This article was originally published on March 25, but due to technical difficulties has been republished.
They were up 21 points at the start of the third, then they were down with less than a minute on the clock. Sophomore guard Jasmyne Roberts sank a floater, got fouled, and then hit two free throws to bring the ninth-seeded Miami Hurricanes back into the lead against fourth-seeded Villanova with 37 seconds left on the clock.
They can’t stop dancing.
‘Canes women’s basketball held its lead to the buzzer to post a final score of 70-65 and advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The NCAA has only ever seen one other team advance this far into the tournament as the No. 9 seed — the underdogs have done it again.
In the first game of the tournament, Miami pulled off a 17-point comeback in the second half. In the second round, it knocked one-seeded Indiana out of the running. Roberts made crucial plays in the final seconds to regain their lead and defeat the Wildcats.
The sophomore guard scored 26 points through the game, with a game-deciding nine in the final quarter.
“At that moment, it was just like, you won the game for us right there,” veteran forward Destiny Harden said about Roberts. “I’m proud of her.”
Harden also played a key role in the game, defending Villanova guard Maddy Siegrist, who made just eight of her 29 shots and missed multiple shots in the final minutes of the game, after she was Miami’s biggest threat coming into the contest.
Siegrist is the leading point scorer in the nation.
“Maddy is everything she’s been advertised…the only thing I can kind of brag about is it took 29 shots for her to get 31 points,” UM head coach Katie Meier said.
The ‘Canes ran into foul trouble in the second half of the game and watched their 21-point lead shrink until the Wildcats took over. With five minutes left on the clock, Miami was struggling to get its starters on the court, and the game could’ve been won by either team.
But the underdogs did what underdogs do best, and the Hurricanes pulled off the upset.
Roberts made a rebound off a shot that Harden missed, and this is when she led the ‘Canes to the win. She made two free throws and was fouled again with 11 seconds left on the clock.
“At the free-throw line, honestly, I was just telling myself like these are the biggest free throws of your life, you’ve got to hit these,” Roberts said.
Meier was so excited about the win that she forgot to shake hands with Villanova head coach Denise Dillon after the game, and made sure it was the first thing she addressed in the post-game press conference.
“We know how to close out a game, and I’m really proud. I can’t believe it. I’m not going to act cool. This is awesome,” she said after apologizing to Dillon.
Meier is confident going into Sunday, saying, “We’re in the Elite Eight, you’ve got to be crazy if you think we’re going to doubt ourselves.”
The Hurricanes will return to the Bon Secours Arena to face LSU for a spot in the Final Four. The game is on Sunday at 6 p.m.