Not once but twice the No. 19 Georgia Tech Yellows have stung the Miami Hurricane basketball team this season.
This time, the Yellow Jackets (21-7, 7-5) came in the BankUnited Center on Sunday and defeated the Hurricanes (16-11, 3-9), 77-73.
The Hurricanes found themselves down by nine with less then three minutes remaining and fought back but fell short.
“It was a heck of a comeback,” head coach Katie Meier said. “We found ourselves down. It was discouraging. It was a heck of an effort from my team. Many teams would have thought they were dead in the water, down nine.”
The Canes tied the game at 73 when sophomore guard Shenise Johnson nailed two free throws with 49 seconds remaining. But two free throws by Australian senior Brigitte Ardossi gave Georgia Tech the lead for good.
On the following possession, a turnover by freshman Stefanie Yderström sealed the victory for the Yellow Jackets.
The Hurricanes had hope of tying or winning the game on their final possession but they couldn’t get off a single shot.
“It comes down to lack of execution on our last possession on our half,” Meier said about the last possession. “I was really disappointed on what we wanted and we missed it. It was for Shenise. In the end we have to get her the ball.”
Johnson showed why she is an All-American candidate as she dropped 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting in 39 minutes of action.
In her second game off the bench, sophomore guard Riquna Williams scored 15 straight points for the Canes but struggled in the second half with three points. Williams finished with 18 points on 6-for-14 from the floor but was 2-for-5 from the free throw line.
For nearly 10 minutes, the Canes were held without a field goal and they found having to battle uphill again. During that time, Georgia Tech went on a 19-5 run.
“We lost our focus. We hit a wall,” Meier said. “I had to call a timeout just to wake us up. We were not ourselves there and we had no energy at all.”
Earlier this season, Georgia Tech defeated the Hurricanes, 80-73 in overtime. Ardossi scored 29 points and had 17 rebounds in that win and on Sunday she had 27 points.
The Hurricanes have two remaining games. They will face a dominating Florida State next, a team that the Canes defeated earlier this season. Miami will end the regular season at home this Sunday against Boston College.
Miami only has three ACC wins. The Hurricanes need to win their last two games and a few games in the ACC Tournament just to be considered a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament.
Meier is banking on fortune to return back to her team.
“I don’t want to say this team has had hard luck,” Meier said. “Obviously we haven’t had fortune go our way a lot. We have to generate a new attitude. We still [have] a chance.”
The Canes face No. 10 Florida State on Thursday night at 7 p.m. That game can be heard on 90.5 FM or wvum.org.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at email@example.com.