Miami women’s basketball rebounded from a tough loss last Sunday to Duke with a great effort in Coral Gables, Florida. A double-double from forward Destiny Harden helped UM escape a late comeback attempt by the Clemson Tigers to secure a 59-54 victory Thursday night at the Watsco Center.
Trailing at the start of the second quarter, Miami leaned on Harden to lead them through. Harden shot the ball incredibly well and finished the game with 17 points and was the team’s leading rebounder with 11. She drew seven fouls, as well.
Miami went on a 14-0 scoring run at the start of the second frame. Clemson’s first bucket in the second quarter didn’t come until there were just over five minutes remaining in the period.
“I think that second quarter you saw a really great Miami team. We locked, played defense, 23 points in the second quarter, was big for us,” Hurricanes head coach Katie Meier said.
Once Miami took the lead with its big second quarter, it never looked back .
At the break, Miami led the Clemson Tigers, 38-29. Miami shot well from the field at 63%. Clemson did outrebound Miami, 14-12, in the first half.
Guard Haley Cavinder caught fire for the ‘Canes in the second half she finished with 17 points, 10 of which were in the closing period.
Senior guard Daisha Bradford was incredible for Clemson, as she finished with 18 points, more than doubling her season average. She was crucial for the Tigers in hanging around and posing a threat to Miami’s lead.
Clemson coach Katie Smith talked about the strong performance of some of the bench players in the front court. She admitted not all her starters played their best game and that she needed some help from her bigs coming off the bench.
“Kyla Oldacre, she was plus 15, she only played 16 minutes,” Smith said. “Every time Kyla was in we were winning.”
Miami held a nine-point lead of 51-42 going into the final frame while Clemson launched a full-court press at the start of the fourth quarter.
Clemson (14-14, 5-11 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)) went on a torrid 12-3 run over the last 7:04 of the game.
“In the fourth quarter was one of those deals, When Clemson had zero fouls and it’s really hard to get open, timeouts are worth a thousand dollars right then and we knew they had to go for steals and they had zero team fouls,” Meier said. “So, late-game situations that’s really scary and it was a matter of getting the ball in bounds.”
Miami (17-9, 10-5 ACC) went on a scoring drought to end the game, as it was held without a field goal for the last 5:18 of the game.
A couple of clutch rebounds and free throws from Harden helped Miami burn the clock down and break Clemson’s press to seal the game.
“Being a vet on the team and just knowing how big the games are,” Harden said. “I think this game was a bounce-back game for our team and myself individually … so just gotta keep that momentum going into March.”
Miami retakes the floor on Sunday looking to win its second consecutive game in a road contest against the Syracuse Orange at 1 p.m.