Women’s Basketball: Road struggles continue for ‘Canes

The Hurricanes’ women’s basketball team came into Thursday’s contest on a seven-game road losing streak and had not won away from the BankUnited Center since Nov 19. Not even junior guard Maurita Reid’s efforts could stop the slide.

Despite playing their best road game thus far in the ACC, Miami came up short, falling 78-71 to Virginia Tech.

The Hurricanes dropped to 10-11(1-5) and have not won consecutive games since Dec. 1, while the Hokies improved to 14-8 (4-3).

After a 15-point victory against Boston College, Miami shot only 36.1 percent from the field, struggling to score in the first half and failing to get their perimeter offense in sync until after halftime.

Reid had one of her finest performances of the season, showing her versatility as she becomes more comfortable in her first season in the ACC. The Queens, NY native scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting and collected eight rebounds as well as four steals. She also shot 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.

“Maurita was very special tonight,” Head Coach Katie Meier said. “I think she really adjusted her game.”

A recurring problem on the road this season for Miami has been their scoring woes as well as their inability to respond after an opponent makes a run.

In ACC play, Miami was unable to make up large deficits to Duke, Florida State and Georgia Tech.

After a six-minute field goal drought and 17-point deficit with 2:52 in the first-half, the Hurricanes answered and headed into the intermission on an 11-2 spurt to close the lead to eight.

The Hurricanes buried seven three-pointers in the second half, including two consecutive triples by senior guard Renee Taylor and Reid to even the score at 45-45 with 13:39 remaining.

Although trailing 68-60 with 4:36 left, the Hurricanes once again responded, going on an 8-2 run.

But in the end, it was the Hokie’s toughness on the offensive glass that made a difference. Virginia Tech out rebounded Miami 45-38, but two crucial offensive rebounds by Nare Diwara and Kirby Copeland as well as free-throws down the stretch secured the victory.

The Hokies shot an impressive 21-of-26 from the charity stripe, including Diwara’s 8-of-8 shooting from the line, finishing with a team-high 20 points.

Virginia Tech also took advantage of mismatches inside the paint, providing touches for the 6-6 center Diwara in the low-post.

“I think the main thing they did was that they could throw over to [Diwara] in our pressure,” Meier said. “When [Virginia Tech] raised their heads and looked up, she finished the play and had a lot of easy buckets in that situation.”

The Hurricanes also need their starters to shoot the ball particularly better.

Miami freshman forward Charmaine Clark went just 3-of-15 from the field despite grabbing 11 rebounds, while Taylor only hit 5-of-17 shots, totaling 17 points.

Despite the loss, Meier said she was proud of her team’s play.

“It was an amazing effort and I’m really not disappointed in anything except our inexperience at the end,” Meier said. “A lot of them had not been in that situation in an ACC game like this with the big crowd. The ball bounces one way or the other and we would have been in great shape. That’s playing on the road.”

Alex Kushel may be contacted at a.kushel@umiami.edu.