After a tough loss to Florida State last week, the Hurricanes were able to redeem themselves Sunday afternoon, winning a physical home game against Boston College 79-54 to move to 17-8 (8-6 ACC).
The Canes first drew blood with a Suriya McGuire jumper, but would soon find themselves in a closely contested dogfight with the visiting Eagles. With the score at 27-25 with less than five minutes to go in the first half, Miami was able to pull away. The Hurricanes used a 13-4 run to close out the half.
“I have a very smart team,” coach Katie Meier said. “I have a team that really wants to do what the coaches ask them to do, and we had to feel the game out a little bit and realize how they were scouting us and what their game plan was … We’ve been talking about wildfire and just one little spark and it can ignite. I thought Krystal [Saunders] had a tremendous first half in terms of just hitting really important shots that they were kind of daring her to take, and she knocked them down.”
The second half showed more of the same, as the Canes continued firing on all cylinders to bump up their lead to 27 with about nine minutes to play. The Hurricanes were able to impose their will offensively, tying their regular-season best with 79 points scored. It was also the first time since Dec. 20 against N.C. State that the Canes had five players in double digits.
One of them was Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson, who scored a game-high 17 points (tied with Morgan Stroman) and grabbed nine rebounds.
“I know this game in particular was really exciting for me,” Wilson said. “And it was a game that challenged me, because we were running a defense that I was not familiar with … I felt that I was out there proving myself to my coaches and my team so I was really excited.”
With the win, the Canes have now put themselves into position to finish the season strong and make a push for the NCAA Tournament. ESPN currently has them ranked as an 11 seed, but with strong showings on the road against N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, the Canes could climb to an even higher seed.
Miami has a final chance to impress the selection committee when Duke visits the BankUnited Center on Feb. 28. It will also mark the last time the seniors play on their home court.
Saunders is determined to make it a game they will remember.
“I want to do whatever it takes,” she said. “I love these seniors and when we play Duke I’m going to do whatever we have to do to win that game.”