@CanesWBB Fall Just Short vs. No. 4/4 Baylor
#4 Baylor8881#23/21 Miami
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WINTER PARK, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season Saturday night, falling 88-81 to fourth-ranked Baylor at Warden Arena on the campus of Rollins College.
In a frenetic game from start to finish, No. 23/21 Miami (10-1) was led by a season-high-tying 24 points by junior guard Adrienne Motley, who connected on a career-high five 3-pointers in the Florida Sunshine Classic opener.
“It’s not unexpected,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said of the way her team performed.” I feel like we’re a really special team and we can solve a lot of problems, but obviously the one that we didn’t solve was the rebounding. I’m not the only coach who [after a game against] Baylor is saying, ‘I wish we would’ve done a better job on the boards.’ Everyone they play this year is going to say that.We are who we are, they are who they are. Their identity won it in the end, but given a chance to play again, these two teams are pretty evenly matched based on our strengths versus our weaknesses.”
The Hurricanes and Lady Bears went back-and-forth to open the game before Miami started to get hot offensively and clamp down at the other. A 7-0 run in under a minute, capped by a 3-pointer by Motley, made it 18-11 Hurricanes with 3:04 left in the first period.
Miami held Baylor (12-0) to two makes on its final 12 attempts of the quarter and had a 23-16 advantage through 10 minutes behind seven points from redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes.
The Lady Bears’ offense picked up in the second quarter, as they more than doubled their score in the first five minutes of the frame, grabbing a 33-31 lead with 5:10 on the clock. However, Miami stormed right back and a 3-pointer by Motley put the Hurricanes in front by four, 41-37, with 3:01 to go before the break.
Baylor would go on to take a one-point edge into the intermission, as freshman center Kalani Brown scored on a putback basket with two seconds on the clock, making it 45-44. Miami, paced by 11 points from Motley, shot 16-of-30 (53.5 percent) in the opening 20 minutes.
The Lady Bears, behind All-American junior forward Nina Davis’ 15 points, was also superb from the field, connecting on 20-of-43 (46.5 percent) attempts. The Hurricanes held senior guard Niya Johnson, the nation’s leader in assists, without an assist before the break.
The fast-paced, back-and-forth action continued in the third period. Motley scored eight points in the frame for Miami, as did Baylor redshirt junior guard Alexis Jones and junior center Kristina Higgins, who hit a jump shot at the buzzer to make it 67-62 Lady Bears through 30 minutes.
The Hurricanes closed to within three points with 4:46 to play in the game after a 3-pointer by Motley made it 75-72. Baylor then went on a 9-2 run to go up by double digits for the first time all night, 84-74, with 1:55 left.
Miami would not relent, as junior guard Jessica Thomas scored five-straight points to make it 84-79 with 49.7 seconds left. However, the Hurricanes could not pull any closer and the Lady Bears held on for the seven-point victory.
Along with Motley’s 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting (56.3 percent), Thomas added a season-high 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting (50 percent) and matched her season best with six assists. Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods chipped in 10 points in the narrow defeat.
“Our guards were going to have a score a lot, we knew that going in,” Meier said of her starting backcourt logging 52 points. “So, it was exactly to the game plan there. We’ve got to hit our free throw and we’ve got to get five more defensive rebounds and we win that game, but I’d play it again tomorrow. It was a lot of fun.”
Baylor’s Davis led all scorers with 25 points, while Jones had 24 for the Lady Bears. Higgins posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Miami held Johnson to just four assists on the evening.
The Hurricanes will conclude play in the Florida Sunshine Classic Sunday night at 7:15 p.m. against Indiana.
To learn more about University of Miami women’s basketball, follow @CanesWBB.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
· As has been the case in all 11 games this season, Miami’s starting lineup was Erykah Davenport, Hayes, Motley, Thomas and Woods.
· The all-time series between the Hurricanes and Lady Bears is now even at 1-1.
· Meier is now 269-180 in her 15 seasons as a head coach, including 193-135 in her 11 years at Miami.
· The Hurricanes and Lady Bears entered the day as just two of the 13 remaining undefeated teams in Division I.
· The 45 points Baylor scored in the first half were the most by a Miami opponent in a half this season (previous high 39, Charlotte, 11/23/15).
· The Hurricanes shot 7-of-12 from 3-point range (58.3 percent) in the first half, while Baylor was 0-for-4.
· Baylor’s Niya Johnson, the national leader in assists per game this season (10.7) and the leader last year (8.9), did not record her first of the game until there was 4:31 left in the third period.
· This was just the second time in 12 games this season Baylor won by fewer than 12 points. Additionally, of Baylor’s 184 wins since 2010-11, this was just the 26th by single digits.
· Miami shot 11-of-22 from 3-point range, with the 11 makes the team’s second-most this season and the 50 percent clip its second best of the year.
· The Hurricanes’ first points of the night came off a 3-pointer by Hayes, her first make from beyond the arc this season.
· Miami has scored 70-plus points in nine of its 11 games in 2015-16 and has now scored 80-plus in consecutive outings.
· Motley has scored over a dozen points nine times in 11 games this season, with 17-plus in seven. This was the 16th time in her career she recorded 20-plus points.
· Motley passed Yalonda McCormick for No. 19 on the program’s all-time scoring list. She now has 1,084 points in her career.
· Additionally, Motley’s five 3-pointers topped her previous high of four (at Wake Forest, 2/26/15) and her 24 points matched her season best (vs. Illinois, 12/2/15).
· Motley also eclipsed 2,250 minutes played as a Hurricane.
· Thomas’ 18 points surpassed her prior season high of 17 (at Loyola Chicago, 11/21/15).
· In addition, Thomas six assists equaled a season best (previous vs. Milwaukee, 11/27/15), as did her three made 3-pointers (previous vs. Wright State, 11/13/15). Her seven made field goals also matched her season high (previously recorded multiple times, most recently at Loyola Chicago, 11/21/15).
· Thomas also logged double-digit points for the seventh time this season, including the fourth time in the last five contests.
· Laura Cornelius surpassed 50 points in her collegiate career.
· Woods scored double figures for the fourth time this season and first since 11/29/15 vs. La Salle. Additionally, her 34 minutes played was a season high (previous 31, vs. Wright State, 11/13/15).
· Woods also eclipsed 600 field goal attempts in her collegiate career.
· Emese Hof matched her career highs with four free throw attempts (previously recorded multiple times, most recently vs. Coppin State, 12/4/15).
· Hof also tied her career best with two blocks (previously recorded multiple times, most recently vs. UMass Lowell, 12/6/15).