The Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball team began the new year in the best way possible — with their first Atlantic Coast Conference win of the season.
Guard Haley Cavinder scored a team-high 21 points and drained five of Miami’s eight 3-pointers to help the Hurricanes down the Pittsburgh Panthers, 74-67, at the Petersen Events Center on Sunday afternoon.
“Haley, the entire game, was just a monster. She was the most competitive person on the court,” head coach Katie Meier said. “She was demanding from her teammates and I think she’s ready to get some more ACC wins for Miami.”
Cavinder was one rebound shy of a double-double, registering nine rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Jasmyne Roberts almost notched a double-double on her birthday as well with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Cavinder and Roberts’ dominance on the glass gave Miami (8-6, 1-2 ACC) 17 second-chance points and 44 rebounds to Pitt’s (7-7, 0-3 ACC) 33.
Senior Lola Pendande was the third Hurricane in double figures on Sunday with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Miami started the game strong thanks to Haley Cavinder, who made her first three shots of the game — all triples — to give the ‘Canes an early 13-4 lead. After the first quarter, the Hurricanes led 21-14 on 56.3% shooting.
However, the Panthers stormed back in the second quarter, using a 7-0 run to tie the game at 21. Miami responded with a nine-point run of its own, which ended with Cavinder’s fourth 3-pointer of the game.
The Hurricanes led 36-32 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Pendande kept Miami in the game with six points as the ‘Canes narrowly outscored Pitt 17-16 in the frame.
Roberts came to life in the game’s final 10 minutes by scoring 10 of her 15 points, including a fastbreak jumper that upped Miami’s lead to double digits with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“[Roberts], on her birthday, gave us a present. I thought she was steady, confident and reliable in big moments,” Meier said. “She played like a veteran. She took big shots for us and made big plays on the defensive end.”
From there, the Hurricanes held on, shooting 66.7% in the final quarter. Haley Cavinder made the Hurricanes’ last field goal — a pull-up jumper — to cap her stellar night.
Miami returns home to the Watsco Center for a matchup against No. 6 North Carolina at 6 p.m. on Jan. 5.