BLACKSBURG, Va. — Life in the ACC is always rigorous.
Lately, Miami Women’s basketball is making it look pretty easy.
Let by the continued stellar offensive play of Adrienne Motley and the interior presence of Jassany Williams, Miami defeated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Sunday afternoon, 62-45, to improve to 13-3 overall and earn their third win in conference play (3-0).
“I’m thrilled,” said coach Katie Meier after the game. “This was as big of a win as our last one was. This is a very hard place to play.”
Coming off one of the biggest regular season wins in program history over No. 4 Notre Dame, Miami struggled mightily from the field to open the game. The Canes missed their first 13 shots, and began 3-22 from the field, but still managed to go into the half with a 23-20 advantage.
“They scout, really, really well,” Meier said. “They weren’t giving Mot the pull up. ACC coaches won’t let you do what you did last game.”
Motley, who scored a career-high 32 points against the Irish, was slow out of the gate but helped Miami stay with Tech in the first half, converting numerous drives as part of a 22-point performance that will almost certainly solidify her as ACC Player of the Week.
The sophomore, playing in front of friends and family, was poised in tough spots for Miami, playing at the school, Virginia Tech, that nearly won her talents in the recruiting process.
“I’ve worked a lot on my pull-up game,” she noted in the press conference afterward. “I made sure that this summer I was in the gym, working on pull ups. It’s working out for me.”
The halftime lead was sparked by the defensive play of Jassany Williams, who had seven blocks in the first half alone, en route to eight for the game, while also tying a career-high in rebounds, with 12. This, coming just days after tying the Miami single-game blocks record, with nine against the Irish.
Virginia Tech could not take advantage of Miami’s poor early shooting, starting the game 1-9 themselves, and turning the ball over 20 times over the course of the game under UM’s full court pressure. The Canes converted those mistakes into 18 points off turnovers.
Miami broke the game open with a 13-0 run in the second half, outscoring the Hokies 39-25 in the period. Nigia Greene added 12 points for Miami, a solid contribution in the backcourt.
The 3-0 ACC start may be a surprise to some around the league; Miami was pegged 8th in the preseason conference poll. When asked if she had a sense of how good her team could be this year, Meier was far from making predictions.
“No. I don’t. I just keep peeling back the layers of this team and keep asking them to do something else for me, and they just keep doing it,” she said. “We’re thinking we’ve got Clemson next.”
Miami will be favored in the home contest with the Tigers, the lone contest before a trip to Durham next weekend for an important road tilt against Duke. Coverage of both games can be heard on WVUM 90.5 FM and ESPN3.