The women’s basketball team (22-6, 11-6) had a chance to secure a high seed in the NCAA tournament last weekend. However, the only thing it ended up with was a 65-53 loss to Boston College (25-6, 11-5) in the second round of the Big East tournament that left the team wondering where its stands in the selection committee’s eyes.
The fourth seeded ‘Canes played a lethargic game after receiving a first round bye. The women played with little emotion, as they were unable get anything going on offense or stop fifth-seeded Boston College freshman Kathrin Ress, who finished with a career-high 20 points.
“We’re crushed,” Head Coach Ferne Labati told The Miami Herald. “We had an opportunity to come here and better ourselves for the NCAA tournament. We had no energy at all on defense.”
Only two Hurricanes scored in double figures in the loss. Yalonda McCormick had a team-high 19 points and six assists, and Shaquana Wilkins totaled 12 points and seven rebounds.
Miami, playing in its final Big East game before moving to the ACC, shot 32.1 percent from the field in the first half, but only trailed 23-20 at the break. Early in the second half, the Hurricanes briefly took what would be their only lead at 30-29.
“We’re crushed. We had an opportunity to come here and better ourselves for the NCAA tournament.” – Coach ferne labati
The Eagles went on a 21-7 run to open up a 51-37 advantage. The lead proved to be too much for UM to surmount, as Miami never got within 11 points the rest of the way.
Tamara James and Melissa Knight struggled all day to get their shot going. James, the ‘Canes’ leading scorer on the year with 16.9 points per game, finished with nine points while Knight could only muster four.
The Hurricanes shot only 3 for 15 from three-point range, with McCormick hitting all three. The team only went to the free-throw line five times, converting on two of them. Boston College went 19 for 23 from the charity stripe.
The Big East Tournament was a chance for Miami to prove that it is a legitimate contender for the National Championship. Although the ‘Canes will still receive a bid, they left the selection committee and their fans with a bad taste in their mouths.
Miami will most likely be better off than the 11 seed it earned a year ago when it lost in the opening round in overtime to New Mexico 91-85. The Hurricanes will likely lose out on hosting a first round game as well. Last year they had to travel to “The Pit,” New Mexico’s famous student section, enduring deafening taunts to get to overtime.
McCormick told The Miami Herald: “We know we have to redeem ourselves. We have to play every game as if it’s our last.”
Douglas Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.