Canes Welcome # 18 BC

A victory tonight for the University of Miami women's basketball team over the Boston College Eagles in its regular season finale would be their third over a ranked opponent this season. Just last week the Hurricanes defeated No. 24 Virginia Tech and back in December knocked off No. 17 Texas.

But probably of more significance for the Hurricanes (16-10, 9-6 in the Big East) it would secure the No. 5 seed in the Big East Conference championships, starting Saturday, March 2 in the Louis Brown Athletic Center on the campus of Rutgers University. The No. 18 Eagles (21-5, 12-3 in the conference) are third in the conference and have already clinched a first-round bye for the tournament. Their win total this season is the third highest in school history.

The Eagles, coming off a 85-43 pounding of St. John's, have won 18 of 21, while Miami will be trying to rebound from a 69-64 setback at Providence. This is the first meeting of the season between both teams.

The Hurricanes defense, ranked ninth in the Big East allowing 63.2 points a game, will certainly be tested by the Eagles, second in the conference scoring 69.6 points a game and with four players averaging double-figure points.

One requirement for the Hurricanes will be paying close to attention to BC sophomore guard Amber Jacobs, who has scored 98 points in the last six games. In her last outing, Jacobs hit six three-pointers and finished with 26 points.

Jacobs, the Eagles leading scorer at 11.4 points a contest, is also averaging 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds a game. She is shooting 46 percent overall, including 37 percent from three-point range. And she has been getting plenty of help. Sophomore Brianne Stepherson is pouring in 10.3 points a game and 4.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds. Senior guard Nicole Conway is averaging 10.2 points, 5.6 assists and 7.2 rebounds a game.

Freshman forward Clare Droesch has been strong off the bench with 10.9 points and 3.9 rebounds a game. Droesch scored 19 points against St. John's. The Eagles have shot no less than 44.8 percent in their last four games and are 20-0 when leading at the half.

Miami, 11-3 at the Knight Sports Complex, is led by sophomore center Chanivia Broussard who is averaging 14.3 points. Broussard is fifth in the Big East in field goal percentage (.446). Meghan Saake leads the conference in steals with 105, while Shaquana Wilkins is sixth in rebounding (6.1).

The Hurricanes lead the all-time series 13-5, including 6-2 at home against the Eagles. Three UM seniors- Martha Bodley, Kathryn Fowler and Sheila James- will be honored before the start of the game. The contest- which will be televised on Fox SportsNet Thursday, Feb. 28 (7 p.m.)- could be heard live on WVUM 90.5 FM or at hurricanesports.com.

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