Eye of the Hurricane

February 20, 2008

Women’s Basketball Preview

Filed under: Uncategorized — hcumphrey @ 12:47 am

Miami’s women will host North Carolina (#2 A.P. & E.S.P.N./U.S.A. Today) on Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in the BankUnited Center. The Tar Heels are 24-2 this season (11-0 A.C.C.); their losses were on the road to perennially dominant Tennessee and Connecticut. (In both polls, U.Conn. is #1, and Tennessee is #3.) Miami has struggled this season, and its record stands at 9-16 (2-8 A.C.C.). A Hurricanes’ victory would be stunning. North Carolina is scoring 88.7 points per game and allowing only 63.5. It has separate winning streaks of nine, eight, and seven games this season. (The seven-game winning streak is current.) Rashanda McCants, a junior forward with a name horrifyingly similar to that of her older brother Rashad (who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and won an N.C.A.A. championship at U.N.C.), leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game. Four other players (senior forward/center LaToya Pringle, senior forward Erlana Larkins, first-year guard Cetera DeGraffenreid, and sophomore forward Jessica Breland) average double figures in points per game. Larkins grabs 9.4 rebounds per game, and four players (senior guard Alex Miller, McCants, DeGraffenreid, and Larkins) average at least 3.1 assists per game. North Carolina is a balanced squad that probably expects to zip past Miami, so the Hurricanes will need to hustle. Miami certainly needs to harass U.N.C.’s stable of capable ballplayers in order to hang close. Maybe U.N.C. will feel entitled to another victory and can be outworked. However, Katie Meier’s team has lost to such sketchy Division 1 teams as Florida International, Houston, and Maine this season. That does not bode well, obviously. From the perspective of Miami fans, this would be a good time for a point shaving scandal to hit the Tar Heels.

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