@CanesWBB Meets No. 2/3 Irish in ACC Semis
No. 21/21 MiamiatNo. 3/3 Notre Dame
|Saturday, March 5, 2016 • 12 p.m. ET|
|Greensboro, N.C. • Greensboro Coliseum|
|Game Notes: Miami • Notre Dame|
Debbie Antonelli & Beth Mowins
|Social Media: Facebook • Twitter • Instagram|
The Hurricanes, ranked No. 21 in both The Associated Press Poll and the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, are set to face No. 2/3 Notre Dame Saturday in their second ACC Tournament semifinal appearance. Miami, the fifth seed in the field, and the Fighting Irish, seeded first, will square off at 12 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Notre Dame holds a 16-4 advantage in the all-time series against Miami and won the lone ACC Tournament matchup, picking up a 77-61 victory last season on March 6, 2015. In the regular season meeting, the Fighting Irish won 90-69 at home on Feb. 14, 2016. The Hurricanes are the only team to defeat Notre Dame in ACC regular season or ACC Tournament play in the Fighting Irish’s three seasons in the conference. Miami’s 78-63 home victory on Jan. 8, 2015, is the lone blemish on Notre Dame’s 54-1 record.
Eight Hurricanes are back from a team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15. That group includes a trio of starters who are now the team captains: junior guard Adrienne Motley, a Blue Ribbon Panel First Team All-ACC selection, junior guard Jessica Thomas and redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods.
One of the eight returnees is redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes, who missed last season due to an ankle injury after leading the team in rebounding in 2013-14. The Hurricanes also have a quartet of sophomores in forward/center Erykah Davenport, guard Nigia Greene (redshirt sophomore), forward Keyanna Harris and forward Khaila Prather.
Additionally, Miami has five new players in the fold this season in guard Laura Cornelius, forward/center Emese Hof, forward/center Zada Williams, guard/forward Shaneese Bailey and guard Neydja Petithomme. Bailey and Petithomme are sitting out this season as transfers from Florida Atlantic and Auburn, respectively.
Katie Meier, in her 11th season in Coral Gables, Fla., has led Miami to great heights during her tenure. Since 2009-10, the Wheaton, Ill., native has directed the program to its greatest six-year stretch ever, making the postseason in all six years, with four NCAA Tournament appearances. This season, Meier has already guided the Hurricanes to their sixth 20-win campaign in the past seven seasons.
Meier has guided Miami to 63 victories in ACC play since the start of the 2010-11 season, the second-most of any team in the conference. The 2010-11 AP National Coach of the Year is in her 15th season as a head coach, spending the first four at Charlotte, and owns a career record of 283-186, including 207-141 at Miami.
Notre Dame won the ACC regular season title with a perfect 16-0 record and is 29-1 overall in 2015-16. Sophomore forward Brianna Turner, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the team in a variety of categories, including scoring (14.1), rebounding (7.0), blocks (3.2) and field goal percentage (61.0). Graduate student guard Madison Cable (13.5), freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale (12.2) and freshman guard Marina Mabrey (11.0) all average in double figures, too. Turner, Cable and junior guard Lindsay Allen were all Blue Ribbon Panel First Team All-ACC selections. Notre Dame, led by ACC Coach of the Year Muffet McGraw, has made the Final Four each of the past five seasons.
Last Time Out
The Hurricanes took down No. 14/10 Florida State, the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament, in the quarterfinals Friday, earning a dominant 74-56 victory. Thomas scored a season-high 21 points and made a career-high five 3-pointers. Hof scored 15 points, while Hayes and Motley each added 13 for the Hurricanes. Miami outscored the Seminoles 37-19 in the second half, including 22-11 in the fourth period. The Hurricanes had a 34-22 edge in points in the paint and forced the Seminoles into 25 turnovers. The win was Miami’s first over a top-15 opponent since toppling Notre Dame last season.
If the Hurricanes defeat the Fighting Irish, they will play in the ACC Tournament championship game Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.