Something happened at the end of Miami’s 70-68 upset of No. 1 seed Indiana in the second round of the women’s tourney Monday night that got a lot of run — not because it was a great play but rather because of the internet. With 12 seconds left on the clock and the Hurricanes up 1, Haley Cavinder sunk a pair of clutch free throws to extend the lead to three and then shushed the crowd.
Wow, what a tour de force of shit-talking. Never in my entire life have I seen a player signal to a crowd to be quiet. It’s one thing to hoop, it’s another to back it up, and Haley did exac— wait, she had how many points? Nine? I take it back. I take it all back.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cavinder or her twin sister Hanna, they’re a pair of influencers moonlighting as basketball players. The duo spent the first three seasons of their college careers at Fresno State, where they accrued solid stats but the team’s success waned each year.
Now in South Florida, their popularity has grown because of NIL deals, added exposure, recruiting violations, and everything that comes with looking the way they do and taking pictures straddling the nearest wall. The only thing that’s diminished has been their production. (If you need more evidence of who values her antics, just look at the person she retweeted.)
During the Cavinders’ 55 minutes combined Monday, they tallied 12 points on 4 of 12 from the field, 11 rebounds, three assists, and three turnovers. And yet after the Canes pulled out the W, the clip that went viral — well, viral enough for the New York Post to pick it up — was of Haley shushing the crowd.
It’s not always your time to shine
Yes, Haley made big free throws. Without them, Yardon Garzon’s three with 8 ticks remaining puts Indiana up two instead of merely tying the game. However, if anyone deserved to chat shit, it was the U’s Destiny Harden who hit the decisive bucket with three seconds left that broke the tie and ended the No. 1-seeded Hoosiers’ season.
I can’t tell if Cavinder lacks self-awareness, or has so much of it that she had the quiet-down emoji holstered and ready to go for such a moment. Haley and her sister have talked about how hard and overwhelming “influencing” is — they’re always working, always staying up with what’s current, always online. This was no different.
Hanna’s 19 minutes were forgettable, and Haley hadn’t really done much more. They needed a reason to matter, to get more clicks, to influence. Well, if Haley wanted to maximize the opportunity, she should’ve hit ’em with the Steph Curry “Go to sleep” celebration. It’s not a cliche yet, it’s no less time-and-clock appropriate than the finger to the lips, and all the kids are doing it. It’s the Gritty of late-game jubilation, and something she and Hanna will have to look at in the film room.
That said, allow me to offer an iota of actual advice: If the Cavinders want to use their power for more than just personal gain (which is debatable), maybe share some clips of teammates not named Hanna or Haley on your feeds. Miami’s Destiny Harden and Lola Pendande were more responsible for Haley’s big moment at the line than she was, and it’d be nice for reality to reflect that.