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This Week in ‘Canes Women’s Hoops: December 31 Edition

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The ‘Canes start the New Year off with one of their most important weeks of the season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 31 Women’s Miami at Florida State Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes enter 2020 on a bit of a roll. The ‘Canes have won each of their last four games and got their first conference win of the season last week against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Hurricanes’ solid play over the last two weeks moved them up one spot to No.23 in this week’s AP Poll.

Mykea Gray led the ‘Canes in their 59-56 win over Demon Deacons. The junior guard scored 17 points on 7-12 shooting to go along with four assists and two rebounds. Beatrice Mompremier also had an outstanding game, earning yet another double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Miami’s defense was again good in the win, holding Wake Forest to just 35.5% shooting on the night. The ‘Canes defense also did a good job of forcing mistakes, pushing the Demon Deacons to make 14 costly turnovers while allowing them to have just nine assists.

The Hurricanes still have areas of their game to improve. Miami again allowed guards to score with ease against them, allowing 13 and 12 points to Wake Forest guards Alex Sharp and Gina Conti respectively. The ‘Canes have an extremely talented frontcourt, and teams are emphasizing backcourt scoring against Miami as a result. As the season goes on Miami will look to continue to tweak their defense to ensure they play to their strengths.

The week ahead sees two tough games for the ‘Canes. First they’ll take on a 10-2 Georgia Tech squad on Thursday that has played well to start the season. Then, on Sunday, the Hurricanes will have a showdown at home against No.8 Florida State, who sits undefeated at 13-0.

Georgia Tech is an extremely talented team, and the Hurricanes can’t afford to look past them. The Yellow Jackets only two losses this season came to Rutgers (11-1) in November and to No.11 Texas A&M on December 20.

The Jackets are led by senior guard Francesca Pan, who averages 14.1 points a game. Pan will provide yet another challenging guard to defend against for Miami. Georgia Tech does a good job of remaining balanced in their offense, with four different players averaging over 10 points a game. The Hurricanes will need to stay true to their assignments and defensive philosophy in order to get a crucial win over GT.

Sunday sees Miami get another chance at a highly ranked opponent, this time at home. Florida State is one of the best teams in the country. Already this year the Seminoles have wins over No.11 Texas A&M, Michigan, and Florida.

The ‘Noles are led by two 15 point a game scorers in Nausia Woolfolk and Kiah Gillespie. Gillespie could be matched-up against Miami’s own standout Beatrice Mompremier in what could turn out to be the battle that determines the game. Gillespie nearly averages a double-double, just like Mompremier, and much of what each team will try to do on Sunday will run through these two players.

Miami has struggled in their ranked matchups so far this season. Sunday will provide a big chance to change that narrative and earn a marquee win as the ‘Canes hope to get back in the conversation to host during the NCAA Tournament. This weekend’s matchup could also have a significant impact on the outcome of the ACC, Miami and FSU were, and are, two favorites for the conference title.

This week may be the biggest of the season so far for Miami. Two wins would add to the Hurricanes’ momentum and be a great start to the rest of conference play for the ‘Canes.