@MiamiWBB's Rally Falls Short at Tulane
NEW ORLEANS – Playing its second game in as many days, the University of Miami could not muster quite enough to defeat a talented Tulane team playing on its home court Friday night.
The Hurricanes lost 70-65 to the Green Wave in the finale of the Tulane/DoubleTree Classic at Devlin Fieldhouse in a what was very much a back and forth contest.
“I think a lot of people come to Tulane and then they play Tulane and they think, ‘Well, we had an off night’ or ‘We played sloppy’ or ‘We didn’t take care of the ball.’ I unfortunately have experienced enough of Lisa Stockton’s coaching to know that that’s their system,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said, speaking about a coach who she worked with at Tulane for seven years. “You cannot just blame it on your team. You have to give all the credit to Tulane, you have to give credit to their absolute physicality and mental toughness of their kids.”
Tulane (9-1) opened the game with an 8-4 lead, but Miami (8-3) then scored the next nine points and held the Green Wave scoreless for over six minutes.
After falling behind by five, Tulane rattled off 10 straight points of its own and the Green Wave would go on to take a 27-16 lead behind what would become a 19-3 run.
Despite falling behind by double figures, the Hurricanes would not cave. Miami scored the next nine points and closed the half on a 12-2 run, including a pair of three-pointers by sophomore guard Adrienne Motley. The Hurricanes trailed 29-28 at the break.
The seesaw battle continued in the second half, as Tulane opened the final 20 minutes by scoring 19 of the first 25 points to take a 14-point lead, 48-34, with 13:30 remaining.
Once again, Miami found a way to answer the Green Wave and mounted quick run of its own to get right back in the game. The Hurricanes scored 10 consecutive points in a span of just over two minutes, capped by a pair of three-pointers by senior forward Necole Sterling.
The second shot from long range by Sterling made it 48-44 with the clock showing 11:25. The Hurricanes continued to chip away and had it down to a two-point deficit, 50-48, with 9:17 to go.
“We’re always going to play hard,” Meier said of the way her team battled back. “Ray [McGuire] was really hurting, Motley was a little bit dizzy and I told her, ‘Don’t lie, if you can’t come back in, don’t come back in.’ But she did [come back]. It was a physical game.”
Tulane then built its lead back up and had a 60-51 advantage with 2:23 to go, but even then the Hurricanes would not concede. Miami went on an 11-4 run, including a pair of three-pointers by Sterling and another shot from long range by Motley that made it 65-62 with 36.9 seconds left. Miami could not quite break even though, and Tulane finished it out for a 70-65 win.
Necole Sterling was huge for Miami, despite the final outcome. She had a career-high 20 points to lead all scorers and made a career-high four three-pointers on just five attempts. Sterling also set season highs with six rebounds and 27 minutes played.
Adrienne Motley had 17 points and redshirt senior forward Jassany Williams nearly posted a double-double, with 12 points and nine rebounds. Motley was named MVP of the Tulane/DoubleTree Classic and Williams was selected to the all-tournament team.
“I thought my seniors had a heck of a tournament,” Meier said. I’m so proud of Necole and Jazz and Ray Ray. They had a heck of a tournament. They led, they cared.”
Freshman guard Kolby Morgan led Tulane with 18 points and made all eight of her free throw attempts. She was the lone member of the Green Wave to reach double digits. Senior forward Tiffany Dale had nine points.
“This particular team, we’re disappointed, but we came into a very hostile environment, beat a terrific UCLA team [Thursday night] and then went toe to toe with a team that’s won a ton of games in this arena,” Meier said.
Miami will have eight days off before its next game, which is Sunday, Dec. 28 at 1:00 p.m. against Florida A&M at the BankUnited Center. The game will be the opener of the Miami Holiday Tournament and the Hurricanes will then play either LSU or UNC-Greensboro the following day.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
- For the fifth consecutive game, Miami’s starting five consisted of Suriya McGuire, Adrienne Motley, Laura Quevedo, Jessica Thomas, and Jassany Williams.
- Katie Meier is now 247-169 in 14 years as a head coach. She is three victories away from 250 in her career.
- Coach Meier’s record in 10 years at Miami moves to 172-123.
- Additionally, Meier is now 3-2 in five meetings against Lisa Stockton, who she was an assistant or associate head coach for at Tulane for seven years. The first four games came when Meier was the head coach at Charlotte.
- The all-time series between Miami and Tulane is now 3-1 in favor of the Green Wave.
- For the ninth time in 11 games, all 11 healthy Hurricanes played.
- Both teams went on runs of at least 9-0 in the first half and Miami actually went on two such runs in the first frame.
- Jessica Thomas’ layup with 4:46 left in the first half put her over 250 points scored in her college career.
- Thomas also set a career high with four steals in the game.
- Michelle Woods set a season high with three steals.
- All of Necole Sterling’s career-high four made three-pointers came in the second half, and they came in two separate spans of under 50 seconds each.
- In addition to her other career and season bests, Necole Sterling also made a career-high eight field goals (previous seven vs. Pittsburgh, 3/2/14) and a played a season-high 27 minutes (previous 26 vs. Tulsa, 11/29/14).
- Sterling also surpassed 200 points as a Miami Hurricane.
- Suriya McGuire‘s five assists were a season high (previous three at Middle Tennessee, 11/17/14).
- Erykah Davenport recorded multiple steals for the first time in her college career.
- Jassany Williams set season highs in free throws made (four) and attempted (six), with the four makes matching a career high (previous vs. Yale, 11/25/13).
- Adrienne Motley scored double figures for the 10th time in eleven games and had 16-plus for the ninth time.
- Motley set a career high with six three-point field goal attempts and matched a career high with three made three-pointers (previous vs. New Mexico, 12/29/13). Motley’s 33 minutes played also matched a season high (previous vs. Oakland, 11/14/14).
- This was Adrienne Motley‘s second tournament MVP honor of the season, as she also received the award after the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament.
- Jassany Williams was named to an all-tournament for the second time this season, as she also was honoted after the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament.