It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but the Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball team was able to keep its unblemished record for the season despite being down four points going into the fourth quarter. The ‘Canes defeated the Southern University Jaguars, 61-57, in a comeback effort this past Friday at the Watsco Center. This was the second all-time meeting for the team with Southern, after winning the previous matchup back in 2010.
Unlike their first two outings of the season, the Hurricanes (3-0) had a frustrating start to the game, falling behind the Jaguars (0-4) by as many as five points and shooting only 29% from the field in the first quarter. They also notably started poorly from the free throw line and ended the game 9-for-20 from the charity stripe. By the end of the first, the ‘Canes were able to grab a small 16-15 lead.
Miami still couldn’t pull away from a tough Southern team through the second quarter, leading 31-25 at halftime.
Despite the Jaguars’ previously winless record, head coach Katie Meier made sure to preach to the Hurricanes not to overlook the opponent on the other end of the floor. Meier also wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to see how the team will respond to adversity before tougher tests down the road.
The start of this second half was much of the same story, with Southern guard Sirviva Legions hitting a falling-away layup while being fouled to knot up the game at 36. Just minutes later, Legions again hit a three-pointer to tie the game just as the shot clock expired. This was all part of a 14-3 second-half run that gave the Jaguars a 43-39 third-quarter lead, leading to a Meier timeout.
Facing their first second-half deficit of the season, junior guard Shayeann Day-Wilson stepped up for the ‘Canes early in the fourth quarter, knocking down a clutch three-pointer, which was quickly followed by another lay-up from guard Ja’Leah Williams to take back the lead.
With two minutes to go, Miami held a slim 58-54 lead that was quickly cut to one with another Southern and-one from junior guard Aleighyah Fontenot. The ‘Canes then responded with a Kyla Oldacre layup, pushing the lead to three. Led by a stellar defensive effort in the final minute, Miami was able to hold the line en route to its third win.
The comeback effort for the ‘Canes was spearheaded by two-way performances from junior guard Jasmyne Roberts and Oldacre, who finished with 17 and 10 points, respectively. The ability of the whole team to attack the offensive boards was key to leading to ball movement and ultimately more baskets from the team. The team had 18 offensive rebounds, with Oldacre leading the way with seven.
Roberts led the team in scoring and took a clutch charge from Southern forward Sky Castro with 30 seconds left to prevent the Jaguars from tying up the game. Roberts was also able to grab three steals that led to several much-needed buckets for Miami.
In her second career start, Oldacre quickly was able to get to the rim, battling through two defenders to make a contested layup for an and-1 opportunity early in the game. In terms of hustle stats, the 6-foot-6 sophomore was able to grab seven offensive rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Oldacre was coming off an encouraging performance against Fordham, where she had seven points and eight rebounds while going all-out on both ends of the floor.
Day-Wilson, a transfer from Duke, also had her best game in a Hurricanes uniform so far, tallying two three-pointers and three important steals.
Southern was led in scoring by Soniyah Reed with 12 points. It also had strong contributions from Fontenot and Legions, who each scored 11. The Jaguars had their highest scoring game of the year to date after previously dropping their first three games, all against major conference opponents in Baylor, Texas and Purdue.
Miami will get a week to prepare for its next outing, where it will host the Colgate Raiders as part of the annual Miami Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m.