MIAMI (Jan. 12, 2021) – The FIU women’s basketball team returns to its home floor on Thursday, Jan. 13, for a Conference USA battle against the visiting UAB Blazers.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. ET from the Ocean Bank Convocation Center (OBCC).
UAB MATCHUP PREVIEW
The Panthers own an 8-4 record on the season and are looking for their first C-USA win of the current campaign. FIU dropped a close contest by a score of 51-63 against a hot WKU squad in the Panthers’ C-USA opener last Saturday, Jan. 8. The Blue & Gold is aiming to improve its record at the OBCC to 7-3 this season with a win over the Blazers.
UAB has posted an 8-5 overall record (1-1 C-USA) and is coming off a loss against UTSA (60-68) on the road. The Blazers opened up their C-USA slate with a win over UTEP (76-74) in El Paso, Texas. UAB has struggled to win games on the road this season, winning only two of its seven games in enemy territories thus far.
INSIDE THE SERIES
UAB leads the all-time series over FIU by a margin of 11-3, including an 8-2 mark since joining C-USA. This will be the first meeting between the two opponents in the Coach Burks-Wiley era, as the programs did not meet in the shortened 2020-21 season. FIU is looking to prove its recent growth by snapping a seven-game losing skid to the Blazers, which dates back to the 2015-16 campaign. The Panthers last defeated the Blazers on Feb. 4, 2016 by a score of 72-61.
SCOUTING THE BLAZERS
UAB is led by senior center Zakyia Weathersby, who averages a total of 16.4 points per game. Weathersby is one of C-USA’s premiere post players this season, as the center leads the league in rebounds (135), rebounds per game (11.2), blocks (22), double-doubles (8), shooting percentage (57.6%), and field goals made (83).
FIU will need to keep Weathersby off the offensive glass, as the center ranks third in the NCAA with 4.8 offensive boards per game.
As a team, UAB averages 68.6 points per contest while allowing only 59.8 from its opponents. The Blazers have held their opponents to a lowly 35 percent shooting from the floor this season, which ranks second-best in C-USA. UAB also ranks fourth in the league in 3-point percentage defense (25%).
FIU BY THE NUMBERS
Emerald Ekpiteta is approaching the thousand career-point mark, as the Panther currently sits with 945 total points over her five NCAA seasons.
FIU ranks third overall among all 14 Conference USA teams with 89 made 3-pointers, including 7.42 per contest.
Sharpshooting forward Kyla Nelson is leading C-USA in 3-point field goal percentage with a .361 clip and ranks second in the league with 2.5 made 3-pointers per game.
FIU’s defense has allowed a stingy 57.83 points per game this season, which ranks fourth-best in the league. The Panthers also rank third in C-USA with 10.75 steals per game.
FIU ranks second in C-USA in rebounding defense, giving up only 34.67 rebounds per game.
Fifth-year transfer Ariel Colon leads FIU in scoring (13.1 ppg) while shooting an efficient .450 percent from the field. Colon ranks second on the squad with 19 made 3-pointers. Among all C-USA players, Colon ranks 15th in 3-pointers made per-game (1.58) and 17th in scoring average.
Forward Ekpiteta leads FIU with 7.3 rebounds per game, while Colon ranks second with 4.3.
Graduate students Nelson and Ekpiteta rank second and third on FIU with 11.8 ppg and 9.3 ppg, respectively.
Freshman guard Tanajah Hayes is having a nice two-way impact for FIU this season as the Panther leads the squad with 34 total assists and 28 steals while shooting an impressive 46 percent on field-goal attempts.
Hayes ranks seventh overall in C-USA with 2.33 steals per contest.
Sophomore Maria Torres leads FIU with 1.2 blocks per game and ranks ninth in C-USA in the category.
FIU is back in action at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center this Saturday, Jan. 15, when the Panthers welcome Middle Tennessee. Tipoff against the Blue Raiders is scheduled for Noon ET.
For tickets to all upcoming women’s basketball home games, click here.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @FIUWBB on Facebook and @FIU_WBB on Twitter and @FIUWBB on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at @FIUSports on Facebook and @FIUAthletics on Twitter and Instagram.
The Jason Candle to Miami as OC rumors are heating up
Jason Candle has been rumored to be the next offensive coordinator at the University of Miami. The 42 year old Candle grew up in Ohio, and won two Division III National Championships as a member of the Mount Union Purple Raiders.
After two season of playing at Mount Union, Candle served as a wide receiver coach from 2003-2006, and the OC from 2007-2008. Before the 2009 season, Candle moved on to Toledo and became the Rockets tight ends coach under Tim Salem.
Candle has been a fast-riser through the coaching ranks like many other Mount Union former players. From 2010-2011, Candle coached the WR’s. From 2012-2015, he was the offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach before the Boca Raton Bowl to end the 2015 season.
In six seasons as the full-time head coach of the Rockets Candle’s squads have made and lost four bowl games. The Rockets best season under Candle came in 2017, when Toledo finished 11-3, including 7-1 in the MAC. His overall coaching record is 45-27 (30-16 in the MAC).
So the $1M question- why would Candle leave a Group of 5 head coaching job for an OC position? Toledo has gotten stale as of late and with the changing culture of the college football landscape, it makes sense for him to come down and learn under Mario Cristobal before chasing after a Power 5 head coaching position.
I’m sure Candle saw the rub The U gave to Rhett Lashlee, and seeing Tyler Van Dyke knows that he could be in Coral Gables for two seasons and moving on to something much bigger and better than Toledo.
Under Candle, the Toledo offenses have been ranked above the G5 level (65th or better) in all but one season per Bill Connelly’s SP+. In Points Per Game, Toledo ranked in the top-25 in all but four seasons of the past 10. The Rockets offense hasn’t been as efficient with Coach Candle as head coach instead of just OC, but they’re scoring more points.
Toledo uses 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) as their base offense. The tight end isn’t a huge part of the passing game, having accounted for only three touchdowns and 16 receptions between Drew Rosi and Jamal Turner in 2021.
The Rockets love three to five wide receiver sets and continue to run the football with both a feature back and the quarterback. Even with a ‘spread mentality’ RB Bryant Koback ran for 1,407 yards and 15 TD’s on 6.8 yards per carry. QB DeQuan Finn added another 502 yards and nine scores on the ground.
Finn averaged 8.3 yards per pass attempt with 18 TD’s and only two interceptions in ‘21. Over the past three seasons, Toledo has had a receiver with 19+ yards per catch average in each season, plus two 1,00 yard rushing seasons (the Rockets only played six games in ‘20).
The Rockets have adapted their offense to fit their skillset, but have always seemed to have a big time deep threat in the rotation.
While being from Ohio, Jason Candle has done a tremendous job of recruiting Florida and South Florida specifically. Of his top five signees on 247 Sports, four are from Florida including four-star WR James Green in 2010.
In order to continue to keep the Florida pipeline fresh, Candle hired former Tampa Plant head coach Robert Weiner, and former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver and assistant coach Kevin Beard. Candle had also hired former Miami assistant Craig Kuligowski as his co-defensive coordinator.
Candle’s Rockets have done a good job in recruiting Ohio and Michigan, as they should, but also Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
The offense vs. NIU ‘21
At times, Jason Candle the head coach made some questionable decisions. The situational Football IQ of his teams would leave a lot to be desired. Whether it was clock management, timeouts, or even which plays to call from where when you’re on a certain down and distance. Candle definitely was a ‘ride or die’ type on the explosive plays.
Above– You can see a 4th and 2, and Candle let’s it rip with a slant-wheel combo. Is it open? Hell yeah. Is that a high percentage effort both in pass pro and in completion percentage? No. And at the -45 instead of the +45, that’s a much riskier call.
Above– 2nd and 11, a nice easy curl right at the 1st down marker. They add in a nice influx of yards after catch and turn this into an explosive. When you take deep shots enough the intermediate game can open up. Rhett Lashlee, Phil Longo and Candle are cut from that cloth.
Above– Speaking of that Lashlee cloth, Candle uses a direct snap with G-H counter pulling for a big TD run before the half.
Above– I love a good screen. With Miami’s RB’s like Jaylan Knighton, a screen should be a money play. Tyler Van Dyke loves throwing from different arm slots which really helps on screens.
Above– Candle likes to pull linemen in order to get more blockers at the point of attack than defenders. This is an outside zone path with the WR coming inside to crack the LB.
Above– It’s 4th and 6, your side of the field at the +34. Toledo chooses a one-read tunnel screen off of bullet motion. It seems bizarre that your two best plays on 4th and 2 and 6 are a slant-wheel and a tunnel screen.
Above– Motion. Play-action. A pulling lineman on a pass play. Slant-wheel again. A lot of things that I like in an offensive play, especially on 2nd and 5, are here. I feel like this is in the Lashlee mold, too.
Above– Aaaaah, a rub concept in the red zone on 1st down. I absolutely love it.
Whether Candle is really the call at OC, or it’s someone else like the rumored Kendal Briles or Ken Dorsey, I think the program is headed in the right direction. Candle is a proven recruiter in Florida, a guy that’s been a head coach, and his offenses score point.
Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles has been offered offensive coordinator position at Miami, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. Briles also has been OC at Florida State, Houston, FAU & Baylor
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 18, 2022
Briles has no head coaching record, but his offenses have been successful, he’s creative, and he’s a fast-riser, too. Dorsey has the least play calling experience of the three, but he’s developed an NFL MVP in Cam Newton at Carolina, and now a playoff winning QB in Josh Allen up in Buffalo.
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Video: LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony get lit with Dwyane Wade for his 40th birthday
Updated: January 18, 2022
He was on the receiving end of many birthday wishes, including one from LeBron James. James, along with fellow Los Angeles Lakers star Carmelo Anthony, appeared to be celebrating with Wade for his birthday.
Wade and James, of course, were teammates for several years on the Heat. They accomplished a lot together and brought two NBA titles to the city of Miami.
These days, James is looking to add another ring to his collection with the Lakers. So far, L.A. is having a rough 2021-22 season, but there’s still time for the Lakers to turn things around.
While Wade surely wishes James nothing but success under most circumstances, that probably wasn’t the case on Monday. That’s because Wade is a part owner of the Utah Jazz, and James’ Lakers clashed with the Jazz on Monday.
In that matchup, the Lakers came away with a 101-95 victory to snap a three-game losing streak and get back to .500 on the season. L.A. holds a 22-22 record with 44 games in the books.
For Wade’s Jazz, Monday’s loss continued a rough stretch for the team. Utah has lost five of its last six games. Still, the squad holds a solid overall record of 29-15 and seems like a contender in the Western Conference.
Time will tell if the Lakers or Jazz can win the West and reach the NBA Finals this season. As far as the Eastern Conference goes, Wade hasn’t been shy about the fact that he still loves the Heat. He surely roots for them as often as possible.
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