After a heartbreaking loss on Tuesday night to No. 4 Louisville, the Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball team returns to the Watsco Center Thursday to take on Syracuse at 7 p.m.
The Hurricanes (11-8, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won two of their past three games in conference play, with their last win coming on the road against Wake Forest on Jan. 27. Thursday marks the first meeting between the Orange (9-10, 2-7 ACC) and the Canes this season.
Freshman Ja’Leah Williams led Miami on Tuesday with a career-high 16 points and added five assists to help boost the Hurricanes’ offense.
Syracuse is coming off a win against Pittsburgh, its second conference win of the season. The Orange were led by senior Christianna Carr, who put up 19 points and eight assists for the Orange in their home win.
In Tuesday’s contest, the Hurricanes held a fourth quarter lead, but Louisville stormed back late to take them down. UM had a game-tying 3-point attempt from Kelsey Marshall, but the graduate guard’s shot was off the mark and the Canes were unable to pull off the upset.
“I don’t think anything was missing, I just think we should’ve rebounded more and not let them get second chances,” Williams said. “Our defense is great. I feel like we have one of the best ball-pressuring teams in the ACC.”
There were a multitude of positives to take away from Tuesday’s game, the most important being the fact that the Hurricanes stuck right with one of the nation’s top squads until the final buzzer. Miami comes into Thursday’s game three spots ahead of Syracuse and is in eighth place in the ACC, with five ranked teams ahead.
“Our defense didn’t hold. I don’t know that we made a lot of mistakes, but remember, we held Georgia Tech to four in the fourth [quarter],” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “And so, [for Louisville] to get 23 in the fourth, at a certain point you’ve just got to give Louisville a ton of credit.”
The Hurricanes have been a solid defensive team this season, holding opponents to 58.4 points per game, and will have to limit the Orange in transition scoring. Syracuse remains a potent offense this year despite their poor record, averaging 74.2 points per contest, but lacks collective rebounding like Miami.
“Usually, we win games closing it out on the defensive end in getting that one big stop and that one big rebound, and we didn’t,” Meier said.