Hurricanes avenge last year’s loss

Last season at the Knight Sports Complex, the Miami Hurricanes played possibly their worst game of the year against Rutgers, turning the ball over 33 times in a 39-37 loss. Fortunately for the ‘Canes, Rutgers’ return to Coral Gables brought a slightly different result for the Hurricanes.
Miami avenged last season’s loss to Rutgers, defeating the Scarlet Knights 65-55 on Saturday night. The victory improved the Hurricanes’ record to 13-6 (6-3 Big East), and gave them a two-game sweep in the season series against Rutgers. Head coach Ferne Labati said the victory was attributed to a total team effort.
“The kids worked extremely hard preparing for this ball game the past couple days,” Labati said. “We knew that this was a young team, but a very good team, and we played very well, stopping their penetration and defending their three-pointers.”
Sophomore Chanivia Broussard led the Miami attack with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Broussard attributed her success on offense to her play on defense.
“I tried to stay within the game plan, which was to play hard defense,” said Broussard, who also grabbed six rebounds and added two blocks. “When I was able to play defense, it all came.”
Three other Miami Hurricanes posted double figure scoring totals. Sophomore Shaquana Wilkins, coming off her first Big East Player of the Week Award, scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Another sophomore, Hutashi Wilson, broke out of her scoring slump with 11 points.
The most important performance, however may have come form Sheila James, who earlier this week sported a cast on her right arm. James returned from injury to score 13 points for Miami.
“I wanted to help this team out, and since Martha has been sick, they really needed me out there,” said James, discussing Martha Bodley’s absence. “I worked on my shot all week and I’m glad that it worked out tonight.”
James hit two key three-pointers in the second half, helping Miami outscore Rutgers 41-34 in the final 20 minutes. Labati was pleased not only to see James back in the lineup, but also to see her 5-5 senior put some points on the scoreboard.
“Shelia has a lot of game experience so we needed her to help our guard play,” Labati said. “She came in and did some real nice things out there.”
Miami played one of its best overall games of the season, shooting a sizzling 46 percent from the field while holding the Knights to just 37 percent shooting. The Hurricanes also forced 25 Rutgers turnovers and hit 12 of their 18 second half free throws.
Miami will need to keep up its solid play if they want to come out with a victory tonight at Villanova, a game James says is very important.
“We need to beat Villanova so that we can get closer to accomplishing our goal, which is locking up a top three spot and a first-round bye in the (Big East) Tournament,” James said.