The Miami Hurricanes went into their first ever game at the Convocation Center riding an eight-game win streak. Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end.
Boston College spoiled the debut of the ‘Lady Canes in the new facility, handing Miami a 79-61 defeat. The Eagles jumped out to an early 13-0 lead and prevented the Hurricanes from getting within single digits after that point. BC had a big height advantage coming in and took advantage of the ‘Canes in the paint the entire evening.
“We got down big early and we panicked a little bit and took bad shots,” coach Ferne Labati said.
Miami trailed by 21 at the half, 45-24, and could never get back into the game. The team embarked on a brief second half run that cut the deficit to 11 with about nine minutes left to play. From there, BC went on a 7-0 run of their own to seal the victory.
The big reason for the ‘Lady Canes struggles was in the rebound department. Boston College outrebounded UM 28-13 in the 2nd half, and 46-30 for the game.
“It wasn’t so much about getting outrebounded,” Labati said. “It was about hustle and effort. They outhustled us and we have to do a better job of giving full effort and getting after the boards.”
Miami could not find the answer for the one-two punch of Becky Gottstein and Jessalyn Deveny. Both contributed with 20 points, while Gottstein also grabbed 12 rebounds, earning a double-double in the process.
Tamara James, the five-time Big East Rookie of the Week and the conference’s leading scorer at 24.8 points per game, struggled against the taller BC frontcourt. Often finding herself double teamed, James was held to just 17 points, shooting five of 17 from the field.
“I got frustrated and got taken out of my game,” James said. “I started forcing shots….I don’t think we were nervous, we just didn’t get the job done.”
The Hurricanes entered the contest on an impressive run. Miami’s eight-game winning streak, their longest since 1992, included an impressive 3-0 record on an early January road trip with wins over Georgetown, Syracuse, and #6 Notre Dame.
However, on what should have been a great day with the opening of the Convocation Center, instead found Miami unable to defend their home court.
“This is our house,” Labati said. “We are proud of it and wanted to defend it, but we just didn’t do a good job tonight,” said Coach Labati.
The Canes fall to 11-4 on the season and 3-1 in the Big East, while BC goes to 11-3 and 3-0 in the Big East with the win. Miami will look to bounce back from the loss and record a tough road victory against Pitt next Wednesday before coming back to the Convocation Center for games against Syracuse and Virginia Tech
Meanwhile, Miami’s chance at redemption versus BC will come in a March 1st meeting up in Chestnut Hill, MA. That is a game that the ‘Lady Canes vow will be different.
“We are going to try to go up there and give it to them,” guard Meghan Saake said. “This loss will motivate us to play that much harder on March 1st.”
You can reach Darren Grossman at DRG215@aol.com.