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20 January 2013

Miami rallies but falls short against UVA

Senior guard Stefanie Yderstrom weaves her way into the lane around GT defender Brittany Jackson during Thursday night’s game. Miami pulled away late in the second half and won 71-65. Nicholas Gangemi // Staff Photographer

The ACC has not been kind to Miami as of late.

After snapping a two-game losing streak against Georgia Tech on Thursday, the Hurricanes (13-5, 4-3 ACC) fell on the road against the Virginia Cavaliers 62-52 on Sunday afternoon.

The Hurricanes got back on the winning track Thursday night, defeating Georgia Tech 71-65 at the BankUnited Center.

Miami was coming off consecutive losses to Maryland and Florida State, falling by more than 20 points to both ranked opponents.

Playing without starting sophomore guard Michelle Woods, who was out with the flu, the Canes were led by center Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson. The 6-foot-6-inch senior set a career high with 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Wilson also made seven of her 10 free-throw attempts.

“I knew this game was important because we’re coming off a two-game losing streak,” she said. “And I think we had a great scout [report] for this game. The team was well-prepared and I knew … I needed to step up, especially when we’re down players. I just made sure that I was there for my team and did what I had to do to come out with a win.”

Coach Katie Meier said she told Wilson before the game that Miami was going to need a strong outing to fill the void left by Woods.

“Number one, she’s really confident – we’re really confident in her,” Meier said. “Number two, we liked the matchup inside for her and number three, we absolutely 100 percent needed her to have a career night for us to win.”

Miami also buckled down defensively on the Georgia Tech starters. The starting five for the Yellow Jackets combined for just 22 points on a meager 26.7 percent from the field.

Jackson’s play led to an enormous 43-3 bench scoring advantage for Georgia Tech.

“I was expecting a ton from our bench,” Meier said. “I didn’t feel like they performed to their level that they have in the past. This was the absolute wrong game to not perform at that level, and we’re going to put some pressure on them going into this road trip.”

Miami committed 13 first-half turnovers and Georgia Tech controlled much of the early action. The Yellow Jackets led 29-22 late in the first, but UM closed on an 8-2 run and trailed just 31-30 at halftime.

The Hurricanes opened the second session on a 20-11 run to take a 50-42 lead with 11:52 remaining. However, Georgia Tech did not go away. Jackson hit a jumper from beyond the arc to cap off a 13-4 run that put the Jackets up 55-54 with 7:30 remaining.

Senior Stefanie Yderstrom was a big contributor down the stretch for UM, totaling 18 points with four 3-pointers. Morgan Stroman added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Miami returns to the court Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on the road against Wake Forest.