Maryland women’s basketball wraps up its time in South Beach when it takes on Miami on Sunday.
The Terps are coming off an 89-35 win over Kennesaw State in which they dominated on both ends of the floor. Maryland held the Owls to 23 percent shooting from the field, forced 28 turnovers and won the rebounding battle, 50-29.
On the offensive end, Maryland shot 51 percent from the field and hit a season-high 11 three-pointers. Blair Watson continued her hot start to the season with a career-high 20 points that included six three-pointers.
The Hurricanes enter this game 4-1 and are coming off an 80-70 win over Maine on Friday. This is a bit of a rebuilding year for Miami, who was picked to finish eighth in the ACC after losing three starters from a team that went 24-9 and made the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
This is the first game between the two teams since Maryland left the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014. Tipoff is scheduled for noon ET and the game will be streamed on WatchESPN.
Miami Hurricanes (4-1)
2016-17 record: 24-9, 10-6 ACC
Head coach Katie Meier is 235-153 in 13 years at Miami. She has led the Hurricanes to six NCAA Tournament appearances in the past seven years, but has never advanced past the second round. Prior to arriving in Coral Gables, she spent four years as the head coach at Charlotte, where she went 76-45 and led the 49ers to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Meier was a star at Duke from 1986-1990, where she still ranks sixth all-time in career points.
Players to know
Mykea Gray, freshman, guard, 5’4, No. 5. For the third straight game, Maryland will face a team that has a freshman as its leading scorer. Gray is averaging 17.4 points and 3.2 assists a game, and was named ACC Rookie of the Week on Nov. 13 after dropping 27 and 21 points in the Hurricanes’ first two games. Gray is from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and attended National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, so she may be extra motivated to do well against her hometown team.
Erykah Davenport, senior, forward, 6’2, No. 30. Davenport has had a breakout senior season so far, averaging 12.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. She was a starter the past two years but was more of a role player, averaging just 6.5 points and 18.2 minutes per game. She’s been on a tear recently, with 16 points and 19 rebounds against New Orleans and 20 points and 11 boards against Maine.
Forcing turnovers. Miami forces 24.6 turnovers a game, which is 11th in the NCAA. Maryland has been inconsistent taking care of the ball this season, and will need to be extra careful against the Hurricanes.
Three-point shooting. Miami has no outside shooting to speak of. It shoots 21.4 percent on three-pointers, which is the worst mark in the ACC. Gray makes 33 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc, but the rest of the team shoots just 15 percent.
Three things to watch
- Will Blair Watson’s hot streak continue? The sophomore has been on fire the past two games, setting career highs for points in each and shooting 61 percent on three-pointers. If Watson and Kristen Confroy continue to shoot like they have the last two games, it makes Maryland’s offense much harder to defend.
- Can Maryland stop Erykah Davenport? In Maryland’s two losses, it’s struggled to stop teams in the paint. Although Davenport isn’t as good as A’ja Wilson or Napheesa Collier, she still presents a problem for an undersized Maryland team.
- Which team gets its first win against a power conference opponent? Miami lost at Colorado on Nov. 18, and the Terps dropped games to South Carolina and Connecticut last week. It’s only November, but a win for either team would definitely bolster its resume come March.
Maryland wins, 83-72.