Playing in front of 1,500 kids at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Miami women’s basketball began its game against Stetson by losing a point after an administrative technical foul was assessed to the ‘Canes.
However, that lead would be shortly enjoyed as Miami would go on to win 80-56 at the Watsco Center on the eighth annual Elementary School Day.
“I thought we set the tone defensively early and we held them to 10 points in the first quarter,” Miami interim head coach Fitzroy Anthony said. “Coming off our last game where Eastern Maryland Shore scored 17, that was something that we wanted to focus on.”
Miami (2-0) must have had its coffee in the morning as it bolted out to a 19-10 lead in the first quarter.
The Hurricanes used baskets from senior Lola Pendande, guard Ja’Leah Williams and Texas transfer Latasha Lattimore to go on a 10-0 run and expand the lead in the first quarter.
Former All-Mountain West member Haley Cavinder and Williams scored five and six points, respectively, to lead the first quarter scoring.
“I was just taking what the defense gave me,” Haley Cavinder said. “My teammates were giving me the ball, giving me my shots.”
Missing head coach Katie Meier to suspension, Miami held the advantage throughout the second quarter and went to the locker room up 34-21.
After halftime, Miami exploded in the third quarter.
Using just 1:38 of the game clock, the Hurricanes went on a 10-0 run. Haley Cavinder finished a three-point play at the free throw line to spark it. Soon after, Pendande scored on a fast break before graduate student Karla Erjavec got a basket of her own. Williams finished the run with a three pointer to give the ‘Canes a 47-26 lead.
Miami held the lead in the fourth quarter as Destiny Harden poured in five points, three of which came at the free throw line. The West Virginia transfer finished with a team-high eight points at the charity stripe.
“That is just Destiny being Destiny, being a player. If you’re open, shoot, if you could take someone off the bounce, take them off the bounce,” Anthony said.
Haley Cavinder also added six points in the fourth quarter, giving her a team-high 18 points on an efficient 66.7% from the floor.
The Hurricanes shot a solid 46% from the field while the Hatters shot 34.5%.
“We wanted to get stops and get out and run” Haley Cavinder said. “Miami’s all about defense so that’s definitely our focus always going into each game.”
At the free throw line, Miami went 22-for-31 compared to Stetson’s 10-for-12, a big reason for the wide margin. Miami narrowly won the turnover battle but still outscored Stetson 26-10 on points off turnovers.
Miami will be back in action at the Watsco Center on Sunday when the ‘Canes continue their non-conference schedule, taking on Boston University at 1 p.m.