Stifling defense leads Miami to 56-46 win over Florida Atlantic

Seven fourth-quarter points were all the Hurricanes needed to cruise to a double-digit victory at the Watsco Center on Thursday.

Senior guard Mykea Gray hit a transition 3-pointer with just 3:29 left in the game to break the fourth quarter seal for the Hurricanes (4-0), and added two free throws in the final minute to put a seal on the contest.

The Florida Atlantic Owls (2-1) committed a game-defining 28 turnovers on the night, which turned into 26 points off turnovers for Miami.

Freshman guard Lashae Dwyer was the star of the defensive effort. She collected eight steals, which is the most by an ACC player this season to date.

Dwyer said of her eight steal game that “It was a great time and a great experience. As a freshman going in, I had a clear mindset and I was focused on the game. I was ready to play defense, but I did not expect that.”

“I think she’s the story of the game. Eight steals is very hard to do,” head coach Katie Meier said.

To open the game, the Owls jumped out to a 16-9 lead behind seven early points from forward Amber Gaston, but the Hurricanes took control of the game from that point on.

Miami cranked up the defensive pressure and forced a slew of turnovers during a 15-0 run that bridged the opening two quarters, getting easy baskets in transition and frustrating FAU offensively.

The Hurricanes took an eight-point lead into halftime and extended it to 15 throughout a balanced third quarter which was opened by a Kelsey Marshall jumper. The graduate student led all scorers with 14 points on what was a quiet shooting night for the Hurricanes; they shot just 31% from the field and 16% from beyond the arc.

“We have got to just open our eyes a little bit wider and consider a three-man game or a two-man game instead of just considering the one obvious option in the offense,” Meier said on her team’s offensive struggles.

Miami will need stellar offensive play in its coming games, as they will travel to the Bahamas for the Baha Mar Hoops Event to face Washington State and No. 4 Indiana over the Thanksgiving holiday.