Head Coach Katie Meier’s quiet voice told the story of the game. After the Hurricanes lost to the rival Seminoles 69-58 at home for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday afternoon, Meier said plenty in her muted speech.
“This is my angry voice. When I’m really angry, it’s low-level and [doesn’t have] a lot of emotion to it,” Meier said. “We weren’t tough together. Together, we weren’t tough when the game was on the line.”
The Canes (17-3, 5-2) found themselves down 60-55 with 2:23 to go after a huge three-pointer by junior guard Adrienne Motley, but the Seminoles pulled away with five straight points. Miami committed three live-ball turnovers in the final two minutes and had 21 for the game.
“Like coach said, we just weren’t tough,” said Motley, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “Live-ball turnovers killed us at the end.”
No. 16 Miami went into the half tied at 31 with No. 14 Florida State, but the Seminoles (15-4, 16-1) led the entire second half due to a hot start in the third quarter from Adut Bulgak. Not even the 2,313 fans at the BankUnited Center, including a record number of students, could quiet Bulgak. The senior center scored nine points in the first five minutes, just shy of the 12 points Miami scored as a team in the entire period.
“I thought Florida State controlled tempo for almost the entire game. They executed through their offenses way better than we did,” Meier said. “Nothing’s easy against Florida State.”
The Canes and Seminoles ended the first half tied at 31 after two wildly different periods to start the game. FSU dominated the opening quarter, making 60 percent of its shots compared to 27 percent for Miami. The Seminoles outscored the Canes 10-2 in points in the paint. FSU led 17-12 after going on a 10-2 run to end the first quarter.
FSU went cold in the second period, finishing the half with 42 percent shooting from the field. The Canes took a 19-18 lead on an 8-0 run in the middle of the period after the Seminoles failed to score a point in just over four minutes of play. Led by redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes, it was the Canes that bullied the Seminoles near the basket. The Canes scored 12 points in the paint to just four for the Seminoles.
Hayes, donning her menacing black mask for the third straight game, powered the Canes back in the second quarter. The Georgia native had a season-high 12 points at the half to go with her four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Hayes gave the Canes a two-point lead with 44 seconds left when she bulldozed over FSU’s Ivey Slaughter in the paint for an easy layup. A late jumper by Seminole Leticia Romero tied the game at the break.
Florida State shot 47 percent from the field in its sixth consecutive win. Miami entered the day with a four-game winning streak, but 39 percent shooting from the field – including one of seven shooting on threes in the second half – handed the Canes their first loss in three weeks.
The Canes next play Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Blacksburg, Virginia.