool off a hot-shooting squad like Miami, junior co-captain Janelle Cooper replied quickly.

“Play better defense,” said Cooper, who scored 17 points. “We have to pressure the ball and try to get (the opposition) out of the things they like to do.”

Burnett said she wasn’t surprised by her team’s performance after a good weekend. The Wolverines barely lost to Notre Dame on Friday and beat Miami (Fla.) on Sunday.

“I kind of saw this coming,” Burnett said. “We did take a day off, and we did only have one day to prepare. But there’s no excuses. You still have to go out and play the game.”

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