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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  ACC 2nd Round: #8 Miami 62, #9 Virginia 52
Canes Pull Away in Second Half to Advance
March 5, 2015

 
By Rob Clough, Photos by Orin Day

Miami, led by 15 points by Adrienne Motley (left) overcame a second half surge by Virginia to win 62-52, facilitating a celebration by assistant Zach Kancher and head coach Katie Meier. The Canes advance to the ACC Quarterfinals where they will face Notre Dame at 2:00 PM Friday.
Photos by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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GREENSBORO -- In a choppy, disjointed game, Miami most likely sealed an NCAA bid with a 62-52 win over Virginia. The loss dashed Virginia's wafer-thin NCAA hopes, though coach Joanne Boyle stated firmly that her team would accept a bid if offered. The Hurricanes won because they played superb team defense, limiting Virginia stars Faith Randolph and Sarah Imovbioh to a combined 4-21 from the floor. Meanwhile, Miami star Adrienne Motley had a solid 15 points and made some key plays down the stretch when Virginia was trying to make a run. Miami's formula all season has been getting Motley going with plenty of shot opportunities and then finding the hot hand near her. With Miami's nearly interchangeable guard corps, that player has changed on a game-by-game basis, but it was Necole Sterling off the bench this time around. Center Jassany Williams was key in limiting Imovbioh, simply by using her feet to consistently establish good position on defense. Imovbioh got in foul trouble that took her out of her normal rhythm, and removing that crucial piece of the offense caused the rest of the team to crumble.

Neither team shot very well (Miami was 8-29 from three!), but the Canes built a nine-point lead in the second half that proved difficult to rally against. In a game with this sort of a grinding pace, a nine point lead may as well as been a twenty point lead. Virginia cut the lead to seven on a few occasions, but Miami was in complete control. Miami may not have shot all that well from the perimeter, but they attacked the basket with purpose and above all else, showed a lot of toughness. They stuck to the formula that got them here, and that will give them a chance to show that their win over Notre Dame wasn't a fluke.

Top Performers

  1. Adrienne Motley, Miami : 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists. Motley may well be the toughest player in the ACC, pound-for-pound. She had a big layup and assist down the stretch that made things too tough for Virginia to rally against.

  2. Necole Sterling, Miami : 13 points, 3 rebounds. She nailed a trio of treys as the only Cane who hit more than two in the game. She allowed Miami to keep the floor spread, allowing them to continue to drive to the hoop and frustrate Virginia's defense.

  3. Lauren Moses, Virginia : 11 points, 8 rebounds. The frosh post played very well in a game when she had to pick up Imovbioh's slack, patiently posting up for scores.

Game Analysis

Why Miami Won: The Canes shut down Virginia's two biggest stars and had tremendous scoring balance, as five players scored at least eight points. They also kept the rebounding battle even against a bigger team.

Why Virginia Lost: The Hoos had no flow on the offensive end, and there were too many one-and-done possessions. Virginia was never able to take advantage of their size and couldn't get Faith Randolph going at all.

The Game Turned When...: Miami went on a 10-0 run midway through the second half that gave them a 9-point lead. Sterling started it with a trey, and frosh Nigia Green had back-to-back layups.

X-Factor: Jassany Williams. Miami's defacto post player shut down Virginia's Sarah Imovbioh and added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks. Most importantly, she stayed out of foul trouble. She also stepped out on Randolph from time to time, covering a lot of ground.

Key Stat: Miami dominated bench scoring, 17-5. Miami's depth has been a team strength all season long, and in this game, it reflected an intentional part of the game plan when coach Katie Meier used nine players. When Virginia coach Joanne Boyle was forced to give her bench big minutes, it was an attempt to jump-start her team.

Areas for Improvement: For Miami, they were hurt by second-chance points (11-5). They at least didn't add fouls on top of that. For the Hoos, they need to find a way to establish and then dictate a tempo that's to their liking. They seemed lethargic for large portions of the game.

Ramifications: This game most likely seals an NCAA bid for Miami, unless a lot of wacky things happen in conference tournaments. This ends any sort of NCAA run for Virginia, but they have a chance to get some things done in the WNIT.

DWHoops Photos by Orin Day

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