Jessica Thomas leads Hurricanes to 80-46 victory over Charlotte 49ers

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Senior guard Jessica Thomas (3) drives the ball toward the net during the Hurricanes’ 80-46 win over Charlotte Wednesday night in the Watsco Center. Josh White // Staff Photographer

Senior guard Jessica Thomas (3) drives the ball toward the net during the Hurricanes’ 80-46 win over Charlotte Wednesday night in the Watsco Center. Josh White // Staff Photographer

Senior guard and co-captain Jessica Thomas scored 18 points and dished out five assists in just over three quarters, and the No. 22 Hurricanes produced a dominant, wire-to-wire showing to pick up an 80-46 win over the visiting Charlotte 49ers. The 34-point win is the largest margin of victory so far this season.

Miami (2-1) didn’t waste any time in this one, hitting its first eight shots, including five threes, to open a 21-6 cushion early in the first.

“I don’t think that we could have played any better in the first half,” said Head Coach Katie Meier, who stressed that the players were amped to come out strong in their home opener. “I didn’t have to say anything at practice today, [or]shootaround, they were just sharp, and great and energetic.”

Thomas, the starting point guard, led the charge with hard drives to the bucket, allowing her to finish layups and open up teammates for rhythm three-pointers. Junior forward/center Erykah Davenport made an impact on the interior with 11 points on 5-5 shooting, consistently getting whatever she wanted in the paint.

Meier praised Davenport’s efficient play, but not without some playful critique.

“Until she stopped playing defense in the fourth,” Meier said with a smirk.

Senior guard and co-captain Adrienne Motley shot well all night, hitting threes and staying within the offense.

Beyond the early offensive fireworks, the Canes defense is what really set them over the top. The 49ers (2-1) guards were hounded all night and were unable to create shots for themselves or their teammates. Faced with limited room to facilitate any type of flow on offense, the visitors forced up bad shots throughout the evening.

Charlotte hit just under a quarter of its field goals in the first half, leading to a 27-point deficit going into the locker room.

It was more of the same for Charlotte in the third quarter, as its half-court offense bogged down into tough runners and contested threes due to Miami’s suffocating defense. The 49ers, visibly gassed by the second half, ultimately finished the game shooting a paltry 28 percent from the field.

The Hurricanes suffered through a scoring drought of over three minutes during the period, but still produced enough offense to widen the score to 67-33 with 10 minutes left to play.

Thomas set the tone all night, hitting tough shots from all over the court.

“My teammates hit me in the right spots and we just got it done,” Thomas said.

Miami looks to get its third straight win when it travels to play St. John’s at 7 p.m. on Sunday in Queens.

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