Raider women, men roll to Horizon semifinals

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

FAIRBORN — Michal Miller wasn’t bashful about admitting she felt snubbed by not making any of the post-season All-Horizon League teams.

“I feel like I should have been voted into something,” the 5-foot-7 junior said.

Who can blame her since she was the No. 2 scorer on the league champion team.

Miller’s play in the quarterfinals of the league tournament inside the Nutter Center March 5 also sent a loud-and-clear message to the voters. She scored a game-high 22 points in just 25 minutes and also grabbed four rebounds to lead top-seeded Wright State to an 83-60 win over No. 8 Oakland in front of 1,145 fans.

Miller made four of six from three-point range and eight of 11 overall to help send the 25-6 Raiders into the semifinals in Detroit Monday, March 11 against Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis(IUPUI). She had 14 points in the first half as the Raiders built a 37-26 lead and then made a key three-pointer midway through the third period after the Grizzlies (6-24) cut the lead to 46-41.

Miller finished with a final “told ya’ so” three-pointer with 1:58 left in the game and the shot clock winding down to extend WSU’s lead to 83-58.

“If you want to call it that stamp, then we can,” Miller said. “I don’t even know if that play was being run for me. It felt good that it went in. I really just wanted to help my team get this win tonight.”

The 22 points were Miller’s second highest total this season and broke a string of three straight games in single figures. At one point this season, the transfer from Trinity Valley Community College hit double figures in 13 straight games en route to averaging 11.5 per game.

Miller had plenty of help as the Raiders beat Oakland for the third time this season. Senior Mackenzie Taylor had 16 points, while senior Emily Vogelpohl added 10 points and eight rebounds. In all, 11 players scored for WSU.

“We had some really good performances,” coach Katrina Merriweather said. “I’m really, really proud of this team. We struggled a bit there. We got a little bit stagnant offensively. (But) they keep finding different ways to win.”

Merriweather shouldered some of the blame for Oakland’s third-quarter run that saw WSU’s lead dip down to five, as she substituted freely to keep everyone fresh and give the younger players big-game experience.

“When things don’t flow … we can get a little (down),” she said. “When we’re ready to go and I put that first five back in … we flow a lot better.”

An Autumn Kissman jumper cut the Raiders lead to 49-43 with 3:02 left in the third, but then Taylor scored seven of WSU’s final 15 third-quarter points to extend the lead to 64-44 after three.

Game over.

“I know my team relies on me,” Taylor said. “I just had a couple lanes open. Took advantage of it. It takes everyone.”

Taylor Jones had 22 points in a losing effort for the Grizzlies, who lost by 20 in the previous two meetings combined.

“They went on (that) run the end of the third quarter and it was kind of hard to catch up,” she said.

WSU men 71, IUPUI 56

The top-seeded Raiders led by as many as 19 points in the first half and saw it dwindle to 34-21 at halftime, before opening the second half on a 9-0 run in advancing to the semifinals of the tournament Monday, March 11 in Detroit.

The lead reached 27 at the midway point of the second half, and WSU led by as many as 31 before IUPUI made the game closer than it was.

“Mostly we were really, really good defensively,” Coach Scott Nagy said. “I told our players it’s not easy being the No. 1 seed coming off the high of winning the league. Defensively, we were really strong.”

Bill Wampler led all scorers with 18 points, while Loudon Love added 13 points and nine rebounds. Skyelar Potter had 12 points, and Malachi Smith 11 for the 20-12 Raiders.

Jaylen Minnett had 17 for 16-16 IUPUI.

WSU will play No. 4 Green Bay in the semifinals. The teams split games during the regular season, each winning at home.

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.