The women’s basketball team’s final home game is not going to be easy. The No. 17 Hurricanes are set to face the No. 10 Louisville Cardinals at the BankUnited Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
The Canes (22-5, 10-4) have a chance to get a signature win in a season where they have lost to ranked opponents Baylor, Florida State and Notre Dame. Beating a team like Louisville (22-6, 13-1) would give Miami momentum heading into the final regular-season game against Florida State and the ACC Tournament.
The Cardinals are currently 13-1 in the tough ACC due largely to their one-two punch at the forward position. Sophomores Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore have been dominating offensively all season.
Hines-Allen is averaging 16.8 points per game to go along with just around eight rebounds and is shooting a highly efficient 53.7 percent from the field. The skilled 6-foot-2 player out of Montclair, New Jersey gets the majority of her buckets inside with an array of post moves and smart cuts. If the Canes want to slow her down, they need to force her to take outside shots and keep her out of the paint.
Moore is having a stellar season of her own, averaging 15 points, 4.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds a contest. The versatile six-foot player out of Hercules, California can do just about everything on the court. She can drive to the rim, pass and rebound well. Moore’s weakness, however, is efficiency – she is shooting only 39.7 percent from the field. The Canes must force her to take more shots than Hines-Allen.
Starting redshirt junior guard Briahanna Jackson has done a solid job leading the Cardinals this season. The 5-foot-6 transfer out of UCF has averaged 10.9 points and nearly three assists a game so far. Like Moore, Jackson is not the most efficient scorer, shooting only 35.3 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three-point range.
Freshman guard Asia Durr has been one of the biggest keys to Louisville’s success this year. She has not disappointed since coming to the university as the highest-rated recruit in school history and the No. 2 overall player in the class of 2015, according to ESPN. The 5-foot-10 phenomenon out of Douglasville, Georgia is averaging 10.9 points per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three. She is one of the few players on this team who Miami cannot allow to shoot from distance.
Besides a couple of players, this Louisville team is not great at shooting the three-pointer. They also generally struggle from the free-throw line. The Canes need to force the outside shot or foul rather than let the Cardinals get easy looks at the rim.
Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods, playing in her final home game for the Canes, will have to lock down the perimeter on defense. One of Louisville’s greatest strengths is rebounding, so Miami Head Coach Katie Meier will definitely depend on 6-foot-3 freshman forward Emese Hof and 6-foot-2 sophomore forward Erykah Davenport to match up on the boards in order to get the win.