@MiamiWBB Downs Virginia in ACC Tournament

@MiamiWBB Downs Virginia in ACC Tournament

GREENSBORO, N.C. – After receiving a first round bye at the ACC Tournament, the University of Miami came out in style in round two, defeating Virginia by double digits to advance to the quarterfinals.

Sophomore guard Adrienne Motley led all scorers with 15 points and the eighth-seeded Hurricanes beat the ninth-seeded Cavaliers 62-52 Thursday afternoon.

“We talked about [how] there’s a difference between confidence and faith, and confidence just has the patience to it, and that’s what [it] was at the beginning of the game, we were confident but we didn’t have faith,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “ . . . And then I think we found our patience and executed our sets and simplified the game plan and gave the guards a little bit more power to make the calls that they believed in, that they had faith in.”

The first half was a back and forth affair, as neither team could gain much of an advantage. Virginia (17-13, 7-9 ACC) never led by more than two, while the Hurricanes’ largest lead was four points.

Miami shot 15-of-30 (50 percent) from the field in the opening session, while limiting the Cavaliers to 12-of-32 (37.5 percent) shooting from the floor. The Hurricanes also led 10-3 in bench points at the break, as senior forward Necole Sterling provided a huge spark for the Hurricanes.

Sterling shot 4-of-6 and hit a pair of threes to lead all scorers with 10 points at the intermission. Senior guard Suriya McGuire and Motley both had seven points in the first 20 minutes and each connected on a three-pointer.

Miami (19-11, 8-8 ACC) held the Cavaliers scoreless for the final 4:06 of the half and took a 34-30 edge into the locker room.

The seesaw action continued early in the second frame and Virginia freshman Mikayla Venson hit a three-pointer to put Virginia up by one, 40-39, with 13:28 left. Then the Miami defense took over.

The Hurricanes held the Cavaliers without a point for six minutes and also limited Virginia to one make over a stretch of 14 shots. Miami used its defensive intensity to go on a 10-0 run and take a 49-40 edge with 7:43 remaining.

“I thought Nigia Greene made huge hustle plays for us and some finishes right there that were tough and played with courage and she’s been an inspiration for us,” Meier said of the run. “The whole team sort of rallies around her when she makes plays like that.”

Even when Virginia scored 15 seconds later to end the run, sophomore guard Jessica Thomas countered with a three-pointer to give Miami its first double figure lead of the game, 52-42, with exactly 7:00 on the clock.

Once the Miami lead reached double digits, Virginia was unable to respond and Miami continued on for a 62-52 victory.

Sterling finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) shooting, while her classmates came up big as well. Redshirt senior Jassany Williams had eight points, tied for the game high with eight rebounds and led all players with five blocks, while McGuire had nine points and six rebounds in the win.

“My seniors, I got a little emotional in the locker room right now because their senior night didn’t go the way any of us wanted it to go, but in our postgame senior celebration, just beautiful, powerful things were said,” Meier said. “And so I told them that this was their senior night because I don’t think the three of them collectively have played their guts out like they did tonight. So this is their senior night.”

Sophomoreguard Breyana Mason paced the Cavaliers with 13 points. Miami held junior guard Faith Randolph, the ACC’s fifth leading scorer, to six points on 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) shooting. The Hurricanes also limited senior center Sarah Imovbioh, who averages a double-double, to six points and seven rebounds.

 The Hurricanes will take on second-ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame Friday at 2:00 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. The Fighting Irish are 34-1 in ACC regular season and ACC Tournament games since joining the conference last season, with the lone loss coming to Miami this year.


  • For the seventh time in the last eight games, Miami’s starting five consisted of Suriya McGuire, Adrienne Motley, Jessica Thomas, Jassany Williams, and Michelle Woods.
  • Miami has won six of the past seven meetings against the Cavaliers and now trails the all-time series 8-7. This is the first time Miami and Virginia have met in the ACC Tournament.
  • Katie Meier is now 258-177 in her 14 seasons as a head coach.
  • Meier moves to 182-132 in her 10 seasons at Miami.
  • This is the fourth ACC Tournament victory in program history.
  • The Hurricanes held Virginia scoreless for over four consecutive minutes multiple times in the game.
  • Miami did not allow a single fast break point all game.
  • Adrienne Motley scored double digits for the 27th time in 30 games this season and had 14-plus for the 24th time this season.
  • Motley also eclipsed 250 rebounds in her career in the game.
  • Jassany Williams recorded four-plus blocks for the seventh time this season and had five blocks for the second straight game.
  • Additionally, Williams surpassed 550 points as a collegian.
  • Jessica Thomas went over 400 points in her career as a Hurricane.
  • Thomas also recorded five-plus rebounds for the third time in the last four games, after previously having five-plus just twice her entire career.
  • Necole Sterling reached 150 rebounds in her two years at Miami.