Women’s basketball nearly upsets No. 24-ranked Hurricanes

FIU guard Kristian Hudson (15) drives around Miami forward Erykah Davenport (30) in the second half as the University of Miami Hurricanes defeated the FIU Golden Panthers, 77-69, on November 10, 2017, at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Florida. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics

By Cristhian Plasencia/Contributing Writer

 

The FIU women’s basketball team fell to the No. 24-ranked University of Miami, 77-69, in the team’s season opener on Friday night at the Watsco center in Coral Gables.

Throughout the third quarter, the Panthers were leading the Hurricanes. In the seventh minute, guard Kristian Hudson extended the Panther’s lead by dropping two triples.

Unfortunately, FIU struggled to keep possession within the fourth quarter.

“What hurt us was down the stretch they got a lot of offensive rebounds and that we didn’t take care of the handle as they pressured, I don’t do moral victories but I told my players I’m very proud of them, we are not a deep team but they fought and everyone that played contributed,” Coach Tiara Malcom said, at the postgame press conference.

Coach Malcom’s team showed organized defense with a grittiness character. Forward Kiandre’a Pound fought for loose balls early on, and as a collective unit, FIU drew offensive fouls; they stayed compacted in the paint, forcing Miami to shoot from the perimeter.

“I thought FIU played great. They are capable when you see their film, they have some great scores, Hudson for sure, pound had a great game, and Shante Walker with her pick and pop screwed our defensive schemes and rotations,” Coach Katie Meier said. FIU frustrated Miami’s approach to the game.

Freshman Shante Walker constantly set high picks, and rolled for a couple of jumpers. Walker got into a rhythm, scoring eight points in the first half, finished the game with 12 points – shooting 56 percent.

Miami dominated in the fourth quarter with rebounding and getting to the line. Canes extended their runs: making free throws, and capitalizing on FIU’s turnovers with fast-break baskets. Miami had 11-0 runs and 14-3 runs, late in quarters.

FIU made miscues down the stretch of quarters, turnovers in closing minutes.

The Panthers struggled on the offensive board. Miami had 19 second-chance points, and came up with 17 offensive rebounds. Center Erykah Davenport tallied nine rebounds and guard Endia Banks with eight rebounds. Banks came up with five defensive rebounds and dropped 15 points, shooting 54 percent from the field.

Hudson, switching back and forth from point to shooting guard, showed her offensive game, dropping 21 points at Miami, 16 points in the second half. She showed her confidence shooting beyond the arc. Hudson scored three triples out of four. Confidence defined the panthers’ performance.

“It’s something that we talk about all the time in just believing in ourselves to instill confidence, but that [holding a lead against Miami] definitely was a boost for us,” Hudson said.

Miami’s freshman point guard, Mykea Gray, finished with 27 points and dropped 19 of those points in the first half.

The FIU women’s basketball team will begin their five-game home stretch Monday night, as they host Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m.

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