Returning to play Sunday afternoon after suffering back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) losses during the week, the Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball team faced a major crossroads in its season.
Currently at .500 in ACC play, Miami desperately needed to come away with a victory against No. 25 ranked Virginia Tech to turn things around.
A victory is exactly what the Hurricanes got.
Miami (14-6, 4-3 in the ACC) opened the game determined to out hustle Virginia Tech (14-5, 1-5), playing tenacious defense and creating many offensive opportunities in transition. The Hurricanes began the contest on a 15-2 run and finished with a 77-62 win.
Led by junior college transfer Renee Taylor, who had three steals and 13 points in the first half, the Hurricanes built up a lead and never looked back.
“We were hungry out there today,” Taylor said. “We played tough defense and it led to smooth transitions and quick scoring.”
Miami had six steals and four blocked shots and limited Virginia Tech 11 of 35 shooting and 31 percent from the field in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, they had only one scorer with double-digits in senior Carrie Mason, who finished with 11 points.
Virginia Tech’s shooting performance paled in comparison to Miami, which shot 64 percent from the field in the first half, and 5-for-10 from behind the three-point line.
During the second half, Miami seemingly played to protect its lead.
The Hurricanes’ biggest advantage of the game was at 60-36. The margin did get as close as 12 points with 3:21 left in the game, but that was as far as it would get.
Miami will now face two-more ranked conference opponents in Maryland and Wake Forest this week.
“You don’t go an entire week without playing against a ranked opponent,” said Head Coach Katie Meier. “That’s just how the conference is set up.”
Meier said the bench players brought added intensity to the team to help keep the Hokies at bay.
“Bench play was very important for us today,” Meier said. “It helps the coaches relax a little bit when you see the whole team performing so confidently.”
A win over Virginia Tech was crucial for Miami at this point in the season, Meier said.
“We came in here today at 3-3 in the conference,” Meier said. “We didn’t want to be 3-4. That was all that mattered.”
Michael Holt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.