On a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, the Watsco Center crowd was cheering loud and proud even prior to tip-off as the Miami women’s basketball team revealed the team’s 2022–23 Elite Eight banner.
Coach Katie Meier addressed the crowd before the game, calling the banner “her absolute favorite.”
“Looking back on the whole journey, seeing all these banners hung up that we’ve been able to get, it’s pretty cool,” Meier said on raising the banner. “That one’s definitely the most special, so far. [We] hope to get one as big as the men’s in the future.”
The 2022-23 season marked the Hurricanes’ best season finish in program history, highlighted by NCAA tournament victories over No. 1 seed Indiana and No. 4 seed Villanova en route to a season-ending loss against the eventual National Champions, LSU.
The ‘Canes (2-0) kept up the high spirits in the building with a commanding 78-39 win over the Fordham Rams (2-1). This was the third all-time meeting for the Miami women’s basketball team with Fordham, winning both previous matchups convincingly in 1985 and 2007.
The team came out firing with a 10-2 run to start the game and an 11-0 run to end the first quarter with a 15-point lead.
Miami’s lead only grew from there, ballooning to 44-16 at the halfway point. The Hurricanes continued their dominant play throughout the second half, led in scoring by sophomore Arizona transfer Lemyah Hylton with 17 points, including 15 of those coming from beyond the arc.
Hylton went down with an injury late in the second quarter but was able to walk off and come back in the second half. Upon returning, she quickly swished a three-pointer in the third quarter, hyping up the crowd. Hylton also led the team in scoring in its first win of the season on Thursday against Jacksonville with 14 points.
“LeMyah’s very athletic, and we were really happy that she was able to bounce back from her injury,” sophomore center Kyla Oldacre said of Hylton.
Junior Lashae Dwyer also made an impact early, tallying three steals in the first half, each leading to baskets for the Hurricanes. Dwyer’s play highlighted a stellar defensive performance from the team overall, forcing Fordham into 31 turnovers and holding them to shooting 27.9% from the field.
“We are spilling a ton of energy on defense. The intensity on defense sometimes leads us to be a little sloppy, but you have to carry through the entire game. Teams that succeed with this type of style don’t let up,” Meier said.
The ‘Canes have now forced over 25 turnovers in consecutive games after averaging 16.26 turnovers forced per game last season.
Fellow transfer Jaida Patrick and junior Ja’Leah Williams had 12 and nine points, respectively, with each coming up with four steals, showing off the great two-way potential of this Hurricanes team.
Fordham was led by senior guard Taylor Donaldson, who scored 13 points. The Rams entered the game coming off a tight 66-63 win over Albany on Friday night.
“To play fast, we have to be clean throughout the whole game,” Meier said. “We think this team has a lot of potential.”
Miami will have a five-day wait before hosting its third game of the season against Southern University. The game will be at 5 p.m. at the Watsco Center.