@MiamiWBB Pulls Off Comeback Win vs. Ga. Tech
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami staged a tremendous comeback to defeat Georgia Tech Sunday at the BankUnited Center, battling back from a 10-point deficit with fewer than four and a half minutes to go.
The Hurricanes closed the game on a 15-0 run over the final 4:17 to pick up a 64-59 victory and remain undefeated at home in ACC play.
“The seniors did special things and if they want this season to be as special as I think it can be, they need to step up and win the game like that,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “The veterans, Chelley [Woods] and the three seniors, were amazing.”
Sophomore guard Adrienne Motley had a superb game and paced all scorers with 18 points, including nine in the first nine minutes, but it was Miami’s upperclassmen who made the biggest plays down the stretch.
Georgia Tech went on a 10-0 run to take a 59-49 lead with 4:46 to go, but 29 seconds later a pair of free throws by senior forward Necole Sterling began the Hurricanes’ charge to victory.
Redshirt junior Michelle Woods knocked down a three-pointer to slice Miami’s deficit down to five with 3:56 to go. Woods then drained a pair of free throws and Motley followed that by making one of two from the line two make it a two-point game with 2:20 left.
A steal by freshman forward Erykah Davenport with 1:50 remaining gave the Hurricanes a chance to tie the game or take the lead. They did the latter.
Miami missed a three-pointer, but it went out of bounds off a Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-8 ACC) player. Another Miami miss was rebounded by Davenport to keep the possession alive and Meier called timeout and subbed in redshirt senior Jassany Williams, who would change the game.
The Davie, Fla. native came in, grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds and then found Woods, who buried a three-pointer to give Miami the lead with 33 seconds to play.
Williams then blocked a shot at the other end, which led to Woods being fouled and she calmly hit both shots to put Miami up by three with 11.1 ticks left.
Back on defense, senior forward Suriya McGuire got in the passing and tipped the ball off a Yellow Jacket and out of bounds with one second left. Sterling then added two more free throws to ice the game and give Miami a 64-59 win.
“Chelley was really one of the few people that I saw on her face that she was not rattled by the deficit. She was a little bit frustrated, but she was encouraging. She was trying to uplift her team,” Meier said. “The first three was all her and the second three was off of Jazz’s heroic rebounding effort. So, it just came time. Ray Ray wasn’t having her best game, but in the end she gets this monster tip and gets us possession to where we can seal the game off.”
Woods finished with 13 points, shot 3-of-5 from three-point range and made all four of her free throw attempts. She also tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
Redshirt freshman guard Nigia Greene had one of the best games of her Miami career against her hometown school, as the Atlanta native scored 11 points, matched a career best with three steals and finished at plus-16 in the plus-minus column, the only player on either team in double digits.
“The first half it was her offense and then in the second half they weren’t giving her clean looks, but defensively [she made plays],” Meier said. “. . . So, I was proud of Gia because she did whatever the team needed. We needed her to score in the first half and we needed defensive stops from her in the second half.”
For Georgia Tech, sophomore guard Kaela Davis and freshman forward Zaire O’Neill both had 13 points, while junior forward Roddreka Rogers added 10.
Miami held Davis, the Yellow Jackets’ leading scorer, and junior guard/forward Aaliyah Whiteside, their third leading scorer, to a combined 8-of-26 (30.8 percent) shooting from the field.
The Hurricanes wore pink jerseys as a part of Sunday’s Play 4Kay game, which many schools across the country do this week. The series of games is named for Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow, who passed away of breast cancer in 2009.
“My favorite quote from Coach Yow was, ‘When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.’ And I said, ‘We’re going to get kicked around a little bit tonight, just remind yourselves to just get kicked forward and operate in a lot of positivity,’” Meier said. “And I thought that, that was really crucial because there was plenty of reason to lose faith tonight, plenty of reason, but there’s just bigger things that happen in the world so we we’re going to just give it our best effort.”
Miami returns to action Thursday when the Hurricanes face NC State on the road. The game is set for 7:00 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
- Miami’s starting five consisted of Suriya McGuire, Adrienne Motley, Jessica Thomas, Jassany Williams, and Michelle Woods. This was the third straight game with that quintet in the starting lineup.
- Georgia Tech now has a 13-12 lead in the all-time series against the Hurricanes, but Miami has won five of the last seven meetings.
- Katie Meier moves to 257-173 in her 14 seasons as a head coach.
- Meier now has a 181-128 record in her 10 years at Miami.
- Miami held Georgia Tech without a point for the final 4:45 of the game.
- The Hurricanes move to 15-1 at home this season, including 6-0 in ACC play. They have not lost an ACC home game in nearly a year (Feb. 20, 2014 vs. Syracuse).
- Miami has allowed under 60 points in five of its six ACC home games and the most it has allowed at home in ACC play is 63 points.
- The Hurricanes forced Georgia Tech into 23 turnovers and outscored the Yellow Jackets 21-4 in points off turnovers.
- In the first half, Miami shot 5-of-9 (55.5 percent) from three-point range and 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) from the free throw line and led 36-35 at the break.
- In the first half, the Hurricanes held Georgia Tech’s leading scorer, Kaela Davis, and third leading scorer, Aaliyah Whiteside, to a combined 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) shooting from the floor.
- Adrienne Motley scored 14-plus points for the 20th time this season and 16-plus for the 17th time. The sophomore has scored eight-plus points in 24 of Miami’s 25 games and double digits in 22 of them.
- Motley surpassed 750 career points in the game and matched a career high with 37 minutes played (previous at Florida State, 2/8/15).
- Michelle Woods scored in double figures for the sixth time in the last nine games after doing so three times in the first 16 of the season.
- Woods has led or co-led the team in rebounding three of the last four games, with six-plus boards in each of the three. She had six-plus rebounds twice in the first 21 games.
- Nigia Greene scored 11 points in the first half to set a career high in the opening frame (previous eight vs. Florida A&M, 12/28/14). She had only scored more in any half once (13 in the second half vs. Illinois State, 11/28/14).
- Greene’s 11 points gave her 150 in her career and her three steals equaled her career best (previously done multiple times, most recently vs. Florida A&M, 12/28/14).
- Additionally, Nigia Greene set career highs in free throws made (three) and attempted (four). Her prior best was two in both categories (previously done multiple times, most recently at Virginia Tech, 1/11/14).
- Necole Sterling also set career highs in free throws made (six) and attempted (seven). Her prior bests were four makes and five attempts, both in the same game (vs. Tulsa, 11/29/14).