Miami Regroups, Focuses on Next Game

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Canes got their first taste of ACC play on Thursday when they hosted the No. 20/18 Syracuse Orange. While the game did not turn out the way Miami had hoped, there were still positives in the contest to carry into the next game.

New Canes Nyayongah Gony and Naomi Mbandu showed promise on offense, accounting for 25 percent of Miami’s scoring in the game. Mbandu totaled six points and five rebounds in the contest, playing a career-high 21 minutes against the Orange. Gony recorded a career-high eight points, in addition to tallying three rebounds and two assists.

“I learned so much and I feel like I still have a lot to learn,” Gony said of her first ACC game. “I have to get into the gym and keep watching film and adjust my game to this league, which is a pretty good league.”

The Canes faced a Syracuse team that was picked third in the ACC by league coaches and the Blue Ribbon Panel. Miami needed its gamers to show up in order to beat the Orange and, while the big-time plays were missing on Thursday, there is still a lot of promise in the team.

“We’ll get there,” head coach Katie Meier said. “We have to put our shoulders back, get back in the gym and work on our fundamentals. There are flashes of it, but it’s now about how consistent you can be.”

Another bright spot from the contest was the performance of the Miami bench.

“I was very happy with our bench,” Meier said. “They brought a lot of energy and a lot of confidence and effort.”

One of the key bench players was sophomore Sydnee Roby. The center made an immediate impact when she subbed in early in the first quarter, playing tough around the rim and putting a body on the Syracuse post players.

Roby finished the night with seven points, five rebounds and two steals in just 12 minutes of action against the Orange.

“Sydnee is a very bright prospect for us and I felt like she was the most composed of anyone on the team tonight,” Meier said.

Roby and the Canes will have the chance to redeem themselves on Monday when they host the North Carolina Tar Heels at 2 p.m.

While Miami was originally slated to play Duke on Sunday, Dec. 13, contact tracing impacting the Duke program necessitated some changes. Miami and North Carolina will now meet twice this season, on Monday and again on Jan. 10.

North Carolina holds the 14-10 edge in the all-time series, but Miami boasts a 6-5 record when playing at home. Last time the teams met, North Carolina came away with a 78-58 victory at Carmichael Arena.