The No. 17 Hurricanes’ regular season ended on a sour note with a 70-67 loss to No. 12 Florida State in Tallahassee on Sunday afternoon.
The game started to go south for Miami at the beginning of the fourth quarter when junior guard Jessica Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at the time, picked up her fourth foul and headed to the bench. From there, the Canes were unable to find an answer for FSU’s half-court 1-3-1 press. The pressure led to multiple turnovers and easy buckets in transition for the Seminoles (23-6, 13-3). The Canes battled back in the last seconds, but it proved to be too little too late.
The rivalry game also represented a valuable opportunity for Miami to edge closer toward the top of the ACC standings. Miami came into the matchup 0-5 against RPI top-25 teams and looked inspired to knock off the highly touted Seminoles in the first quarter. Led by junior guard Adrienne Motley, the Canes shot 44 percent from the field and got out to a quick lead. Fueled on the defensive end by sophomore forward Erykah Davenport, Miami finished the first quarter with a 16-15 lead.
Motley continued her hot shooting in the second quarter and the Canes extended their lead to seven points. However, FSU dominated the last five minutes of the second quarter. The Seminoles clamped down on Miami’s scorers defensively and executed to perfection on the offensive end to trim the lead to just one going into halftime.
The second half was tight throughout as both teams took multiple leads in a back-and-forth contest. Thomas made a few tough baskets and was complimented inside by Davenport on the offensive end in the third quarter. Much like the first quarter, the Canes were able to get out to a six-point lead at the beginning of the third quarter and carried the advantage into the fourth up 48-44.
It was a tough way to end the season for the Canes (22-7, 10-6), but they have plenty to look forward to as the postseason approaches. They will have a chance to pick up some quality wins in the ACC Tournament starting Thursday in Greensboro, North Carolina.
A strong showing there could force the NCAA tournament committee into giving Miami a higher seed. More importantly, stringing together some wins in the ACC Tournament would give Miami an opportunity for a conference title. If the Canes play well, they certainly will have the talent to bring the team’s first ACC Tournament title back to Coral Gables next week.