Miami overcomes slow offensive start, flies past Stetson

Freshman guard Lashae Dwyer drives to the basket against Bethune Cookman on Nov. 14 at the Watsco Center.
Freshman guard Lashae Dwyer drives to the basket against Bethune Cookman on Nov. 14 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

As the first quarter opened, it seemed as if Miami was in for another close home contest.

Barring a 28% shooting mark in the first half and 20 total turnovers, the Hurricanes cruised past Stetson 54-39 Sunday.

Graduate transfer forward Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi and senior guard Karla Erjavec scored nine of the Hurricanes’ 13 points in the fourth period, while the Hatters were held to 3-of-13 shooting in the final 10 minutes at the Watsco Center.

Leading by only one point at halftime, the Hurricanes (3-0) sizzled on a 9-0 run to begin the second half. Erjavec drilled a 3-point field goal and graduate guard Kelsey Marshall, who averaged 15 points through Miami’s first two games, filled the scoring onslaught.

Stetson (1-1) was down, but not out. Trailing by eight, forward Mali Morgan-Elliott scored five of the next eight Hatter points, and forward Mali Wazeeruddin hit a midrange jumper to cap off an 8-2 run.

But the Hurricanes offered another 9-0 response. 4:39 remained and graduate guard Mykea Gray scored four points in hardly 30 seconds, freshman guard Ja’Leah Willaims broke away for a fastbreak layup and junior forward Moulayna Johnson Sidi Baba made two foul shots to extend Miami’s lead back to 11.

Wazeerud-din added two 3-point field goals in the fourth to finish with a game-high 18 points, yet a 5-0 burst iced the Miami victory at the 3:30 mark. Miami made six of 12 shots while out-rebounding Stetson 11-5 after its surges in the third.

Having entered the contest averaging 63.5 points per game, the Hurricanes tallied 19 points off Stetson’s 21 turnovers. Miami shot 4-of-20 from 3-point territory and 63% at the foul line, scoring 26 points in the paint.

Miami stays at the Watsco Center to host Florida Atlantic University on Thursday. Redshirt senior guard Destiny Harden is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.