WBB Falls at Virginia Tech, 73-65
By Alex Schwartz
BLACKSBURG, Va. – The University of Miami women’s basketball team dropped a 73-65 decision Thursday night to Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum.
Redshirt junior forward Beatrice Mompremier’s 18 points and 15 rebounds were not enough for No. 14 Miami (22-6, 10-3 ACC), as the Hokies rallied back from a 12-point second-quarter deficit.
“There’s no way we overlooked this team. We were so focused and we had prepared,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “A lot of the effort plays we make, weren’t there . . . Not our best game of the year, but not our worst. Virginia Tech deserved it.”
The Hurricanes led by as many as 10 points during an opening period in which it shot 50.0 percent (8-of-16) from the field and 83.3 percent (5-of-6) at the line. Virginia Tech (17-9, 4-9 ACC) scored five of the final seven points to make it 22-15 through 10 minutes of action.
Miami upped its edge as high as 12 early in the second frame, but the Hokies again closed strong. Virginia Tech scored the last six points of the half to trim a then-10-point lead to four, 35-31, at the intermission.
Mompremier tallied 13 points and eight rebounds in the first half for Miami. Meanwhile, redshirt senior forward Regan Magarity grabbed 11 boards for Virginia Tech, the most in a half by a Miami opponent in 2018-19.
The Hokies used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to even the score at 41 with 4:35 left in the session. However, sophomore guard Mykea Gray answered with back-to-back 3-pointers, her third and fourth of the frame. Miami got the first 12 of its 14 total points in the period from Gray and led by three, 49-46, with 10 minutes to go.
Virginia Tech took its first lead since it was 3-2 on a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Trinity Baptiste, making it 52-51 with 8:11 remaining. The Hurricanes came back to the score at 58 with 3:12 to play, but the Hokies outscored Miami by eight the rest of the way to earn the win.
“The third quarter was kind of a fog and the fourth quarter, we were trying to put the game away and that’s when Virginia Tech was better than Miami,” Meier said. “They played a better fourth quarter than Miami did. I told the team in the locker room, I liked our looks . . . [but] you could tell we were missing a little bit of our legs and our juice.”
Gray paced the Hurricanes with 20 points and set a career high with six made 3-pointers, finishing 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Mompremier’s double-double was her ACC-leading 20th of the season and it was the fourth time this season she grabbed at least 15 boards.
Redshirt junior guard Laura Cornelius posted 11 points for Miami, as did senior forward/center Emese Hof, who reached 1,144 in her career to pass Keyona Hayes and Cordelia Fulmore to move into the top 20 all-time at Miami. She also logged two blocks to reach 59 in 2018-19, taking sole possession of fifth place on the Hurricanes’ single-season list
Senior guard Taylor Emery led all scorers with 24 points for the Hokies and finished 10-of-10 from the free-throw line, as well as 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Aisha Shepard totaled a co-season-high 17 points and went 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, while Baptiste posted 16 points and notched a 10-of-12 mark from the stripe.
Magarity finished the game with 19 rebounds, the most by a Miami opponent this season and one shy of becoming the first player to log 20 against the Hurricanes in over 14 years.
As a team, the Hokies shot 45.2 percent (14-of-31) from 3-point range, including 5-of-9 (55.5 percent) in the final quarter. Their 14 makes were the second-most Miami has allowed this season, while their 21 made free throws–on 24 attempts–were the most by a Miami opponent in 2018-19.
“That’s a remarkable three-point performance by them,” Meier said. “There were [just a] couple shots that we weren’t guarding, but Magarity was taking care of all the rebounds. Their offensive rebounds led to a lot of kick-out threes.”
Miami, which led for 29 minutes and 37 seconds of action, tallied a 32-8 edge in points in the paint and conceded zero bench points. The Hurricanes’ last loss to Virginia Tech before Thursday night came on Jan. 24, 2010, snapping a streak of 15 straight victories.
Thursday’s outing was the third straight road contest for the Hurricanes, who were rerouted to Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Tenn., for their flight to the game Wednesday. Weather conditions at Roanoke Regional Airport caused the change and led to an additional two hours of travel time for Miami.
The Hurricanes now return home, where they host No. 22/20 Florida State Sunday at noon for their pink game at the Watsco Center, live on ESPN2.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– With the end of its 15-game winning streak in the series, Miami moved to 21-7 all-time against Virginia Tech.
– The Hurricanes’ 15 consecutive victories over the Hokies were good for the third-longest streak against any foe in program history and dated back to a win on Jan. 9, 2011.
– Five Hurricanes have combined for a total of 24 20-point performances across 22 of the Hurricanes’ 28 games thus far.
– Mompremier (20) and Hof (nine) extended their NCAA lead for combined double-doubles and now have 29 across 24 of the team’s 28 outings, while Cornelius has one of her own to give Miami 30 as a team.
– Hof eclipsed both 700 rebounds and 300 free-throw attempts at Miami, Mompremier surpassed 750 rebounds and reached 400 made field goals as a collegian, Gray moved past 100 made 3-pointers in her career, sophomore guard Kelsey Marshall eclipsed 1,250 minutes played as a Hurricane and sophomore guard Endia Banks reached 150 assists at Miami.