GREENSBORO, North Carolina – After dropping four straight games to end the regular season, the importance of Miami’s first round ACC matchup grew tenfold. NCAA Tournament implications were now talking points.
The Hurricanes responded, defeating Virginia 62-52 Thursday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum, setting up a rematch with No. 1 seed Notre Dame, and maybe just pushing Miami off the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Miami (19-11) was led by 15 points from sophomore Adrienne Motley, while senior Necole Sterling added 13, 10 of those in the first half in what was a back-and-forth, entertaining ballgame. The Canes and Virginia (17-13) accounted for 15 lead changes throughout the game.
The turning point took place starting with 13:28 in the second half, after a Mikayla Venson three put Virginia up 40-39. From there, Miami would hold the Cavaliers scoreless for the next six minutes of play, during which time the Canes went on a 10-0 run to assert control of the game. Virginia would not get closer than seven points the rest of the game.
The Hurricanes held Virginia’s leading scorer, Faith Randolph, to just six points on the afternoon. Randolph came into the tournament averaging 16.3 PPG, including 24 and 23 in her previous two games against Carolina and Louisville, respectively.
Miami now advances to the ACC Tournament quarterfinals to meet top-seed Notre Dame 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. Miami is the only team to defeat the Irish in ACC play since Notre Dame joined the league last season. The Hurricanes defeated the Irish 78-63 earlier this season at the BankUnited Center.
Coverage of the game can be heard on WVUM.org, and watched on the ACC Network regional affiliates.