The University of Miami women’s basketball team struggled last week, going 0-2 and dropping to 9-5 (1-2 ACC) on the year. The story of each loss was again the struggles of the Hurricanes’ offense, which shot just 37% between the two games.
Miami’s first loss of the week came in their first road conference game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Hurricanes played well on defense, outrebounding the Yellow Jackets and forcing GT into 13 turnovers. However, the ‘Canes never found a rhythm on offense, shooting the ball poorly as mentioned before and committing 18 turnovers. Even star Beatrice Mompremier struggled, she had just nine points as GT found a way to keep Miami out of their best plays in a 61-54 for loss for the ‘Canes.
The story of Miami’s second game of the week against FSU was much the same. FSU took an 11 point road win with a final score of 73-62. The Seminoles managed to consistently break down the Hurricanes defense, shooting 52.3% from the floor to overcome 21 turnovers and three less rebounds. The Hurricanes played really well defensively against the Seminoles, but FSU had an excellent shooting night that made Miami’s defensive effort seemingly not matter.
On offense, the Hurricanes also had 21 turnovers of their own, often rushing play and making sloppy passes. On the bright side, junior Mykea Gray continued her great recent run of play scoring 21 points despite the losing effort. The Hurricanes leaned on her heavily during the game, since the ‘Canes were without standout forward Beatrice Mompremier who missed the game with a foot injury. Truth be told, the ‘Canes put up a valiant effort against a Top 10 team despite not having their best player available.
This week, Miami will need Mompremier, who was put on the Wooden Award midseason watch list, because they have a two game stretch that is crucial for the rest of their season. The Hurricanes will take on No.7 Louisville and Syracuse at the Watsco Center this week.
Louisville, like FSU, is one of the best teams in the country and is yet another chance for Miami to finally get a win that could jumpstart the rest of its’ season. The Cardinals are 14-1, including wins over then No.1 Oregon and then No.14 Kentucky, both away from home. The ‘Cards are a great team, and have no obvious weaknesses.
UL is led by junior guard Dana Evans, who averages an elite 18.5 points a night. She’s helped in the backcourt by another talented guard, Jazmine Jones, who averages 14.4 points a night. Everything runs through those two players, and if Miami wants to have any chance of beating Louisville they’ll have to shut them down.
Syracuse, the Hurricanes’ second opponent of the week, has long been one of the best women’s basketball programs in the country, but they’re having a down year so far this season. The Orange are just 8-6 on the year, and Sunday’s matchup could see two teams looking to start a run down the stretch to the end of the season. ‘Cuse has had a great start to conference play so far, they sit at 2-1 in the ACC with overtime wins against Florida State and Notre Dame.
Syracuse is also led by a guard, Kiara Lewis, who averages 17.8 points a night. Besides her, the Orange have four other players averaging over nine points a game. Syracuse can spread the ball around the court and score with several different players. Miami will again to have to remain committed to assignments and respect the talent on the court no matter what the Orange’s record may show.
This week could make or break the rest of the Hurricanes season. If Miami goes 0-2, they drop to 9-7 on the year and would be off to a nightmarish 1-4 conference start. On the other hand, a 2-0 run this week would make the Hurricanes 11-5, put them back above .500 in conference, and mean they would add a marquee win to a possible tournament resume.