No. 19 Florida State has beaten some of the best teams in women’s college basketball this season, like Duke, NC State and UNC. However, none of them had guard Haley Cavinder.
The Fresno State transfer scored a season-high 33 points and made 7 of 10 3-point attempts, including the go-ahead triple late in the fourth quarter, to give Miami an 86-82 win over its in-state rivals on Thursday night at the Watsco Center. The Hurricanes faced an 11-point deficit at halftime but rallied to keep their six-game home winning streak intact.
“Does that [game] not tell you how good the ACC is? Florida State, in the first half, I thought, ‘they’re going to the Final Four,’” head coach Katie Meier said. “They’re really good, but it turns out that Miami is really good, too. For us to have to outscore them in the second half and drop 53 was just necessary. I’m really happy, this was a huge win for us.”
Guard Jasmyne Roberts complemented Cavinder with 19 points for the ‘Canes, while forward Makayla Timpson led Florida State with 19 of her own. Forward Lola Pendande snagged a team-high nine boards for Miami, which outrebounded the Seminoles 47-28. Four Hurricanes finished in double-figures.
“We were very selfless tonight and very much a team,” Meier said. “The team is bigger than the self right now.”
With the Hurricanes trailing by five in the final frame, Seminole guard Sara Bejedi recorded a personal foul after diving for a loose ball. Florida State head coach Brooke Wyckoff erupted at the call and drew a technical. Miami capitalized on the opportunity, as Haley made both free throws off the foul, and Roberts hit a 3-pointer to tie the game seconds later.
Haley then gave the Hurricanes their first lead since the first quarter with a 3-point bank shot and sealed the win by going 8 of 8 from the free throw line in the game’s final 29 seconds.
“It was a late shot clock so I knew she was going to bite,” Cavinder said of her go-ahead 3. “The bank was my friend, so I was surprised by it.”
Miami greatly surpassed its season average of 72.7 points and needed every basket to upend the Atlantic Coast Conference’s number one scoring offense.
However, both teams started off slow offensively, combining for just two field goals on their first 14 shots.
It took Florida State over four minutes to get on the scoreboard, and the Hurricanes held an early 12-4 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Roberts and Haley Cavinder. But once the Seminoles broke the ice, they were nearly unstoppable.
Florida State drilled five 3-pointers to take a 21-18 lead by the end of the first quarter. It finished with 10 3-pointers total. In the second, the Seminoles utilized a 9-0 run — seven of those points came from Bejedi — to build a 44-33 lead at halftime. Bejedi led all scorers with 10 points at the break, as Florida State outscored the ‘Canes 23-15 in the second frame.
Miami quickly narrowed its 11-point deficit in the third quarter with a 9-0 run right after halftime. Guard Ja’Leah Williams began the scoring spurt with two jumpers, as the ‘Canes put together a spectacular second half highlighted by Cavinder’s 24 points.
Last time both in-state rivals met, Florida State downed the ‘Canes 92-85 in Tallahassee. But on Thursday, Miami (16-8, 9-4 ACC) got its revenge and is now tied for third in the ACC with the Seminoles (20-6, 9-4 ACC).
Next up, the ‘Canes face No. 9 Duke on Sunday in Durham, North Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.