Xavier at Miami 6:00 Monday in Millett

Opening game of the year, it is a DH with the men’s team. Men host Evansville at 8:30. Both games are on ESPN 3. Women with Steve Baker and Carol Smith at the Mic. Hope Bake is feeling better than he did in his post surgery photo a week ago.

Last year Miami came from behind to win at X 77-73 with a big finish from Peyton Scott and 3 late treys from the now injured Jordan Tuff. For the first 3 years Coach Hendrix has scheduled 2 or 3 power conference road games. This year X is the only power conference school and it is at home plus Xavier is picked for last in the Big East. Of course, Miami was picked for 11th in the MAC.

An interesting sideline to this game is that both teams have a player from Minster, Oh who were the stars on two state championship teams in Division IV. Courtney Prenger was the center, Ivy Wolf the star guard. In their championship seasons, Prenger was a Jr and Sr, Wolf a FR and Soph. Expect quite a few fans from Minster at the game.

Xavier also has a transfer portal player who has been a nemesis for Miami in the past. 6-2 Nila Blackford averaged 12 point and 9 rebounds over her 4 years at Kent State. She was not much of an outside shooter or free throw shooter, but she was really good on the boards and driving to the hoop. They also feature soph Aanaya Harris, who averaged 9 points and 3 rb as a freshman.

Miami’s starting lineup for the exhibition win over Malone was RS soph Sydney Watkins at the point, soph Ivy Wolf at shooting guard, Soph Maddie Cluse at small forward, Sr Amani Freemen at Center, and Sr transfer Sierra Morrow ( Bradley) at power forward. Star player Peyton Scott did not suit up for the exhibition game as she has been rehabbing from surgery in March and just returned to practice. When she returns she will be gradually working her way back. Although we have 3 Seniors, all 3 have another year of eligibility because of Covid.

Down by 3 at the half. Hanging tough without Peyton Scott.

Miami takes the lead 41-40 early in the 3rd.

X on a big run. Miami down 64-49 at the end of the 3rd.

64-49 X.

80-66 X with 4 mins to go

X wins 87-68. Miami with 22 turnovers. X 8 for 11 on 3 pointers.

For context, last season Xavier went 9-21 (4-16) (with two of those wins against 1-27 Butler), they finished second to last in the Big East, and they lost at home to us. That’s who just blew us out on our home court.

We were bad to start with, but losing Peyton Scott could take us to unimaginable depths this season.

Team is just bad. Cluse , Wolf and nothing else. Peyton obviously is missed but even with her they lose this game. Same mistake laden team. 22 turnovers. And Xavier is not very good.

First women’s game I’ve had a chance to watch in a while. You can build a team around Cluse and Wolf. Thought the offense created decent looks. Defense was not good…

Turnovers are a…bad thing. As nice as I can say it. But 21 in first three quarters is atrocious.

Hendrix has stated that she is an offensive coach… which obviously does not matter when you cannot stop your opponent from scoring and then go on scoring droughts yourself…

They obviously still lose a lot of games with Scott. I think it is a chemistry thing at this point. Team and coaching. Meanwhile Sahar left before last years season to take head coaching job at Canissius and they beat Buffalo last night

In coaching, you’ve either got it…or you don’t. That assessment can usually be done on 1-2 years after hiring a coach (in some cases, the “it” shows up in the interview process…Travis Steele, to me, appears to have “it,” Hendrix doesn’t).
In Miami’s case (and in other underfunded programs), ADs get trapped in having to offer 5-year contracts with very little or no money available to buy a coach out early…so they get “stuck” until the buyout drops to an acceptably affordable level.

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There was a group of girls sitting down the row from me last night. They seemed to know a player or two. Just before the mens game, a player started to walk up the ramp under the stands and one the spectators yelled to get her attention. She looked up and waved at her friend. Then she mouthed the words, “We suck. We suck so bad.”

She was honest. And truthful. They do.

One little coaching nugget from last night that perfectly sums up my frustration with Hendrix. Sierra Morrow picked up two fouls in the first quarter and was quickly removed, likely for the remainder of the first half. Then, with about three minutes to go in the second quarter Hendrix puts her back in. Morrow then quickly picks up her third foul, limiting her availability for the second half. That’s coaching malpractice.

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