Miami WBB escapes with a win over Jackson State despite offensive struggles

As the Hurricanes line up for an inbound play, Head Coach Katie Meier watches the court intently during the win against NJIT. Photo credit: Charisma Jones

Coming into this matchup against Jackson State after its first loss of the season against No. 10 Baylor, Miami was looking to regain its momentum after an 8-0 start to the season. With a shaky performance, Miami was able to come out on top, defeating the Tigers by a score of 59-52.

The first quarter was rough for Miami offensively, who shot 5-of-17 on the quarter, an appalling 29.4% from the field. UM still managed to end the quarter on top, 17-14, thanks to seven turnovers by Jackson State.

Leading the charge for the Hurricanes early was guard Jaida Patrick, who carried the offense, scoring 11 of the team’s 17 points in the first quarter.

“My goal was just to keep playing composed … my teammates did a really good job of finding me,” Patrick said about her offensive success in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, the slow start carried over for the ‘Canes, with more poor shooting from the field and a team-wide inability to convert on golden opportunities. In this quarter, UM got off double the shot attempts that Jackson State did, shooting 14 to the Tigers’ seven and still wound up losing the quarter 14-11 with the game deadlocked at 28 heading into halftime.

Miami was putting itself in a great position to be ahead in the first half, especially in the second quarter, where the Hurricanes outrebounded the Tigers 13-6 and forced eight more Jackson State turnovers, bringing that total to 15 in the first half alone.

Unfortunately for UM, 28% shooting from the field erased all advantages the ‘Canes possessed, whereas Jackson State was able to convert at a 48% clip in the first half, allowing them to make this a tie ball game at the break.

“We’re trying to hit the reset button. We’re trying to get ourselves to a level of toughness that’s required to win ACC games,” head coach Katie Meier said about the team’s struggles as of late.

Opening up the second half, guard Ja’Leah Williams came out with a jolt of energy, forcing two quick turnovers with her full-court pressure defense, which led to a pair of open layups.

“I’m always willing to do whatever this team needs whether its pass or just get a teammate open, like I’m willing to do the little things and that’s my standard as a player and just as a person,” Williams said about her strong start to the second half.

Despite the hot start to the quarter, offensive struggles continued, as aside from Williams and forward Lazaria Spearman, who had four points, the team shot 1-7 and did not make a three-point field goal the entire quarter.

With all the offensive woes, Miami’s defense held strong in the third, forcing eight more turnovers, which helped the ‘Canes to a three-point lead heading into the final quarter.

With more struggling shooting in the fourth quarter, UM’s defense was called on to step up in a big way, and it did just that, holding the Tigers to only 11 points in the final frame.

Capping off her spirited performance, Williams led the offense again in the fourth, scoring six points, while guard Jasmyne Roberts hit the dagger triple when the offense needed it the most to seal the victory for the ‘Canes,

Game leaders for the ‘Canes were Patrick with 15 points, Spearman with six rebounds and Williams with four assists. Williams also tallied seven steals, which was a sizable chunk of the 28 Tiger turnovers forced by Miami.

After sneaking away with this win, Miami (9-1) will take a little over a week off before it takes on Alabama State (0-10) at home next Thursday at noon. The ‘Canes will look to build back some much-needed momentum before the start of conference play.