The Hurricane women’s basketball team fell 72-64 to the Jacksonville Dolphins Tuesday night at the BankUnited Center.
“It was a careless loss for us,” Coach Katie Meier said. “I’m very disappointed. I don’t think we responded well to adversity.”
Miami never found a rhythm. Jacksonville outplayed the Canes from the opening tip-off.
Miami finished the game with 22 turnovers and 36-percent shooting from the field.
“You could see them getting stronger,” Meier said. “We looked very inexperienced.”
Miami was able to get out on multiple fast breaks early, which seemed to cause some problems for the Jacksonville defense.
However, that was all the good that came out of the Canes’ offense in the first half.
The Hurricanes trailed going into halftime 30-26 after 13 first-half turnovers and 32-percent shooting (11 percent from behind the arc).
“I was concerned about our attitude,” Meier said. “We looked young. We looked very, very young.”
Miami senior center Carla Williams, along with the rest of the defense, held the ball inside and limited the Dolphins to only 14 points in the paint and eight second-chance points. The Canes were able to force Jacksonville to shoot three pointers or outside jump shots.
However, Jacksonville’s guards were able to respond to the challenge, shooting 38 percent from the three-point range at the half.
“They attacked us,” Reid said. “Their guards are good and they wanted the game.”
The Canes could not find any momentum in the second half.
“We stopped rebounding and missed defensive assignments,” Meier said. “We were very scared to lose.”
Miami went on a nine-minute scoring drought late in the second half, which ultimately sealed Jacksonville’s victory.
The Dolphins finished with 16 steals compared to Miami’s five.
“Jacksonville took care of the ball in the second half,” Meier said. “Most of our turnovers were hesitation turnovers.”
Jacksonville junior guard Virginia Gregoire led all scorers with 26 points. Time and again, Gregoire, an all-preseason guard, was able to penetrate Miami’s perimeter defense for easy scores.
With five minutes left in the game, Gregoire hit a three to put the Dolphins up 55-47. The arena went silent and Jacksonville did not look back.
The Canes showed great courage in making a run late. Senior Maurita Reid was fouled on a tough lay-up off of a steal with a minute-and-a-half left. After converting her foul shot, the Canes had slimmed Jacksonville’s lead to only five points in a game that seemed out of reach.
“We have to learn, as a team, to pick each other up and to pick ourselves up,” Reid said.
The Canes will host Michigan next Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at the BankUnited Center as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Rory Lincoln may be contacted at email@example.com.