No. 6 Canes Look to Avenge Only ACC Loss vs. UNC
Feb. 7, 2012
|No. 6 Miami vs. No. 22 North Carolina
Feb. 8, 2012 | 7 p.m. | BankUnited Center | Live Video Stream $
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes have played nine games since their disappointing Atlantic Coast Conference opener in Chapel Hill, N.C, and to say they have lived up to their preseason billing during that stretch would be an understatement.
Nine straight wins, including two against opponents now ranked in the Top-25. Three conference wins of 20 or more points. The first-ever victory for the program against a Top-5 opponent.
The first road win in Tallahassee against rival Florida State since 1987. Five more wins at the BankUnited Center, stretching the nation’s third-longest home winning streak to a whopping 37 games. A national ranking of No. 6 in the newest Associated Press Top-25 poll, tied for the best showing in program history.
Impressive? Without a doubt.
But none of that matters on Wednesday, when the Canes take the BankUnited parquet to do battle once more with No. 23 North Carolina, the same team that last took down Miami in 2012. The Hurricanes blew an eight-point lead with less than six minutes to go in Chapel Hill on Jan. 2, losing a heartbreaker to the Heels 65-63.
If the Canes hope to avoid a similar result on Wednesday, they’ll need solid contributions from a frontcourt missing one of its brightest stars.
Reigning ACC Player of the Week Chay Shegog, who ranks second in the ACC with 16.8 points per game and seventh with 7.7 rebounds, wrought havoc on the Hurricanes frontcourt last time out, pacing North Carolina with 20 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Laura Broomfield leads the conference with a 9.9 rebound-per-game average, while junior swing player Krista Gross chips in over seven rebounds per game of her own.
The Canes were outrebounded 41-34 in their last tilt with the Heels, while the aforementioned trio combined for an impressive 18 boards. With the season-ending injury to All-ACC forward Morgan Stroman (eight rebounds against UNC), the post play of senior Sylvia Bullock (4.2 rebounds per game) and junior center Shawnice Wilson (4.9) has become pivotal to the Canes’ chances of late-season success.
So far, so good for the Canes without Stroman, who was lost before the team’s Jan. 23 matchup with Virginia Tech. Miami has outrebounded its opposition by a plus-44 margin over its last three games, and will need one of its best performances to date if they hope to outlast a vengeful Tar Heels squad that lost its last game to the rival No. 5 Duke Blue Devils by 40 points.