Hurricanes lose championship of Miami Thanksgiving Tournament against Columbia

Sophomore guard Ja'Leah Williams shoots a free throw during Miami's game against Columbia University on Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Miami women’s basketball (6-2) lost the final stage of the Miami Thanksgiving tournament at the Watsco Center to the Columbia University Lions (5-2), 78-71. It’s the first time this season that the ‘Canes have lost at the Watsco Center, going 5-0 before the loss.

“Tons of credit to Columbia, they are a veteran team that executed sharply in big moments,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “I think they had better game legs than we did and when we got a little bit foggy, they really burnt us for it.”

The Hurricanes had a 57-54 lead in the game after the end of the third quarter. The fourth was one of struggle and defeat, allowing Columbia to come back and breeze past Miami in the final minutes. Columbia outscored Miami 24-14 in the quarter.

A main reason the ‘Canes were defeated was because of their struggles from 3-point range. Miami shot just 5-for-16 from behind the arc, an underwhelming performance compared to just last game when they shot 50% from deep.

Sophomore guard Ja’Leah Williams had a monstrous game for the Hurricanes with a final stat line of 28 points on 10-for-14 shooting and four assists.

Guard Lashae Dwyer was another standout for the ‘Canes, providing a spark off the bench with her fast-paced tempo offensively and aggressiveness defensively. The sophomore guard had nine points, six rebounds and two assists.

Columbia played at just a bit higher level than UM. The Lions’ starters all played tremendous minutes compared to Miami’s, and all were productive. Each of them scored at least eight points, with guard Jaida Patrick leading the way with 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting.

Every time Miami had a lead, Columbia and its experienced players immediately responded with a run that put them at or ahead of UM. A big catalyst for these runs was Kaitlyn Davis, who locked down Miami’s forwards and anyone else who entered the paint.

Miami forward Lola Pendande, who often was the Hurricanes’ tallest player on the floor, shot just 2-for-9 from the field and was guarded by Davis for most of the game.

The Hurricanes will look to return to their winning ways on Thursday at the Watsco Center when they participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference/Big Ten Conference Challenge against Michigan. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.