UM women get 22 steals, force 27 turnovers in 86-65 home win over Boston College
The boxscore says the University of Miami women’s basketball team beat Boston College 86-65 at the Watsco Center on Thursday night, and that is true. But it hardly tells the full story. The win was not as easy as the final score indicates.
“All week we were saying it was going to be a backyard brawl, and it was, but it was nice to see that toughness from our team,” UM coach Katie Meier said.
Things were looking bleak early. Very bleak.
The Hurricanes missed seven of their first eight shots in the first 10 minutes and the Eagles soared to a 14-2 lead. But two of the smallest women on the UM roster, guards LaShae Dwyer and Haley Cavinder, stepped up, made huge plays, energized their teammates and ignited the comeback.
Graduate student Destiny Harden led all scorers with 23 points to go with seven rebounds and a career-high seven steals. Eleven of her points came from the free-throw line, and her ability to get to the line kept the Hurricanes in the game in the first half. Harden scored 13 points before halftime, seven from the line.
“I thought it was very fun, very physical,” Harden said. “I like physical games, so I had fun out there.”
Miami’s tenacious defense resulted in 22 steals, 27 Eagles turnovers, 24 points off those turnovers and the Canes held BC scoreless for the final seven minutes of the game. After struggling to find their shots early, UM scored 31 third-quarter points.
Meier heaped praise on Harden after the game.
“The way Boston College plays, you’ve got to just have a ballplayer that goes, gets the ball and makes a play,” Meier said. “Destiny did her thing. The seven steals, from a four player, that was incredible. Des was everywhere. Real special, inspirational performance. Des knew what was on the line.”
Meier called it “a separation game” that could prove pivotal as the ACC season goes on. The Hurricanes (13-7, 6-3 ACC) were eager to rebound on their home floor after their five-game win streak ended with a 10-point road loss at NC State last week.
Miami has won all four home games this January and nine straight over the Eagles at the Watsco Center.
For the second game in a row, Cavinder, UM’s leading scorer, struggled in the first half and came alive after halftime. She was held scoreless in the first half Thursday night, going 0-for-4, but was a completely different player after the break, scoring eight straight points in the third quarter.
Miami, which trailed by four at halftime, got to within one on a driving layup by Cavinder, her first points of the game. She hit a three a minute later, then gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the night, 51-50, on a driving layup off the fast break after stealing the ball from the Eagles’ T’Yana Todd at the other end of the floor. She hit another three to make it 54-52.
“Haley’s such a competitor,” Meier said. “She got outrun on one play, I lit her up, screamed at her, and then she just raised her level.”
Dwyer came in off the bench when UM fell behind early, sparked the offense and ended with 12 points and five steals.
The Hurricanes’ bench outscored the Eagles’ 39-8. Karla Erjavec, who struggled in recent games, had 13 points, including a high arching three-pointer that gave UM a 10-point lead with a minute to go.
“Karla’s performance was so meaningful for our team,” Meier said. “Her three was in the air for like 10 seconds. We were all like 10-9-8 ... and then, ‘Yay!’ ”
There was a lively crowd and the student section unveiled Fathead posters of the UM players and Meier.
“The student section was amazing, with the big heads and all that stuff,” Meier said. “It really helped us.”
The game was a homecoming for Boston College sophomore guard Andrea Daley, a Miami native and 2021 Miami Ms. Basketball who led Miami Country Day High School to the 2021 3A state title. Daley went 2-of-11 for six points Thursday. JoJo Lacey led the Eagles with 16 points.
Miami plays at Wake Forest on Sunday.