Jacksonville Sports Day

Four Canes Score in Double-Figures in Victory over Jacksonville

The University of Miami women’s basketball team tipped off the 2020-21 season with a 74-58 victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins on Wednesday.

Junior Destiny Harden tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds in the contest for her first career double-double.

“I liked that we kept the faith and we worked through some lineups,” head coach Katie Meier said. “I think Destiny Harden is going to be a real story for us this season and she just played a phenomenal game.”

Senior guard Kelsey Marshall paced the Canes on offense pouring in 22 points, with nine points coming from 3-point range. Harden, Brianna Jackson (14) and Endia Banks (10) also reached double-figures for the Canes.

As a team, the Canes outrebounded the Dolphins 51-36, with four Miami players totaling five or more boards. Miami finished the game shooting 82.8 percent from the free throw line, knocking down 24-of-29 shots.

“There were some bright spots out of our veterans and leaders today. We needed to take care of the ball today and I feel like we did a good job of that along with forcing turnovers,” said JU head coach Darnell Haney. “We had some strong contributions from Alexis Pierce and DeShari Graham, along with a big game from Ashley Malone. This was her introduction to college basketball and now she knows what to expect and can build on today’s performance moving on.”

Despite a slow start on offense, the Canes used a 27-18 advantage on the boards and 11 first-half points from Marshall to take a 32-26 lead into halftime.

Miami came out of the locker room a different team, stringing together an 8-0 run early in the third quarter to take a double-digit lead over the Dolphins. During the run, Jackson shot a perfect 3-for-3 in the paint, becoming the second Hurricane to reach double-figures in the game.

The Canes closed out the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring Jacksonville 24-17, highlighted by a 13-of-16 effort from the charity stripe.

On playing today in the COVID-era, Haney said, “The whole process of going through all the pregame COVID protocols just showed the toughness of this team. Everything is a little different now but we’ve done a good job following out protocols so that we are able to come out and compete. Once the game got moving, we did a good job competing overall. We had a few lulls that we had to get through but once we got to playing JU basketball, we definitely saw some good things.”

Alexis Pierce and DeShari Graham both posted 14-point efforts for the Dolphins, with the former collecting three rebounds and three assists and the latter pulling down eight boards. Jada Perry would finish with just five points but pulled down a team-best 10 rebounds while collecting four steals and three blocks.

Freshman Ashley Malone took home Player of the Game honors in her JU debut. The Pope John Paul II product out of Nashville led the Dolphins with 17 points, 10 coming in the fourth quarter, on 6-13 shooting.

The Dolphins will be back on the road Saturday as they head to Tampa to face American Conference Preseason number one USF.

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