Hurricanes dominate in Miami Thanksgiving Tournament

Junior forward Keyanna Harris (0) passes a Charlotte defender during the Canes' 80-46 win in November. Joshua White // Staff Photographer
Junior forward Keyanna Harris (0) passes a Charlotte defender during the Canes’ 80-46 win in November. Joshua White // Staff Photographer

Behind an impressive showing by tournament M.V.P. Keyona Hayes, the University of Miami women’s basketball team came out on top to win the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament.

Hayes was joined by teammate guards Laura Cornelius and Adrienne Motley as part of the All-Tournament Team that led Miami to victories over Grambling State and Texas Tech.

“We can adapt,” Head Coach Katie Meier said of her team’s performance. “That is one thing about a veteran team; not only do they know the system, but they know the wrinkles. It is still November and we understand the third look in a play.”

Miami controlled play from start to finish against its first opponent, holding Grambling State to just 39 percent shooting from the floor. The Hurricanes would hit 50 percent of their shots from the field to win the opening contest 89-61.

Senior guard Jessica Thomas dropped a team-high 14 points and dished out five assists, while Motley added 12 points and five assists of her own. Motley’s double-digit tally moved her to No. 10 on the all-time points list in program history.

“She has been a consistent player for us,” Meier said of Motley. “She has logged so many minutes and has had a lot of responsibilities throughout her entire career. I am really proud of her; she has been a joy to coach.”

The Hurricanes bench thrived against the Lady Tigers, outscoring their reserves 39-6.

In the finale against Texas Tech, Miami (5-1) jumped out to an early first half advantage and headed into the break up 31-23, but the Lady Raiders came out of the intermission firing on all cylinders.

Texas Tech opened the third period with a 9-0 run to take the lead briefly, but Miami would outscore its opponent 43-24 the rest of the way, as the team claimed its 21st victory all-time in the tournament.

“I don’t know what happened at halftime, but it seemed like we were just zombies,” Meier said. “Laura came in and just was a huge lift. But, once again, another double-double by Key Hayes. The seniors really responded in the second half.”

Cornelius provided a spark off the bench for the Hurricanes, leading all scorers with a career-high 22 points in just 22 minutes, draining six of 10 shots from behind the arc. Hayes dominated on the attack, stuffing the stat sheet with her second double-double in three games. She scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end, in the championship game.

Motley continues to climb up the all-time scoring list, notching 14 points to move into the No. 9 spot. Thomas chipped in 10 points and dished out a game-high four assists.

No. 18 Miami will travel to the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, to square off against the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at 7 p.m. on Thursday.