The season debut of Tamara James was a huge success. The freshman led the lady ‘Canes with 20 points and 21 rebounds in a 60-49 victory Friday night at the Knight Sports Complex against South Florida.
The ‘Canes got the victory despite playing without two of its better players in Chanivia Broussard and Shaquana Wilkins. However, the team out hustled South Florida on its way to the victory.
“The first game we showed a tremendous amount of effort. That is what you ask for, you ask for your kids to play hard in the beginning of the year and our kids definitely did that,” said head coach Ferne Labati.
The freshman Tamara James gave a heroic effort. Playing on a bad ankle, James led the way with her huge performance.
“She was huge. She is only going to get better. She is a gamer, she loves to compete, she plays with her whole heart and soul.” said Labati.
As for James, she was just trying to do what she could do to help her team. With two players out, someone had to step up and play well. James was that person.
“I came out and played hard and did what I had to do. Every opportunity that I saw the ball, I just tried to grab it,” said James.
Miami also got a double-double by Alicia Hartlaub, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds. However, senior star Megan Saake struggled, shooting just two for 9 from the field, and struggling with her shots throughout the game. The last pre-season game had also seen Saake struggle with her shooting. However, her coach still believes she will get the job done.
“She’ll be ok. She is under a tremendous amount of pressure with two of our key players being out. She’ll be fine, she’s rushing her shot right now,” said Labati.
On the negative side, the ‘Canes did turn the ball over 30 times and shot just 13 for 22 from the free throw line, which are two things the team will really need to improve on.
“We really felt that we had to control the tempo, and it got away from us in the first half….we only played seven players, and that had a tremendous effect on the free throws, we will definitely be in a better position in the future. We are a good free throw shooting team, it was definitely fatigue tonight,” said Labati.
If the ‘Canes can keep the turnovers down and keep playing well, this team could go far into the post season. With Broussard and Wilkins expected to return to the lineup, the team should only get better.
You can reach Darren Grossman at email@example.com.