Across all sports, a matchup with Florida State University (FSU) involves high intensity, emotions and drama that make for guaranteed storylines and entertainment.
In this matchup, Miami women’s basketball (7-5, 0-1 ACC) made the trek up to Tallahassee, Florida to try and hand the Florida State Seminoles (12-2, 1-0 ACC) their second straight loss.
After starting the year off hot, the Hurricanes had lost some steam, dropping three of their previous four contests entering the game, including a nail-biting loss to fellow rival Florida.
The ‘Noles were also recovering from defeat, but the narrative was one of optimism. Florida State had gone wire-to-wire with Connecticut, a perennial women’s basketball juggernaut, losing by single digits. They now looked to prove the narrow loss had not been a fluke.
With the motivation levels high in this classic rivalry game, both teams put on a show, but it was the Seminoles who proved to have the winning edge, rallying for a 92-85 victory over the ‘Canes.
From start to finish, FSU maintained a lead. Starting with a four-point run to open the game, the lead widened to 11 points by the end of the first quarter.
The lead increased to 14 in the second quarter, but the ‘Canes surged back into the contest. UM proceeded to go on a 17-5 scoring run fueled by strong rebounding on the offensive side of the ball to cut the lead to 35-33. At halftime, the score was 38-33 in favor of the ‘Noles.
Miami experienced a stagnant start to the third quarter as the deficit grew to 12 points, but the Hurricanes were able to claw their way back once again. Veteran forward Destiny Harden began heating up from deep, and sophomore Lashae Dwyer scored points from the free-throw line.
The ‘Canes kept the game close heading into the fourth, but then their scoring drought would truly hit. The Seminoles went on a devastating 15-5 scoring run to grow their lead to 16 points with four minutes remaining in the game.
With time now running out, Miami was able to shrink the lead to seven points through fouling and forcing the Seminoles to shoot free throws, but the Hurricanes were unable to mount the comeback.
Miami shot 42.5% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc. The ‘Canes also held a 40-31 rebounding advantage over FSU.
While Miami shot the ball well, the Seminoles were even more efficient from the field, shooting 51.7% from the field and 60% on 3-pointers.
Two Hurricanes eclipsed the 20-point mark, Harden with 20 and Dwyer coming off the bench with 23, for the first time since November 2019.
Senior Haley Cavinder notched 17 points while shooting 50% from deep and totaled a team-high eight rebounds.
Next up, Miami takes on 2018 National Champion Notre Dame at 6 p.m. on Dec. 29 at the Watsco Center.