Basketball, Sports

Miami Hurricanes down Duke 61-53 with strong defensive performance

Junior guard Adrienne Motley (23) plans out her next move during the Hurricanes’ win over the Blue Devils 61-53 Sunday afternoon at the BankUnited Center. This is the 20th game of Motley’s career where she has scored at least 20 points. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer

Junior guard Adrienne Motley (23) plans her next move during the Hurricanes’ win over the Blue Devils 61-53 Sunday afternoon at the BankUnited Center. This was the 20th game of Motley’s career in which she scored at least 20 points. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer

The No. 16 Hurricanes defeated ACC rival Duke 61-53 at the BankUnited Center on Sunday afternoon. The Canes were up for the vast majority of the game and at one point led by 19.

The game started off close as the teams were tied up at nine at the midway mark of the first quarter. From there, the Canes went on a 6-0 run heading into the second quarter.

For the Canes, the second quarter was nearly perfect. The Canes did not give up a single field goal throughout the quarter.

“Well, obviously that’s one of the best defensive performances I’ve ever seen,” Head Coach Katie Meier said.

The Blue Devils (17-8, 6-5) were only able to muster a measly two points in the period, the fewest points Miami has allowed in a quarter this season. The Canes excelled in their half-court defense as they forced Duke to take shots deep into the shot clock and closed out on shooters effectively.

“It was more our half-court defense, we didn’t turn them over a bunch,” Meier said.

Just when the Canes appeared to have sealed a defensive victory, the Blue Devils caught fire in the third quarter. Duke shot a scorching 10-of-14 from the field in the period. The change in offense was so dramatic that in the third quarter, the Blue Devils scored double the amount of points they had scored in the first half.

Heading into the fourth, it seemed the game would come down to the wire as the Canes’ lead dwindled down to 44-36. Junior guard Adrienne Motley came to the rescue for the Canes, scoring nine points in the fourth. The Canes (20-4, 8-3) kept the lead until the end of the game.

The Blue Devils were without their best player in sophomore guard Azura Stevens. She leads the ACC in rebounds with 9.4 per game and she is second in the conference with 19.1 points per game. She suffered a leg injury earlier this week and has missed the Blue Devils’ last two games.

“We prepped as if she was playing and her not playing didn’t really affect us,” Motley said.

Motley and redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes led the way for Miami. Motley finished with a game-high 21 points and Hayes added 13 points and seven rebounds. Hayes in particular played well in the paint.

“We have been really focusing on Keyona Hayes being a finisher,” Meier said.

The Canes next play Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Atlanta.

February 7, 2016


Tej Joshi

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