The Miami Hurricanes Women’s basketball team surged past Virginia with help from their bench. The Canes were looking to rebound after a tough loss on the road to No. 16 Duke. Tuesday night, the Virginia Cavaliers (13-6, 3-3 ACC) were in town hoping to deal the Miami Hurricanes (15-4, 5-1 ACC) their second ACC loss of the season.
To say things started off poorly for the Canes would be an understatement. Virginia came out hot and opened the game with a 10-0 run. The Canes, on the other hand, didn’t get their first bucket until Jessica Thomas hit a jumper with 14:40 left in the first half. Foul trouble was also a problem for the Canes. By halftime, four of the five Miami starters were in foul trouble. Luckily, the bench was able to keep the game in reach for the Canes.
Coming into the game, the Canes were looking to slow down Sarah Imovbioh, Virginia’s Center, who is averaging a double-double (14.4 points and 11.4 rebounds) and leading the ACC in rebounds-per-game. With Jassany Williams in foul trouble, Erykah Davenport answered the call in the post.
“I was really coming after [Davenport] this week in practice,” Coach Meier said after the game. “I was really challenging her saying ‘I don’t understand, you’re just as good as this kid…just as physical…just as athletic.’” Davenport proved Coach Meier right and grabbed nine boards on the night.
On the other end of the court, the Hurricanes found a way to overcome a poor shooting night. In the first half, the Canes missed 11 of their 12 attempts from beyond the arc. Again the catalyst in turning the game around came from the bench. Michelle “Shelly” Woods led all bench scorers with 12 points.
“Shelly came in, got the momentum going,” Thomas said after the game. “After that, we were just feeding off of each other.” Nobody harnessed the momentum from the Miami bench as well as Thomas did. She started the second half with a layup to even the score at 27, and then went on to score 12 more second-half points. Thomas finished with a game-high 18 points.
Sebastian the Ibis also provided some much needed energy to the crowd at the BankUnited Center. During halftime, Sebastian broke the record for Guinness World Record for most hugs given by a mascot in one minute. Sebastian gave 100 hugs to fans in attendance at the game, shattering the previous record of 75 hugs, which was set in 2013.
With the crowd noticeably energized and with their starters fresh thanks to great bench play, the Miami Hurricanes outscored Virginia 42-31 in the second half. The final score of the game was 67-58, in favor of the Canes.
This win ends a stretch of three games in six days for the Hurricanes. Now they have a six-day break. However, the relaxation will be minimal, as the Canes prepare to take on No. 4 Louisville on Sunday. The Cardinals are currently first in ACC rankings, and Coach Meier and the Canes will have to be at their best to take that number one spot.
Featured image courtesy Hurricane Sports