@CanesWBB Falls in ACC Semis to No. 2/3 Irish
No. 21/21 Miami6778No. 2/3 Notre Dame
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|Game Notes||Press Conference|
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – A valiant effort against one of the nation’s finest programs came up short for the University of Miami women’s basketball team Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. The No. 21/21 Hurricanes fell 78-67 to No. 2/3 Notre Dame at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Fifth-seeded Miami (24-8, 10-6 ACC) led four minutes into the third period, but the top-seeded Fighting Irish charged back down the stretch for the win. Junior guard Jessica Thomas led the Hurricanes with a co-game-high 17 points and she tied her career high, set just a day earlier, with five 3-pointers made.
“I think we answered all the doubts,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said of her team’s showing in the ACC Tournament. “Do we have electric, exciting players, too? Yeah. And can we be a giant killer, which we’ve always had that reputation.”
In the first two minutes and 45 seconds, the Hurricanes made four of five 3-pointers, including two by junior guard Adrienne Motley, helping them build an early 12-8 lead.
Notre Dame (30-1, 16-0 ACC), buoyed by 11-of-14 shooting at the free throw line in the opening period, led 23-19 through 10 minutes despite Miami connecting on 5-of-9 shots from beyond the arc.
The Hurricanes’ hot shooting from 3-point range continued in the second period and Miami outscored the Fighting Irish by three, 19-16, in the session. Overall, the Hurricanes went 8-of-16 (50.0 percent) from long range before the break, with the eight makes matching their second-most in a half this season. Thomas alone went 4-of-5 from deep in the first 20 minutes.
Led by 13 points from sophomore forward Brianna Turner, a two-time Blue Ribbon Panel First Team All-ACC selection, Notre Dame went into the locker room up by a point, 39-38.
Down by four early in the second half, Miami went on a 7-0 run, capped by seven-straight points by sophomore forward/center Erykah Davenport, to grab a 47-44 edge with 6:23 on the third period clock.
A strong close to the period by the Fighting Irish helped them tie their then-largest lead of the game, eight points, entering the final stanza, 59-51.
Notre Dame pulled away in the fourth period en route to the victory, clinching their third berth in the ACC Tournament championship in as many years in the conference.
Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods posted 13 points, while Motley, a Blue Ribbon Panel First Team All-ACC honoree, added 10 for the Hurricanes. Thomas, in a career-high 39 minutes, had five assists to pace Miami and tied for the game lead with three steals.
“I’m awful proud,” Meier said. “I really, really am very deeply moved by the effort my team gave today, in adversity and with role players having to play big minutes in a game like that. Foul trouble just completely handcuffed us in the first half, and I thought we did a fantastic job of overcoming it and staying focused.”
Turner led the Fighting Irish with 17 points and nine rebounds, while graduate student guard Madison Cable and junior guard Lindsay Allen, both Blue Ribbon Panel First Team All-ACC selections, each scored 14. Sophomore forward Kathryn Westbeld chipped in with 10 points for Notre Dame.
Both teams had 30 points in the paint, 14 bench points and 13 assists in the game.
Miami will now await its postseason destination. The Hurricanes are seeking their seventh-straight postseason appearance and fifth NCAA Tournament trip in the last six years.
For more information on the University of Miami women’s basketball team, follow @CanesWBB.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
· For the 18th time in 2015-16 and the fourth game in a row, Miami’s starting lineup was Davenport, Keyona Hayes, Motley, Thomas and Woods.
· The all-time series between Miami and Notre Dame is now 17-4 in favor of the Fighting Irish. In conference tournament play, Notre Dame has a 3-0 edge (2-0 in the ACC Tournament, 1-0 in the BIG EAST Tournament).
· Meier is now 283-187 in her 15 seasons as a head coach, including 207-142 in her 11 years at Miami.
· The Hurricanes are now 6-12 all-time in ACC Tournament play, including 2-8 as the lower seed and 3-2 as the No. 5 seed.
· Miami was the only team not seeded in the top four to make the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
· This was the second ACC Tournament semifinal appearance in program history.
· Miami’s first five made field goals of the game were 3-pointers.
· The Hurricanes’ eight 3-pointers in the first half matched their second-most in a half this season.
· Thomas tallied at least four assists for the 18th time in 2015-16 and had five-plus for the 10th time.
· Thomas scored in double figures for the 22nd time this season. She has scored fewer than nine points on just six occasions.
· Thomas connected on five 3-pointers for the second day in a row. She had never made five 3-pointers in a game in her first 94 career outings.
· Thomas’ 39 minutes played eclipsed her prior career best of 38 (recorded multiple times, most recently vs. Florida State, 3/4/16).
· In the ACC Tournament as a whole, Thomas shot 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) from 3-point range, including 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) in the final two game, against No. 14/10 Florida State and No. 2/3 Notre Dame.
· Motley became the 12th player in program history to reach 1,400 career points.
· Motley has scored in double figures in 27 of 32 games this season.
· Woods tied Suriya McGuire and Stefanie Yderstrom for fourth place on Miami’s all-time appearances list with 127 games played.
· Woods scored in double figures for the ninth time this season. It is second time in the ACC Tournament she has reached 10-plus points.
· In addition, Woods made a season-best four free throws (previous high three, recorded multiple times, most recently vs. Florida State, 3/4/16).
· Hayes shot 16-of-21 (76.2 percent) from the field in the ACC Tournament this season, with 36 points. She was 2-of-3 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 at the free throw line.
· Hayes, who reached 800 points as a collegian, has connected on a 3-pointer in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
· Keyanna Harris recorded multiple blocked shots for the first time in her career.