In its final tune-up before the regular season, Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball blew out the Nova Southeastern Sharks 102-47 in an exhibition matchup Halloween night at the Watsco Center.
Five Canes, including two freshmen making their UM debuts, finished in double figures in scoring. Senior forward Erykah Davenport scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds to lead the pack.
“That was a lot of fun,” Miami coach Katie Meier said after the game. “I really did not know what to expect. To have 12 [players]in the mix right now and trying to figure it out with veteran players who aren’t playing right now is not easy. I thought Keke [Harris] and Erykah did a great job at holding down the fort and making sure that energy was up and letting those kids play freely.”
The Hurricanes traded buckets with the Sharks in the early going, leading to an 11-11 tied score with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.
But then the Canes started to roll. Miami closed the first period on a 14-2 run. It shot 12-20 from the floor to that point.
Then, the Canes caught fire. They adjusted their defensive scheme to a full-court press that paid dividends. Miami outscored Nova Southeastern 26-4 in the second quarter and held the Sharks to 1-13 shooting.
The Hurricanes closed out the first half on a 40-6 run and headed into the locker room shooting 62 percent from the field.
“The second unit tonight – the reinforcers – they amped our energy up,” Meier said about the Canes’ production off the bench. “They pressured the ball a lot harder than the starting lineup did, and that was the story of the game.”
Miami came out of the break controlling the pace of play, putting together a clinic on both ends of the floor. The Hurricanes bolstered their lead, taking a 45-point advantage going into the final quarter.
The Hurricanes finished out the contest strong, outscoring the Sharks 26-16 in the closing period. They reached the century mark in points for the first time since Jan. 26, when they scored 100 against North Carolina.
The Canes dominated play in the paint and attacked the glass, out-rebounding the Sharks 41-28, which led to a 26-3 advantage on second-chance opportunities.
“Going into the game, that was our game plan,” Davenport said about Miami’s ability to attack in the paint. “A few bunnies missed, but we definitely wanted to work the ball inside and out and get some dribble-drive action.”
Miami’s freshman class totaled 47 points, including 15 apiece for both Mykea Gray and Kelsey Marshall.
“We had no idea what the freshmen were going to do with the uniform on,” said Meier, who is in her 13th year as the UM coach. “I think I’ll sleep a little bit better tonight. I think the best thing they did was share the ball.”
With the Hurricanes’ regular season opener right around the corner, Miami still has to make final tweaks before facing off against crosstown foe FIU at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Watsco Center.
“You can’t relax and say we’re great right now,” Meier said. “We still didn’t do a ton of scoring in the half court. With the pace of play our young guards are playing with, we might not run a lot of half-court stuff. So, we’ll see when we practice and get a better understanding of our timing.”