Despite Miami’s leading scorer, Renee Taylor, having an off-shooting night from the floor, the ‘Canes secured a 69-59 win over San Francisco on Sunday.
Junior transfer Maurita Reid stepped up to fill in for the unusually quiet Taylor. Reid hit two straight three-pointers late in the fourth quarter that extended the Hurricanes’ lead.
Miami improved their record to 4-1 on the season and won two of three games on a west-coast series. The Dons dropped to 1-3.
After San Francisco cut Miami’s lead to 57-53 with 4:34 remaining, Reid scored six of her team-high 15 points in Miami’s next two possessions, giving the Hurricanes a 10 point cushion that would eventually hold up. Reid also collected 10 rebounds for the second time in five games.
Head Coach Katie Meier credited Reid’s energy at the end of the game for her success.
“The thing about Maurita is that she is in superb condition,” Meier said. “She’s got a will to win and she has got the energy to go get the rebounds.”
The Hurricanes had three other scorers in double figures. Sophomore Center Brittany Denson chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds. Guard Latoya Cunningham scored 11 points off the bench, shooting three of five from beyond the arc. Senior Renee Taylor added 11 points despite 4 of 14 shooting and dished out six assists.
Miami got clutch shooting from their bench, which totaled 23 points. Besides Cunningham’s efforts, Charmaine Clark had nine points and Kathryn Hester scored her only points of the game, breaking a 51-51 tie with a triple at the 6:00 mark.
Meier was impressed with her team’s contributions off the bench.
“There were big shots there by people like Kathryn Hester and Latoya Cunningham and that’s what we needed from our bench,” she said. “We got huge scoring from our bench in a night when Renee was limited.”
Miami opened the game with a fast start, scoring the first eight points of the game. The Hurricanes led by as many as 11 points twice in the first half, but San Francisco would close out the half with a 6-0 run and trail 35-30 at halftime.
The Dons took their first lead of the game in the second half on a jumper by Dominique Carter, who had a game-high 20 points, to go up 41-39 with 14:09 remaining.
After Miami regained the lead 51-44, the Dons responded with a 7-0 run. The Hurricanes answered by going on a 12-2 run with the scored tied at 51-51. San Francisco rallied to get within four points with 1:52 remaining, but the Hurricanes would score the final six points of the game, including four points from Taylor.
Miami shot 42.4 percent from the field and held their opponent to a 33.9 field goal percentage. Miami’s perimeter defense contributed to the Don’s lack of success from three point range, shooting just two of 14.
Meier was pleased with her team’s resolve after suffering a one point loss to St. Mary’s.
“I loved the way we started this game tonight,” she said. “I didn’t know how our team was going to respond. I’m awfully proud.”
Miami returns to the Bank United Center today to host Nicholls State in a Thanksgiving Tournament.
Alex Kushel may be contacted at email@example.com.