@MiamiWBB Wins Thanksgiving Tournament Title
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After opening Friday’s semifinal game with a 10-0 run, the University of Miami began the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament championship with an 8-0 run Saturday and never looked back.
Redshirt senior forward Jassany Williams posted a double-double and the Hurricanes used a balanced scoring attack along with their usual stellar defense to take down Tulsa 69-57 and win the tournament.
“This was a very hard fought basketball game and we had a lot of respect for Tulsa,” UM head coach Katie Meier said. “They returned I think almost every player from their team last year, so they were really experienced, savvy. They can hurt you a lot of ways and they put up 87 points the night before. So, this defensive effort by us, holding them to 57—our goal was to keep them under 60—with the talent that they have, we’re really pleased.”
Miami (4-2) never trailed at any point in either of its games in the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament and the only time either contest was tied was before either team scored.
Jassany Williams and senior forward Necole Sterling both scored eight points in the first half alone, topping their prior highs for a full game this season. Sophomore guard Adrienne Motley had nine points at the break to help Miami to a 41-30 advantage.
The Hurricanes also dominated on the glass before the intermission, out-rebounding Tulsa (3-3) by a margin of 28-12. Miami had as many offensive rebounds as the Golden Hurricane had total.
Tulsa opened the second half on a 12-4 run to close to within three with 14:57 to go, but Miami immediately responded with a run of its own.
Sophomore guard Jessica Thomas hit a three-pointer, senior guard Suriya McGuire scored on a finger roll and Jassany Williams had a block that led to a transition bucket at the other end for redshirt junior Michelle Woods. Just like that Miami’s lead was up to 10, 52-42, with 12:29 remaining.
“Suriya McGuire did not practice this morning, did not participate in shootaround with flu-like symptoms and I was not sure until the game whether or not she would play,” Meier said of one of the key cogs in the run. “So, I thought her energy—when the game was on the line, I think Ray Ray just came up huge. Just extra effort plays, steals and tips and just stuff we needed from her.”
Adrienne Motley tied for a game-high with 17 points and pulled down five rebounds. The Newport News, Va. native was named the tournament MVP after averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and shooting 13-22 (59.1 percent) while committing just two turnovers in 48 minutes.
“She’s just so efficient,” Meier said of the standout sophomore. “She’s blessed to have Jessica Thomas and Michelle Woods so she doesn’t play 30 minutes of point guard the whole game and she can free herself up a little bit and get a blow while still in the game. I think Jessica and Chelley have done such a great job with threatening the rim that it frees up Motley a lot. So, it’s a nice little combination for our us and I’m really proud of our guards this whole tournament, they did a real nice job.”
Jassany Williams set season highs in points (12), rebounds (12) and minutes (30). The double-double was also her first of the season and second as a Hurricane. Suriya McGuire, Jessica Thomas and Necole Sterling all scored 10 points in the win.
“We need it and I’m so proud of her,” Meier said of Williams’ play. “She’s been great, she’s so coachable and been really kind of frustrated and she needed a game like this. She got it done on the defensive end to start and then late in the game we went straight to her. We called three or four plays for her and she came through on every single one of them.”
Junior guard Ashley Clark led Tulsa with 17 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Kelsey Grovey scored 11 and senior forward Mariah Turner had 10.
Miami will have four days away from action before playing against Wisconsin (1-4) Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
- For the fourth game in a row, Miami’s starting five consisted of Jessica Thomas, Nigia Greene, Laura Quevedo, Jassany Williams, and Adrienne Motley.
- For the fifth time in six games, all 11 healthy Hurricanes played.
- Of the 11 players who got on the court, nine scored.
- Suriya McGuire played in the 100th game of her college career and also reached 2,000 minutes played in her career.
- Adrienne Motley has scored over 15 points in all five of Miami’s home games and also made at least six field goals.
- Motley’s six free throw attempts and five makes were both season highs.
- Five Hurricanes scored in double figures.
- Miami out-rebounded Tulsa by a 50-28 margin.
- Jessica Thomas had a season-high four rebounds and also recorded her first block of the season.
- Michelle Woods also blocked her first shot of the season as well as had a season-high two steals.
- In addition to her season-high 10 points, Necole Sterling attempted her first five free throws of the 2014-15 campaign and made four of them. She also played a season-high 26 minutes.
- Along with her season highs in points, rebounds and minutes, Jassany Williams set new season top marks with nine field goal attempts and five makes.
- Khaila Prather recorded the first assist of her Miami career.
- In addition to Miami’s Adrienne Motley being named MVP, the all-tournament team also included Jassany Williams of Miami, Ashley Clark of Tulsa, Kristen Sharkey of Buffalo, and Taylor Stewart of Illinois State.