Behind dominant second half, Miami overcomes rival Florida State

The Hurricanes women’s basketball team came into Sunday afternoon’s game against the Florida State Seminoles looking to end a two-game losing streak, but after the first 24 minutes of play, it looked as if Miami would be on its way to its third straight loss.

But despite being on a two-game losing streak and only scoring 22 points in the first half on 28 percent shooting from the field, which included being 0-10 from three-point range, the Canes completely dominated the second half to come back and defeat the Seminoles 68-53.

“Just a great team effort,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said after the game. “They earned it, they worked hard and stayed faithful. It was not a smooth 10 days, it was a lot of hard work and a lot of raw. We got down to the grit and some of it was really emotional so I’m really proud we came out of it against a big rival. Only scored seven points in the first quarter but didn’t panic and just stay faithful and believing in each other. Great defense. Unbelievable defensive effort today.”

Things seem to turn around for Miami at the start of the third quarter when the team decided to switch to a full-court press. That full-court press seemed to bother FSU, as the team turned the ball over 6 times in the third quarter. Miami capitalized by scoring eight points off turnovers in quarter.

Those eight points helped Miami outscore the Seminoles by 14 points in the third quarter alone.

Miami went from down two at the start of the quarter to up 12 heading to the fourth. The Canes scored 26 points on 11-13 shooting (85 percent), while Florida State scored just 12 points on 5-17 shooting (28 percent).

“We worked really, really hard,” junior forward Naomi Mbandu said. “We were all together, the communication was like almost perfect, not perfect but almost perfect, and the rotations.”

The Hurricanes only hit one three-pointer in the game but was dominant in the paint all game. 48 out of their 63 points in the game were scored in the paint. The Canes scored 18 and 16 paint points in the third and fourth quarters respectively.

Mbandu led Miami with 16 points on 7-11 shooting and also added seven rebounds and four assists. Seniors guards Taylor Mason (15 points), Endia Banks (12 points), and Kelsey Marshall (12 points) also scored in double-figures for Miami.

The win also gave Meier her 300th victory as the head coach at Miami.

“300 at Miami is great, I’ll do anything for this university and I’m happy to have that but it’s all the team, all the staff, it’s all everybody,” Meier said. “So, I don’t get into that too much, but we needed a thing to celebrate besides beating Florida State.”

The Hurricanes will return to play on Feb. 11 when the team takes on Virginia Tech at 6:00 p.m at the Watsco Center.