The Hurricanes have built upon their somewhat-unexpected success in the 2023 NCAA Tournament (in which Miami reached the Elite Eight as a nine-seed), winning their first eight games of the season for the first time since 2015. Despite losing leading scorers Destiny Harden (graduation) and Haley Cavinder (transfer), Miami ranks in the 92nd percentile offensively, according to Her Hoop Stats, scoring 108 points per 100 possessions.
In her third season as a Hurricane, Jasmyne Roberts has assumed her largest role yet, and is currently leading Miami in both points (12.1) and steals (1.9) per game. Roberts also is shooting a career-best 47.4 percent on 3-pointers. She and former Duke guard Shayeann Day-Wilson (10.6 points and 5.1 assists per game) give the Hurricanes a formidable backcourt duo.
Baylor, meanwhile, has gotten off to an equally impressive start. The Bears made a statement with their early-season win over No. 4 Utah and have cruised since then, defeating each of their last five opponents by 20 points or more. Statistically, they rank as one of the best rebounding teams in the nation (61.7 percent rebounding rate; third in Division I), with athletic, energetic group of forwards including Dre’una Edwards, Bella Fontleroy, Aijha Blackwell and Darianna Littlepage-Buggs giving the Bears quality depth in the frontcourt and on the wing.
Suffice to say, Miami will need to match Baylor’s intensity on the glass in order to win Saturday’s game. Another area Baylor might have a significant edge in is ball security; the Bears rank fifth in Division I in assist/turnover ratio and second in assisted shot rate (71.3 percent), both sure signs that the team’s ball movement is crisp and its decision-making is sound. Miami does have four players averaging 1.5 steals per game or better—Roberts, Ja’Leah Williams, Jaida Patrick and Lashae Dwyer—so perhaps they’ll be able to even the playing field a bit with their defense.
In any case, Saturday’s game will be the first against a ranked opponent for Miami and the second for Baylor, so it will carry a good amount of weight for both teams in terms of postseason resume-building. It should go without saying that both the Hurricanes and Bears would like to be able to say that they handed their opponent their first loss of the season.
No. 10 Baylor Bears (8-0) vs. No. 24 Miami Hurricanes (8-0)
When: Saturday, Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, TX
How to watch: Big 12 Now (ESPN+)