WBB Tops Wake Forest, 68-60, in ACC Tournament Opener
By Alex Schwartz
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The University of Miami women’s basketball team started postseason play with a 68-60 victory over Wake Forest Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
Using a balanced offensive attack, sixth-seeded Miami (21-9, 10-6 ACC) trailed for under 30 seconds against the No. 11-seeded Demon Deacons, increasing its streak to four straight years with at least one ACC Tournament win.
“It was a battle, as we expected. Trying to put a game plan together against Wake Forest, the way that they have been playing, is frightening,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “They are very talented. They are smart. We kept trying to just break their rhythm and they got in a rhythm there. They . . . played their guts out. They are really, really good.”
The Hurricanes made their first four shots of the game, en route to a 12-0 lead through the first four-and-a-half minutes. Wake Forest (14-17, 5-11 ACC) outscored Miami, 9-4, the rest of the quarter and the score sat at 16-9 through 10 minutes.
After a high-scoring second period in which Miami upped its lead by a point, the Hurricanes took a 37-29 advantage into the intermission.
Miami, which shot 50.0 percent (15-of-30) prior to the break, got over half its points from junior forward/center Emese Hof and freshman guard Mykea Gray, who had nine apiece. Meanwhile, over half of the Demon Deacons’ points came from sophomore guard Alex Sharp, who notched 15 before entering the locker room.
The Hurricanes held Wake Forest without a point for the first four minutes of the third frame, but the Demon Deacons used a 5-0 run to close the period to cut their deficit to seven, 47-40, with 10 minutes left.
Wake Forest used a 7-0 run in the final session to take its first and only edge of the evening, 58-57, with 2:54 to play. A basket by Hof just 29 seconds later gave Miami a lead it would not relinquish. Freshman guard Endia Banks’ jumper to beat the shot clock with 19.2 seconds remaining made it a four-point lead and sealed the win.
After falling behind for the first time, Miami did not concede another basket for the remainder of the game.
Senior forward/center Erykah Davenport paced the Hurricanes with 16 points and a game-best five steals, tied for second-most in ACC Tournament play by a Hurricane, while Hof finished with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Senior forward Keyanna Harris turned in one of her best outings as a collegian, recording 13 points, five rebounds and a career-high eight assists, six of which were in the first half, to set a new program ACC Tournament single-game record. She had five more assists than any other player and also set career highs in free throws made (seven) and attempted (eight).
“I think my upperclassmen—Keke, Mese and Erykah—really just took care of business for us. Keke had a really, really special night,” Meier said. “The freshmen hit some big shots, but the reason we won is that the upperclassmen with the experience and with the veteran’s mentality [got it done]. We never got rattled when they took the lead and they made the big plays for us.”
Miami held Sharp to 0-of-5 shooting in the second half and she finished with 17 points. Junior forward Elisa Penna matched Sharp’s output, but went 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from the field, including 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) from 3-point range.
Both teams excelled from the free-throw line, as the Hurricanes went 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) and the Demon Deacons shot 9-of-9. Harris finished 7-of-8 to tie second in percentage (.875), tie for third in makes and tie for fourth in attempts on Miami’s individual ACC Tournament leaderboard.
Miami will now take on third-seeded Florida State, ranked No. 11/11, Friday at 8 p.m., on RSN, marking the third year in a row the in-state foes will meet in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
To keep up with the University of Miami women’s basketball team on social media, follow @CanesWBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes improved to 11-9 in their all-time series with the Demon Deacons, as well as moved to 1-2 in ACC Tournament play.
– Miami upped its all-time ACC Tournament record to 9-13, including 6-3 since 2015, 1-1 as the sixth seed, 6-4 as the higher seed, 9-9 as a single-digit seed and 5-1 versus double-digit seeds.
– The Hurricanes have now won greater than 20 games for the seventh time in their past nine campaigns.
– With her first rebound of the game, Davenport moved past Hope Butler for sole possession of No. 10 on Miami’s all-time list.
– Davenport became the 10th player to surpass 700 rebounds at Miami and also reached 900 points, Hof eclipsed 700 points as a Hurricane, Gray eclipsed 100 free-throw attempts and reached 50 rebounds in her career, while redshirt senior guard/forward Shaneese Bailey moved past 350 made field goals as a collegian.