Seniors Meghan Saake and Alicia Hartlaub will likely remember Tuesday’s victory over the Georgetown for a longer period of time than their teammates, since the win came in the final home game of their careers.
However, it was junior Chanivia Broussard who scored 20 points, propelling Miami to a 73-71 win against Georgetown at the Convocation Center. The victory, combined with Seton Hall’s loss to Pittsburgh, gives Miami the No. 7 seed in this weekend’s Big East Tournament.
The 20-point effort was a turnaround for Broussard, who scored just two points in Saturday’s loss at Boston College.
“As a team we decided to leave everything on the line and that we weren’t going to lose any more close games,” Broussard said.
The Hurricanes trailed 30-29 at the half, but went on an 8-0 run against the Hoyas with 11:26 to play — putting the ‘Canes in the drivers seat. Georgetown did not go away easy, however, as a Mary Lisicky three-pointer tied the score for the 11th time during the game.
Junior Shaquana Wilkins responded with a jumper inside of the final two minutes, and. Broussard then gave Miami the lead for good with a three-pointer from the right wing.
Saake iced the contest with less than 10 seconds to go, stealing the ball from Georgetown’s Rebekkah Brunson. The steal was Saake’s third of the night and No. 352 for her career.
“It was very important for us to win tonight,” Saake said. “Not only because it was senior night, but it also meant a lot for us as far as being No. 7 in the Big East as opposed to No. 8 or 9.”
The Hoyas fouled the ‘Canes down the stretch, but Miami went 4-6 from the free throw line to secure the victory.
“The key to this game, really, is that we didn’t turn the ball over,” head coach Ferne Labati said. “Georgetown has been playing very, very well in the last few games and it was a great game for us to win.”
Georgetown was able to stop the Big East’s leading scorer, Tamara James, in the first half, as she was held scoreless. Another Miami freshman, Katie Hayek, filled the void with a pair of three-pointers. Hayek’s strong play comes during a stretch in which the 5-9 guard has seen more playing time.
“Katie has been playing extremely well in practice,” Labati said. “We are the type of team that what you do in practice is what you are going to do in the game.”
Brunson and Zsuzsanna Horvath kept the game close with 24 and 18 points, respectively for the Hoyas. Horvath, who averages just over five points a game, has some history with the Miami program.
“It really came down to the fact that it was between Miami and Georgetown four years ago when we recruited her and I think that she always gets up when she plays Miami,” Labati said.
Broussard became the 15th Miami player to reach 1,000 career points with a lay-up early in the first half. Yolanda McCormick also scored 12 points and dished out five assists. Hartlaub and Saake, who were both honored before the game, each scored six points.
Miami finishes its regular season 16-11 overall and 8-8 in conference play. They will begin Big East Tournament action Saturday in Piscataway, N.J., against the No. 10 seed, Syracuse.
Labati is eager for the postseason.
“It’s 0-0, a new start, and we are ready,” Labati said. “We finished .500 in the Big East which is very good. We feel we can compete. There has been no team that has blown us out and we have been in every single ballgame.”
Ben Wolf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org