The ninth-seeded Hurricanes will have their first opportunity to do exactly that on Saturday.
Miami qualified for the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team after posting a 19-12 overall record and going 11-7 in the ultra-competitive ACC, a conference that sent eight teams to the tournament.
During the regular season, the Hurricanes more than proved they could keep pace with some of the nation’s elite teams, notching wins over North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Florida State, all of whom were ranked in the AP Top 25 poll when they faced Miami.
That January win over the Hokies makes the Hurricanes one of just 12 teams this season to defeat one of the tournament’s one seeds. Making that stat even more impressive? The fact the Hurricanes were the lone unranked team to beat a one-seeded team by double digits.
This year, the Hurricanes have relied on an experienced core of players, but they’ve proven one of the toughest teams to scout in the ACC. Nine different players have led the team in scoring across their 31 games and eight have led the team in rebounding.
Ten of the 11 active Hurricanes have notched double-digit scoring games and six have reached 20 points in a game. And Meier says the combination of that kind of balance – along with the Hurricanes’ ability to play multiple defenses – will be a big key in the tournament.
“The multiple defenses that we play…no one ever knows what we’re going to play against them and that’s hard,” Meier said. “We might press full court. We might face guard. We might trap, half-court, might play man and they have to be ready for all of those.”
Said Haley Cavinder, a second-team All-ACC selection who averaged 12.8 points and 4.6 points for the Hurricanes during the regular season, “Something that we bring is we are really balanced. We have a lot of people that could step up. That’s hard to scout. So just a very well-balanced team [that] plays really well together. I think we play really hard on the defensive end, and I think that we can just bring that into the tournament and play good team basketball.”
But, Meier noted, Oklahoma State can be balanced in its scoring, too – which could make for a frustrating first few minutes for the Hurricanes as they settle into the game.
The Cowgirls enter the tournament with three players – Naomie Alnatas, Lior Garzon and Terryn Milton – all averaging double figures. Three more are averaging more than 9.5 points per game.
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Women’s Basketball – University of Miami Athletics…