Ready to Rise to the Challenge
Miami hits the pavement for its second straight road game against a top-25 team, taking on the No. 23 Virginia Tech Hokies on Thursday at Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will air on Bally Sports with Evan Lepler and Tabitha Turner-Wilkins on the call. Fans can also listen to the game on WVUM 90.5.
The Hurricanes have been dominant in the series between Miami and Virginia Tech holding a 21-10 advantage, but the Hokies come out on top in each of the last four meetings. Miami’s last win in Blacksburg, Va., came on Jan. 28, 2018, an 82-78 victory.
Fourteen of the 31 games played between the two programs have been decided by single-digits, including six of the last 10.
The Hurricanes have been dominant on the road in ACC play this season, recording five victories away from the friendly confines of the Watsco Center. Miami is one of just four schools with five-plus ACC road wins, sitting among the ranks of No. 3 NC State, No. 4 Louisville and No. 23 Virginia Tech.
Miami has only lost four true road games this season, with three of the four coming against top-25 opponents (No. 8 Maryland, No. 24 North Carolina and No. 18 Notre Dame).
LAST TIME OUT
Miami tallied its fourth win in eight days on Sunday, downing the No. 16/18 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 51-39. In the eight day stretch, the Hurricanes went 4-0, beating all four opponents by double-digits and completing two season sweeps of Florida State and top-25 Georgia Tech.
Senior Karla Erjavec paced the Hurricanes on offense with 12 points in the game. Eight of her 12 points came in the second half as she was 3-of-4 from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Graduate student Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi joined Erjavec in double-figures at 10 points for her ninth double-digit outing of the season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Miami is hunting it second straight win over a top-25 team. The Hurricanes have not tallied back-to-back top-25 wins since the 2011-12 season.
- The Hurricanes are looking for their fifth straight ACC win, which would mark Miami’s longest ACC win streak since 2012.
- When holding its opponent under 60 points, Miami holds an 11-3 overall record
- The Hurricanes are one of just four ACC schools with five-plus ACC road wins. The other three schools are all ranked in the AP Top 25.
ACC All-Freshman Caliber Player
Freshman Ja’Leah Williams has solidified herself as one of the best freshmen in the conference, ranking in the top five among ACC freshmen in scoring (fifth – 7.7), rebounding (third – 4.4), assists (third – 2.2) and steals (first – 2.0). She is one of just two freshman (Sonia Citron – Notre Dame) to rank in the top five in all four statistical categories.
Williams has tallied eight double-digit outings this season and made 20 starts as a freshman. She ranks second on the Hurricanes in scoring (7.7) and third in rebounding (4.4). In ACC play, Williams is averaging 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds.
The Pompano Beach, Fla., native was named ACC Freshman of the week on Feb. 21 after averaging 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in Miami’s three wins this week. It was the first ACC weekly honor of Williams’ career and the second for the Hurricanes this season as fellow freshman Lashae Dwyer earned the same accolade in December.
The Hurricanes are rolling down the stretch, having posted four straight ACC wins over the last eight days. This streak matches Miami’s longest winning streak of the season and is the second-longest active win streak in the ACC. The Hurricanes have beat each of their last four opponents by double-figures, including season sweeps of in-state rival Florida State and top-25 Georgia Tech.
The Hurricanes have amped up their tournament resume over the last couple weeks, posting a 5-3 record in the month of February, including four straight wins. Miami is one of eight ACC teams with two wins over top-25 NET teams and has tallied seven wins over top-100 opponents. Five of the Hurricanes’ 10 losses have been single-digit defeats and Miami has taken three top-10 opponents down to the wire (No. 2 Louisville – 3 points, No. 4/6 Indiana – 2 points, No. 8 Maryland – 8 points).
Nineteen of the Hurricanes’ 26 games this season have come against top 100 NET teams as Miami has played the 29th toughest schedule in the nation. The Hurricanes are 9-10 in those 19 games, with four of the nine wins coming against top 60 NET teams.