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Canes Back to Work

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – For the Miami women’s basketball team, the focus for the last week has been on fundamentals and player development.

Prior to the holiday break, the Canes faced a 78-47 defeat against No. 4/3 NC State.

“We played a really great team in NC State and it takes a heck of a lot more preparation and effort than what we showed to beat them,” head coach Katie Meier said. “In the first half, our shots were very uncomfortable. We have to practice with a lot more physicality or we’ll look uncomfortable for the rest of the year.”

Despite the outcome, Meier remarked on the effort and grit shown by junior Naomi Mbandu and senior Taylor Mason throughout the contest.

“Naomi was special and I thought Taylor Mason the entire game played with great effort,” Meier said. “Taylor understood how they would scout her and didn’t force a lot.”

In her Miami debut, Erjavec recorded a pair of assists and knocked down her first bucket as a Cane. But more important than her numbers, Erjavec’s presence on the floor frees up some other Miami guards, like Mason and Banks, to hunt shots and create scoring opportunities.

“Karla plays with great pace and she helps keep us in our themes,” Meier said. “She’s going to be a nice player for us, but I definitely expect more from her in the upcoming games.”

Erjavec and the rest of the Canes have used the break for the holidays to regroup and refocus on playing Miami basketball.

Miami will face Notre Dame in the final game of 2020 on Thursday. In the last game of the calendar year, the Canes hold a 23-18 all-time record. Under Katie Meier, Miami is 11-4 in games before the new year.

Notre Dame has dominated the all-time series between the two schools, holding a 20-5 advantage and winning eight of the last 10 meetings. Of the Canes five wins against the Fighting Irish, three have come when playing at home, and two have happened under Katie Meier.

While Notre Dame came away with a 76-53 win in 2019-20, the last time these teams met at the Watsco Center, Miami knocked off then-number four Notre Dame, 72-65, in a fourth-quarter nail-biter.

Thursday’s game provides Miami an opportunity to move to .500 in ACC play this season as the Canes currently sit at 1-2 against conference opponents. As the ACC schedule progresses, each win has increasing importance.

“We’re learning what it takes to get wins in this league,” Meier said. “We have to focus on player development and need shots to go in to truly compete in the ACC.”