Three games into the conference season, the University of Miami women’s basketball team was feeling pretty good about itself. The Hurricanes were 12-2, had a 3-0 league record and were ranked No. 24 in The Associated Press poll.
But then came back-to-back road games against No.10 Maryland and No. 18 Florida State. UM lost both, dropped out of the rankings and will try to get back on track Thursday night at home against Georgia Tech (8-8, 1-4) before heading out of town for another pair of road games against Virginia and Wake Forest.
The Yellow Jackets are also coming off back-to-back losses to Virginia and No. 11 North Carolina.
“It’s alarming because we got handled,” UM coach Katie Meier said. “It’s not just that we got beat, it’s that we did some really immature stuff, and it cost us. It got my attention, got my staff’s attention, got the players’ attention. We have to do a better job of shot selection because we are putting too much pressure on our defense.”
She said Thursday’s game is particularly important because it’s at home.
“We really need this home game because we’re in a stretch where we have four of five on the road,” she said. “This is a very important game for us. We expect Georgia Tech to be tough as nails, like they always are. They come at you in waves. We’ll have to grab every loose ball and be really aggressive.”
The Yellow Jackets are led by junior guard Tyaunna Marshall and freshman guard Brittany Jackson, who won ACC Rookie of the Week last week after scoring 20 points against Virginia and 20 points against North Carolina. She scored 40 points in 53 minutes and made nine three-pointers.
Georgia Tech is also big inside, with 6-5 center Shayla Bivins.
UM center Shawnice “Pepper’’ Wilson is 6-6 and said she is looking forward to the battle in the paint.
“This is a big rival game for us, going back to four or five years ago,” Wilson said. “We expect it to be really physical, which is the kind of game I like. Anytime you’re coming off two losses, you want to come out energized and get back to what helped you win. That’s our goal. This is a must-win game for us.”