In their first home game since January 3, the Miami Hurricanes could not keep up with the hot-handed Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and fell 70-56 Thursday night at the Watsco Center.
Trailing by as many as 18 points, the Hurricanes (7-7, 4-7 ACC) struggled to contain Georgia Tech (9-3, 7-2 ACC) in the paint and were outrebounded 41 to 29.
“We did not play focused or with a lot of maturity and that’s a shame because that’s a very good Georgia Tech team and you need to be dialed in and locked in and you need to be very exact,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said after the game. “We blew a lot of play calls, we blew a lot of execution. It’s a shame. It’s a wasted opportunity for us.”
Kelsey Marshall led Miami in scoring with 16 points. Marshall, a senior guard, was honored before the game for reaching the 1,000 point milestone in Miami’s loss to Louisville on Tuesday.
“I just feel like we need to play better team defense,” Marshall said. “When you go into a game focused defensively and we are locked in, that is really what allows us to flow better into our offense, so I just think we need to work on our defense and being able to execute and follow scout and game plans.”
Senior guard Taylor Mason and junior forward Naomi Mbandu each contributed 11 points, but outside of those three players, no Hurricane was able to provide a much-needed scoring boost. Junior guard Karla Erjavec contributed five points, sophomore center Sydnee Roby and senior guard Endia Banks scored four each and sophomore guard Moulayna Johnson Sidi Baba contributed six rebounds.
Senior forward Lorela Cubaj paced the Yellow Jackets with 14 points, followed closely behind by junior guard Lotta-Maj Lahtinen with 13 points and senior guard Kierra Fletcher with 12 points.
Georgia Tech held a 15-point lead at halftime after shooting 51.6 percent from field goal range in the first half. Miami managed to cut the lead to nine early in the fourth quarter but ultimately could not hang on.
The Hurricanes shot just 38 percent from field goal range, 23 percent from the 3-point line and 56 percent from the free-throw line.
Meier chided her team’s mentality going into the game in regards to playing just two days after a big game at Louisville.
“I told the team I don’t care that we played on Tuesday night because when you are a big time program in the NCAA, you play Friday-Sunday or you play Saturday-Monday to go to the Elite 8, to go to the Sweet 16, to go to the Final Four, so if that was our mentality, looking for that as an excuse, then that’s just really disappointing and there is no way that we are going to go there,” Meier said. “We can’t keep getting into these deep holes.”
The Hurricanes have a chance to bounce back on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Boston College at the Watsco Center.