"An Incredible Performance"

"An Incredible Performance"

by Christy Cabrera Chirinos

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – For Haley Cavinder, it wasn’t exactly the most memorable of starts.

The guard – one of Miami’s top scoring threats this season – missed her first shot of the night.

She missed her second shot, too. And her third.

But Cavinder refused to give up on her teammates or herself. Not against rival Florida State.

So she kept right on shooting and with some help from her sister Hanna and the rest of the Hurricanes, eventually found her rhythm.

The ultimate result? A career-high 33-point performance and an 86-82 Miami win over the 19th-ranked Seminoles at the Watsco Center on Thursday evening.

It marked the Hurricanes’ sixth straight win on their home floor, their third win of the season over an AP Top 25 team, and undoubtedly added to their growing postseason resume.

Needless to say, Haley Cavinder and the Hurricanes had plenty of reason to smile when it was over.

“It just means a lot. We came in wanting to protect our home court. They got us there [in Tallahassee]. I know this rivalry is big and I know it meant a lot to our team,” Cavinder said. “So we knew coming in to trust our defense and trust the scout. Our coaches prepared us very, very well and we’re a confident team, so we’re going to feed off each other. I’m just so proud of my teammates.”

Her teammates – and coaches – are plenty proud of her, too.

Since arriving at Miami this summer, Haley and Hanna Cavinder have put in the work to learn Miami’s plays and terminology. They’ve spent time dissecting film with head coach Katie Meier. They’ve put up countless shots in the gym. And they’ve pushed each other to continue growing their games as they face off against some of the toughest teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“The first couple of practices, they were like ‘What are these terms? What is this language that you’re using? What in the world?’ They were always coming in the office going ‘Can we do some film?’ What does this mean? What do you call this?’” Meier recalled. “Once they kind of got that, they were playing with pace and they got their rhythm. I’m sure it was a heck of an adjustment…

“I just think it’s so fun to have someone that’s as competitive or more competitive than I am. We’re talking massive competitiveness. Sometimes that comes from big families. I know that well…I’m just having a ball coaching them. They’re fun.”

On Thursday against the Seminoles, the sisters used their familiarity with each other’s games to help get the Hurricanes some of the most crucial points of the evening.

With Florida State holding a 65-61 lead with 1:07 left in the third quarter, Haley Cavinder took a pass from Hanna Cavinder, put up a 3-pointer, and together, the duo helped Miami pull within two.

Haley Cavinder went on to finish the game connecting on 7 of her 10 shots from beyond the arc and credited her sister’s timing with helping her find her stride in the second half when she scored 24 of her 33 points.

“Hanna knows my game more than I know it, probably. She gives me feedback. She’s a great mind and I know her game, so being able to just experience that with her and just grind daily and come into an environment where the coaches challenge you and the team’s competitive, it just means a lot,” Haley Cavinder said. “It means a lot to be able to play the game at the highest level in the biggest conference and share that moment with Hanna. That comfort level helps every night…

“She’s my best friend, so if I’m having a bad game, she’s there for me. She’s going to keep it real with me…She knows where I want my shots. I know where she wants her shots. Just being able to share that moment with her, she got me going. Shout-out, Han.”

With the Hurricanes (16-8, 9-4) set to take on another Top-25 team this weekend at Duke (21-3, 11-2), Haley Cavinder said she wants to continue doing her part to help Miami keep winning.

And she believes the Hurricanes’ performance against Florida State – one in which she, Jasmyne Roberts, Ja’Leah Williams and Destiny Harden all finished in double figures – is something Miami can build on during the final weeks of the regular season.

“Just confidence and trusting,” Haley Cavinder said. “Like Coach [Meier] said, just playing together regardless of what it is, who’s having a night, or team has a lot of depth. A lot of players that can score the ball, so just trusting and being selfless is going to keep us going.”

Said Meier, “An incredible performance by Haley, just incredible…She stayed faithful.”