For the first time in nearly three years, the Miami women’s basketball team walked away from the BankUnited Center with a loss against a conference opponent.
UM led No. 11 North Carolina by five points with 30 seconds left on Sunday, but saw its lead evaporate down the stretch. A buzzer-beating baseline jumper from UNC sophomore Danielle Butts gave the Tar Heels a 64-62 victory and silenced a full Miami student section.
“Brittany Rountree, I saw her dribbling up the court, so initial reaction is, ‘get open,’” Butts said of the final play. “I was running the floor and then I was making sure I had good spacing and me and Brittany made eye contact and I knew that she was going to try to look for me. She gave a great pass and we already knew time, score, situation, so I just caught the ball and shot it.”
Hurricanes senior Morgan Stroman paced Miami from start to finish. She poured in a career-high 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 at the line, plus 13 rebounds.
“I just wanted to go out there and play a good game, I feel like I haven’t had one of those in a while,” Stroman said. “Not a good game like stats-wise, but knowing where I need to be at on the court and I felt like I was more alert this game and more focused on what I needed to do, which was box out and knowing where the ball was.”
Aside from Stroman’s big numbers, Miami had major struggles offensively. The rest of her teammates shot just 8-of-40 combined.
Standout guard Stefanie Yderstrom could not find her shot all afternoon, going 1-of-13 from the field for just six points. Coach Katie Meier, who tabbed this as one of the toughest losses of her career, spoke about the senior’s struggles.
“I don’t know [why she was off], I know they came after her quite a bit, but everyone’s been doing that all year,” Meier said. “And it wasn’t so much that she was missing shots, we can handle that. Shooters miss shots sometimes. It was more so her decision-making.”
After trailing 29-18 late in the first half, Miami outscored the Heels 28-14 over the next 12 minutes and got in position for a win.
The Hurricanes led 46-43 with 12:03 left and the teams played back-and-forth ball from there. It was 55 apiece with 1:15 to go when sophomore Suriya McGuire nailed a 3-pointer to put the Canes up by three.
Miami extended its lead to five, 61-56, with 32 ticks to go. Then UNC took advantage of turnovers and missed free throws from the Canes, evening the score at 62 with 12 seconds left on a pair of free throws by senior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who scored a team-high 19 points.
McGuire missed a layup for Miami at the other end, Rountree grabbed the board for UNC, dribbled up the floor and found Butts, who ended the game and sent UNC players streaming onto the court.
The loss drops Miami to 5-4 in the ACC.
The Canes currently stand in sixth place in the conference with nine games to go in the regular season.
Miami returns to the court on Thursday at 7 p.m. on the road at No. 4 Duke. All conference games can be heard live on 90.5 FM or on wvum.org.