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Canes Women’s Hoops: Italy Trip Roundup

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Three games and a reunion with two former players among many highlights of team trip.

NCAA rules permit basketball programs to travel abroad every four years to play international games. The Miami Hurricanes Women’s Basketball program had last been oversees in 2014, when they experienced France, Belgium and the Netherlands. This made them well due for another excursion in this past summer, which they took in August to Italy, following a similar itinerary to that of the Men’s team.

The preparation began in June, when the incoming freshmen arrived in Coral Gables to report to school. 10 practices soon followed to prepare for the competition overseas. But before the team knew, they would find themselves in Europe, where the Roman sunshine would greet the players after the long, jet lag inducing transatlantic flight.

For many players, this was their first time out of the US. There were many interesting aspects to being abroad, but food was one of the best things about the country, and players took full advantage. “The gelato was so amazing,” said Sydnee Roby, “I had it everyday.” Meanwhile, junior guard Endia Banks fell in love with the pasta.

Women’s Trip Overview

August 7: Evening departure from Miami

August 8: Arrival in Rome

The first day, of course, was not without its challenges, as normal travel difficulties took effect. “The timezone difference really messed me up”, said newcomer Sydnee Roby, “When we were trying to sleep, we’d be up in the middle of the night, because of the time back home.” Still, it was a small price to pay that would be far less of an issue once everyone’s bodies were soon acclimated.

August 9: Travel Day (Rome to Florence)

August 10: Game against the Netherlands Women’s National Team, and former Hurricanes Emese Hof and Laura Cornelius.

“It was very emotional,” said Banks, “Everyone was just all hugs and smiles. It was very exciting.”

August 11: Florence Sightseeing

Florence, a team favorite, gave players an opportunity to splurge on souvenirs. Roby brought home matching watches for her parents. Banks meanwhile purchased some shirts, also for her family.

August 12: Game against Florence All-Stars

August 13: Travel Day

August 14: Game against Venice All-Stars

August 15: Venice Sightseeing

August 16: Return to Miami

Women’s Game Recaps

August 10

Opponent: Netherlands Women’s National Team

Where: Rome, Italy

Result: 61-59 Win

The game was a back-and-forth one in the Italian Capital, with Miami taking an eight-point lead into halftime. The Dutch took a lead in the second half, but a Jamir Huston free throw late gave UM a win in their first game of the trip.

Mykea Grey led the Canes in scoring with 15 points. Banks and freshman Brianna Jackson both added eight. Jackson also added nine rebounds in her first game as a Hurricane.

“I was a little nervous,” said Roby, a freshman playing in an actual game setting for the first time as a Miami Hurricane. “But once you get into rhythm of your game and how you play, it kind of just goes from there.”

But the highlight of the matchup had nothing to do with the final score or result, but instead was getting playing against former UM players Hof and Cornelius, both current members of the Dutch team.

August 12

Opponent: Florence All-Stars

Where: Florence, Italy

Result: 71-67 Loss

Katie Meier’s team was able to squeeze out a close win in Rome, but wasn’t as lucky in the second game. Playing against the Florence All-Stars, UM wasn’t able to hold onto a 12-point first half lead as they fell behind by as much as 11 in the final quarter. Despite cutting the deficit to just one possession with less than a minute to play, the Canes couldn’t get back over the hump before the buzzer sounded.

Kelsey Marshall led the Hurricane players in points with 14, while Jackson again led in rebounds with 11.

August 14

Opponent: Venice All-Stars

Where: Venice, Italy

Result: 102-42 Win

After two razor-thin scorelines to begin the tour, Miami left no doubt during the third and final game of the trip, prevailing by 60 points. The game was never in question, as the Canes led by 20 after a quarter and 31 at the half.

Several new faces got their names in the final box. Jackson led in points with 13 and shared the rebounding lead with fellow freshman Roby and redshirt-junior Jacaira Allen, who all pulled down five boards.

Roby also added 12 points, followed by Marshall’s 11 and Banks’ 10.

***

When the team returned home, life returned to normal, and the fall semester began. But the memories from the trip will last forever. The team formed a closer bond, on and off the court. Trips like these “force you to get to know everyone,” said Roby, a great thing for a freshman still getting used to playing for a Division 1 program.

The team also leaned how to “keep having fun,” according to Banks. While sounding cliché, it’s something that could help immensely in the hypothetical event of a few bad consecutive regular season games.

No matter whether looked back upon from a basketball or a general tourist perspective, the players will not soon forget the memories from the Summer of ‘19.