The No. 21 Hurricanes defeated ACC foe Wake Forest, 71-60, at the BankUnited Center on Thursday night. Redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes led the Canes to victory, matching her career-high of 22 points. Hayes, who also grabbed six rebounds, was an efficient scorer, as she shot 80 percent (8-of-10) from the field, which is a mark much higher than her season average of 50.4 percent.
“Without an unbelievable game by Keyona Hayes, which was unbelievable, I think we are sitting here with a loss,” Head Coach Katie Meier said.
Hayes’ stellar performance came on the heels of her switching to a new facemask. She first wore the mask in the loss to University of Virginia on Dec. 22, 2015 due to an unspecified facial injury.
Although Hayes played lights-out, the team collectively did not have a terrific performance. The game was closer than anticipated, as the Deacons Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rank is 182, second worst in the ACC behind only Clemson. RPI measures sports teams based on their wins, losses and strength of schedule.
“We were soft and a little bit sloppy tonight,” Meier said.
The Canes (16-2, 4-1) forced the Deacons into committing 24 turnovers, a common thread this season, as the Canes came into the game forcing an average of 19.6 turnover per game.
In addition to Hayes, junior guard Adrienne Motley was a key contributor, tallying 18 points and five rebounds.
Miami started the game with some shooting woes. Halfway through the first quarter the Canes had only converted one of their first eight shot attempts. Despite the meager shooting, the Canes got out to an early 12-4 lead. The Canes maintained the lead throughout the half, which ended with Miami up 37-29.
Wake Forest (9-8, 0-4) opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 37. However, the Canes struck back with a 9-0 run of their own, allowing them to regain command of the game.
The remainder of the game came without much resistance from the Deacons, giving the Hurricanes their 16th win of the season.
After only a one-game home stand, the Canes will head to Chapel Hill for their next game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.