UM wins despite poor shooting

Sometimes winning a game doesn’t necessarily equal playing the best brand of basketball.
On Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes defeated Seton Hall, 56-54, at Miami Arena despite shooting just over 30 percent from the field. The Hurricanes also struggled at the line, connecting on just 15 of 26 free throws, while turning the ball over 21 times.
Miami played an excellent game on the defensive end, however, holding the Pirates to just 35 percent shooting from the field and forcing 26 turnovers.
“Any time you get a win in the Big East, you have to be extremely happy,” UM coach Ferne Labati said. “I don’t think either team is really satisfied with the way they played, but the Big East is a struggle and every game is going to be decided by one or two points.”
For the second game in a row, Miami was led by Shaquana Wilkins off the bench. The 6-2 sophomore shot just 5-of-19 from the field, but her team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds seemed to give Miami another scoring option besides Chanivia Broussard and Meghan Saake. Wilkins’ solid play of late has also boosted her confidence level in a big way.
“I guess today wasn’t a good day for me shooting, but I never gave up and that’s really given me a lot of confidence coming into games,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins was also the only Miami player to score in double figures. Meghan Saake posted nine points for the Hurricanes, but again proved to be one of the best defensive players in the country, recording eight steals.
“Offense and defense are two different aspects of the game,” Saake said. “I know that if I’m not playing real well on offense, then I can make it up on defense.”
Both teams came out shooting blanks in the first half, which ended with Miami on top 23-20. Wilkins led the Hurricanes with seven at the break, while freshman Melissa Knight put up six. The Hurricanes shot a frigid 23 percent in the first half, however, and Labati wanted the team to make some adjustments in the final 20 minutes.
“We knew we were rushing our shots and just not playing our game in the first half, and Seton Hall was doing the same thing,” Labati said. “We told our kids to power the ball inside and go to the free throw line, and I think they did a great job at really looking into the interior and we got to the foul line as well.”
The Hurricanes travel to Queens, New York today to get ready for their 7:30 game tommorow night at St. Johns. The Red Storm have been one of the Big East’s doormats in recent years, but Labati is still expecting another tough game.
“We’ve got to be ready to play at St. John’s,” Labati said. “When you’re on the road, you have to be more focused and you have to play better than you do at home.”