The No. 19 Hurricanes’ season came to an end, when they fell 74-71 to the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits Saturday night in an NCAA Tournament first round matchup. The fifth-seeded Canes led at the end of the first half, but an abysmal third quarter performance was Miami’s downfall.
The Jack Rabbits had a chance to put the game away in the final stretch, but they were unable to put the nail in the coffin. In the final minute of the game, SDS shot 3-of-8 from the free throw line. The Canes could not capitalize and their impressive season ended in disappointment.
It was the 12th-seeded Jack Rabbits’ three-point shooting and suffocating zone defense that hurt the Canes. Coming in to the game, SDS, the Summit League tournament champions, were known as a lethal three-point shooting squad. They stayed true to their modus operandi, converting more than 44 percent of their triples. They were led by freshman guard Madison Guebert who converted on five of her seven triples.
The Canes played a clean first half committing only three turnovers, but in the second half when the Jack Rabbits played more 2-3 zone defense, the Canes gave up seven turnovers. The decrease in ball security was a key factor in the derailing of the Canes offense in the second half.
The Canes fell behind when the Jack Rabbits opened the third quarter on a 11-1 run to go up 48-40. After the Canes fell behind in the third quarter, they were never able to get back into the game.
Prior to that the game was close in the first half. Both teams in the first half played well, especially on the glass, as both squads had 21 boards in the first half. For the Canes in the first half freshman center Emese Hof, off the bench, was the best player on the court. She scored eights points while also hauling in six rebounds. For the Jack Rabbits, the first half was also riddled with success. But the Rabbits’ leading scorer guard Marcy Miller struggled. She turned the ball over 11 times, many of which came in the first half.