After two quarters of play in Miami's season-opener against Canisius, Megan Duffy's squad found themselves trailing by double-digits.
Last December, MU handed the Golden Griffins a 25-point loss, but poor shooting in the first half saw the RedHawks fall behind quickly on Friday night. The 'Hawks shot 5-of-17 from the field, 1-of-5 from behind the arc and missed four free throws in the first half. They trailed 39-26 heading into the break.
"I thought we came out the first couple of minutes OK, and then we just kind of got punched," Duffy said. "We couldn't get to halftime quick enough."
Junior guard Lauren Dickerson struggled to get it going offensively, scoring 11 points on 4-of-18 from the field (2-of-11 from three).
The 'Hawks came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, and raced out to an 8-0 run to begin the half.
"I definitely relied on our upperclassmen to get us out of that hole," Duffy said. "They've been in those positions, especially last year, to be able to bounce back [...] Kudos to them for having the maturity to step up and keep their composure."
Dickerson hit her only three-pointer of the game to cut the lead to 45-41, the smallest deficit Miami had faced since the first half. At the end of three quarters, the Red & White were only down 50-45.
The 'Hawks kept closing in on the Griffins' lead throughout the fourth quarter, cutting it down to two points four different times.
With 2:35 left, Dickerson intercepted a pass at half court and patiently waited for a cutting teammate. She found senior forward Kendall McCoy in the corner who knocked down the deep two and tied the game at 59 apiece.
Despite being one of the smaller players on the team, Dickerson has shown her ability to defend tenaciously and read the game.
"She really made an emphasis in the offseason to be a better defender," Duffy said. "She's got great anticipation skills. Obviously she's down low and getting into people. At 5-foot-5, she's got an ability to get tips and deflections."
Duffy said, laughing, "She was jamming her fingers so much in the preseason because she was getting all those deflections."
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The team effort on defense continued for the rest of the game against Canisius, as Miami didn't give up another basket and sunk three free throws to win 62-59. Duffy's side held the hosts to only nine points in the final quarter.
"Any time you can steal one on the road when you don't play well is definitely a positive, but we've spent a lot of time the past two days going over that film," Duffy said.
Miami will host Eastern Kentucky tonight for its home-opener, before traveling to play Detroit Mercy on Friday. Tip-off vs. EKU is 7 p.m. at Millett Hall.