Miami looks to get back on track in road contest against Florida State

Following a nine-point home loss to No. 21 Duke, Miami women’s basketball is on the road against in-state rival Florida State Thursday night.

The Hurricanes (9-6, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) never led for the entire second half Tuesday afternoon, until a transition basket gave them a one-point advantage. The Blue Devils regained control immediately, while Miami missed its final 10 shots.

“We can’t look for excuses right now. People have to step up and play a heck of a lot better than they’re playing,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “We’ve got a lot of difficult games ahead of us, and these kind of performances aren’t going to get us wins.”

Miami and Florida State (8-7, 2-3 ACC) have faced off at least twice each year since the Hurricanes joined the ACC 17 seasons ago in 2004.

Veterans Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi and Kelsey Marshall anchored nearly 70% of UM’s scoring, totaling 19 and 15 points each. Djaldi-Tabdi, a Syracuse transfer and native of Paris, France, has now tallied new season-highs twice in Miami’s last three games.

“After practice, Maeva has been putting up a lot of extra reps and is becoming a lot more confident in herself and in the system,” Marshall said. “I think that is why she has been playing so well recently.”

Miami is averaging 61.1 points per game and is coming off back-to-back contests in which it has posted below 50 points. The last time it scored over 60 was against No. 5 NC State in a 76-64 home defeat on Jan. 9.

“The only leadership I saw was from Kelsey [Marshall] and Maeva [Djaldi-Tabdi], and I thought they played their guts out,” Meier said. “Their teammates honestly let them down. If you take Kelsey and Maeva out of the equation, that’s about 70% of our scoring, and effort and everything was from those two kids. I’m proud of them.”

When the Hurricanes’ scoring has faded at times, Miami has turned to defense. Eight of 14 different UM opponents, including two top-15 teams, have been held to under 60 points. Freshman guards Ja’Leah Williams and Lashae Dwyer rank third and sixth in the conference in steals. Marshall added three on Tuesday.

Redshirt senior forward Destiny Harden has made a gradual adjustment back from a lower extremity injury, while graduate guard Mykea Gray has begun to play increased minutes. Neither, however, competed for longer than 11 minutes against Duke.

“We’re relying on some freshmen, and they’ve got to understand the grind of the ACC and the really talented players [in the league],” Meier said.

The Hurricanes and Seminoles tip off from Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Thursday at 8 p.m.

“[FSU is] a big game for us,” Marshall said. “We’ve just got to come back more mentally focused and ready to compete.”