On Feb. 25, 1964, the late Muhammad Ali upset World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston in Miami. After the fight, the Louisville native said he “shook up the world.”
Nearly 55 years later, the Hurricanes shook up the college basketball world with a historic victory over the Cardinals in Louisville.
No. 20 Miami rallied from a 14-point deficit to stun No. 2 Louisville 79-73 in front of a raucous 12,193 fans at the KFC Yum! Center Sunday afternoon.
The victory marked the program’s first-ever top-three win, moving the Hurricanes into first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I’m sure when I’m retired and sitting on the beach somewhere, I’ll think about this as the greatest win, but these wins can be canceled out really quick if you don’t focus on the next one,” Miami coach Katie Meier said after the 350th victory of her career. “We’re on a mission and we just have to keep getting better.”
The Hurricanes (22-5, 10-2 ACC) trailed for the majority of the contest, but senior Emese Hof led the Canes’ comeback charge. Hof knocked down a layup with 1:27 remaining to put Miami up 70-68, giving them its first lead since the first quarter.
Hof, fellow Netherlands native Laura Cornelius and sophomore Mykea Gray combined to nail nine of their final 10 free throw attempts in the closing minutes to put the game out of reach.
“It’s huge,” Hof said about the Hurricanes toppling their fifth ranked opponent this season. “After we beat Notre Dame at home, we were happy, but we wanted more.”
Hof led Miami with a game-high 25 points—12 of which came in the final quarter—grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists in the Hurricanes’ second top-five victory in 10 days.
“I think she’s got the highest IQ of any post player in the country,” Meier said. “She was just a grown woman on the basketball court, taking care of business and her team really rallied behind her.”
Cornelius added 16 points and chipped in a team-high six assists. Gray totaled 10 points and secured a pair of crucial defensive rebounds late in the contest.
Miami shot 55.1 percent from the floor, including 66.6 percent from 3-point range, and held Louisville (23-2, 10-2 ACC) to just 41.2 percent overall.
“We played one of our best games of the year, if not the best,” Meier said. “It wasn’t perfect. We had to fight and overcome some stuff, so that’s what made me really happy. It’s not like everything went our way and just played great. We didn’t play well in the first half, but we hung in there.”
UM stumbled out of the gates, shooting just 4-of-12 and ultimately getting outscored 22-13 in the first quarter. The Cardinals extended their lead to 14 points in the opening moments of the second quarter before taking a 37-29 advantage into the halftime break.
But Miami and Meier adjusted.
The Hurricanes started the third quarter on a 6-0 run, before eventually tying the contest at 45-45 with 1:06 left in the period.
Louisville junior Kylee Shook drilled a pair of shots from distance in the closing minute of the frame to give her team a 51-47 lead heading in the fourth.
The Hurricanes scored 34 points and shot 64.3 percent in the closing 10 minutes to complete the upset.
ACC leading scorer Asia Durr struggled for the Cardinals, shooting just 5-of-17 and 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. Durr only posted 16 points after coming off a 34-point outburst against Virginia Tech.
“I’m shocked,” Durr said of the upset. “I’m pretty sure we all are. We didn’t expect to lose that game.”
Three other Cardinals finished in double-figures. Dana Evans notched 14 points and Shook and Bionca Dunham both tallied 12 points each.
Miami will look to extend its four-game win streak when the Hurricanes travel to Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. UM now controls its own path to claim its first ACC regular season title since 2010-11.
“There is nothing to dream about,” Meier said. “We have to win the next game. I’m really pleased where we are right now. I think we’ve learned a lot of tough lessons that brought us to this win, but we have two losses we’re still mad about. I want those back.”