Devastating loss for the Hurricanes

Women’s basketball lets golden opportunity slip away
‘Canes surrender 100 points to lowly Mountaineers
What could have been another impressive Big East road victory for the Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball team became one of the worst losses of the season.
The Hurricanes dropped a 100-86 decision to the West Virginia Mountaineers in a game that Miami needs to soon forget as the team tries to respond against UConn on Wednesday.
With the loss, Miami falls to 14-8 on the year, 6-5 in the conference. West Virginia improves to 13-9 and just 2-9 in the conference.
Tamara James and Megan Saake each contributed 18 points for the Hurricanes, while Yolonda McCormick dropped in 16. As a team, the Hurricanes put an impressive 86 points on the board, shot 48 percent from the field, and connected on 80 percent of their free throws.
But despite the loss, head coach Ferne Labati said she was impressed with the team’s offensive capabilities.
“It showed our ability to be able to score points…Megan Saake had a really good game,” she said. “I always feel that when Megan plays well offensively we do well. We did well offensively, we just made too many mistakes.”
While Miami’s offense kept the team in the game down the stretch, the defense was unable to come up with stops. The Mountaineers warded off any Miami run late in the game with clutch baskets from Sherell Sowho and Kate Bulger. Bulger led the way with 22 while Sowho added 19 on 6-10 shooting.
West Virginia, the second worst free throw shooting team in the conference, shot 82 percent from the line, and also got to the line 14 more times than the Hurricanes. More importantly, the Mountaineers shot 10-12 from the line down the stretch. Fifty-eight percent shooting from the field was good enough for the Mountaineers to become the first team to score 100 points on the Hurricanes this season.
“We’re disappointed because we allowed so many points to West Virginia defensively. We felt that we just didn’t do the job,” said Labati. “It was our turnovers. It was our silly fouls…not playing good defense, not boxing out. Those kinds of things really hurt us in the game and it cost us the game.”
Miami hung close with the red hot Mountaineers, trailing by just four at halftime, but West Virginia exploded for 54 points in the second half, and the Hurricanes could not keep up. A quick four points for the Mountaineers to start the half dictated the way the rest of the game would go. Miami stayed in it until the final 10 minutes of the contest, during which West Virginia opened up a double-digit lead and never looked back.
A win would have put Miami in good position to ensure itself a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Hurricanes now figure they must win four out of their remaining five games, with one of those games being against the No.1 ranked Connecticut Huskies in the Convocation Center.
Labati recognizes the difficult task ahead for Miami, but she remains upbeat.
“I think the most important thing for this team is to refocus,” Labati said. “We’re all in this together; the coaches, the players, and we’ve dug ourselves into a hole, and we’re going to dig ourselves out of the hole.”