Behind stellar performances by two of their seniors, the Miami Hurricanes thwarted Syracuse’s comeback attempts and picked up a 72-67 victory Thursday night in Coral Gables.
The Hurricanes picked up the 750th win in their history.
Senior forward/center Erykah Davenport finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds – five came on offense – to lead the Canes (13-6, 3-3 ACC). The captain from Decatur, Georgia, recorded her eighth career double-double. Six of them have come this season.
“Being a senior, I just really feel like I have to lead this year,” said Davenport, who has had a breakout season. “My role in the past was a little bit different having a Jessica Thomas, an Adrienne Motley and a Keyona Hayes. I could hide behind the black curtain and play when I felt like playing, but now it’s, ‘Show up every night and perform.'”
Off the bench for the Hurricanes, senior forward Keyanna “Keke” Harris scored a season-high 16 points and shot a perfect 5-5 from the field in the first half. Miami’s bench outscored Syracuse’s 26-8.
“Keke has been very verbal in her commitment and how great she wants to be in finishing her senior year,” coach Katie Meier said. “I just needed her on the court the entire game. That first half was the Keke Harris show.”
Harris has changed her leadership approach this season.
“I’m known for talking, so I felt like instead of talking more, to commit to doing and once I do it, then I’ll be able to talk,” she said.
Syracuse put up a competitive effort. Guard Tiana Mangakahia and forward Miranda Drummond each finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Mangakahia also dished out a game-high 14 assists – she leads the NCAA in assists per game – despite also totaling 10 turnovers.
A 17-3 run gave the Hurricanes an 11-point lead going into halftime.
Two Syracuse (14-5, 2-4 ACC) runs in the third quarter, including an 8-0 spurt, cut Miami’s lead to 55-51 going into the final period.
“We were playing without determination, we had no purpose, we were just looking at the clock and saying, ‘When is it gonna be the fourth quarter?'” Meier said. “I called them out on it, and I just said the game could be in balance right now and you’re not realizing it.”
Miami regained its focus and held onto the lead for the remainder of the contest. Two free-throws by freshman Mykea Gray gave UM a 69-63 lead with 31 seconds left.
“Syracuse is great, and it turns out Miami is too, so that’s a pretty good win for us,” Meier said.
UM next travels to take on Boston College (6-12, 1-4 ACC). Tip-off is set for a 1 p.m. start Jan. 21.