Hurricanes score season-high 78 points, sweep Miami Holiday Classic

Graduate Student Kelsey Marshall attempts a reverse layup as a part of her 19 points in Miami’s dominant win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, Dec. 6 at the Watsco Center.
Graduate student Kelsey Marshall attempts a reverse layup as a part of her 19 points in Miami’s dominant win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, Dec. 6 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Miami women’s basketball has continued its successes inside the Watsco Center this season.

Graduate guard Kelsey Marshall again led the Hurricanes in scoring Monday to preserve their undefeated mark at home.

Marshall totaled a game-high 19 points for the second straight contest to lead Miami (6-3) to a 78-65 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-4) at the Watsco Center. The veteran sharpshooter nailed four 3-point field goals, needing only three more to become UM’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals.

The Hurricanes outrebounded the Lady Lions 41-26 and forced 21 turnovers.

“I thought we had 25 to 30 minutes of some really great basketball coming off of an incredibly gritty, tough win the night before,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “We were playing our bench, getting energy from everybody and really challenging the team to put courage in each other’s hearts and stay focused. But, at end of the third, beginning of the fourth, we just didn’t. Our defense gave, our legs gave, our minds gave and Arkansas-Pine Bluff made a run, so hats off to them.”

Junior Lola Pendande powers towards the basket in Miami’s 78-65 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, Dec. 6 at the Watsco Center.
Junior Lola Pendande powers towards the basket in Miami’s 78-65 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, Dec. 6 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Freshman guard Ja’Leah Williams, meanwhile, added 14 points, dished out seven assists and logged six steals. The Pompano Beach native fell one field goal shy of setting a new career-best after scoring 15 Sunday.

Ja’Leah is an amazing young lady,” Meier said. “She’s showing signs of triple-double-type potential. If she’s hitting the pull-up and hitting the three like she did at this tournament, she is going to be really special.”

Down by 23 points, Arkansas-Pine Bluff carried an 11-0 scoring run from the third quarter into the fourth. Center Khadijah Brown scored a shot in the paint, slicing the Hurricanes’ lead to 12. Brown scored all six of her points in the final period.

8 ½ minutes still remained on the clock, but Miami didn’t squander its comfortable advantage. Marshall and Williams each answered with a transition basket, and Marshall then drained the final Hurricanes’ 3-pointer of the afternoon, the fifth of 22 attempts.

Four Hurricanes were tacked with two fouls, and senior guard Karla Erjavec totaled three. Four were charged to freshman guard Lashae Dwyer and junior forward Lola Pendande, who produced 11 points in 15 minutes.

Freshman Ja'Leah Williams takes a shot from inside the paint during Miami’s win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, Dec. 6 at the Watsco Center. Williams registered 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists during the game.
Freshman Ja'Leah Williams takes a shot from inside the paint during Miami’s win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, Dec. 6 at the Watsco Center. Williams registered 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists during the game. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Aside from misfiring on each field goal in the final 2:46, UM completed the Miami Holiday Classic with a sweep to move to 22-7 in the tournament in the Katie Meier Era.

“I think this non-conference schedule has been so challenging,” Meier said. “I believe Arkansas-Pine Bluff is an NCAA [Tournament] team; I think they’ll win their conference. Tulane is a postseason team, most likely an NCAA team, as well.”

Miami still stands outside of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, having not received votes Monday. The Hurricanes next welcome Robert Morris of the Horizon League on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.