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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  ACC 2nd Round: #5 Miami 77, #12 Pitt 55
Canes Ride First Half Lead to Victory
March 3, 2016

 
By John Mundy, Photos by Orin Day

Miami's Adrienne Motley (left) and Keyona Hayes (left) led all scorers with 19 and 18 points respectively as the fifth seeded Hurricanes defeated 12 seed Pitt, 77-55. The Canes advance to the ACC Quarterfinals where they will face arch-rival Florida State at 11:00 AM Friday.
Photos by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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GREENSBORO -- The Miami Hurricanes held Pitt to just two field goals over the last 7:21 of the second quarter and never looked back, as they routed the Panthers 77-55 in the second round of the ACC Women’s Tournament Thursday. The Hurricanes had 4 players score in double figures, led by junior Adrienne Motley’s 19. Miami will now advance to play No. 4 Florida State in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

The fifth-seeded Hurricanes shot a blistering XX% from the field in the first half, and continued that torrid pace in the second to finish with 60% for the game. By comparison, the Panthers had a tough time getting the offense untracked, shooting a paltry 39% despite shooting reasonably well in the second half. The Hurricanes also racked up 21 assists, which made head coach Katie Meier extremely happy.

“Sixty-five percent of our field goals assisted is a goal of ours, and that’s right at it, and we have 10-game goals, and that’s one of them. Our percentages tonight are amazing.”

The Hurricanes won the rebounding battle 33-23 and simply dominated the paint. The Hurricanes’ guards penetrated the lane from all angles and didn’t hesitate to dish it to Keyona Hayes, who finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds for the game. Miami also got a strong game off the bench from Emese Hof, who finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

Hayes also was a remarkable 9-9 from the field, which is remarkable enough without mentioning that she’s done it before: against Pittsburgh.

“I do know that in the two times that we played Pittsburgh, that she has not missed a shot,” Meier said. “She was 9-for-9 tonight and 7-for-7 in the last…she’s 16-for-16 against Pitt so that is probably some type of record.”

Pittsburgh was led by Yacine Diop and Brenna Wise, who scored 17 points apiece. The Panthers closed the first-half deficit to three points early in the second quarter before the Hurricanes closed the half on an 18-4 run. Pitt finishes their season with a record of 13-18 and will be looking for some marked improvement next year.

“Even though it’s a tough day, I’m excited about where our program is headed,” Panthers coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said following the loss. “And we talked about we don’t want to be playing our second game on this day. We’re trying to close the gap and get back to the middle of the conference where we were a year ago.”

Thursday’s game turned into a home game of sorts for the Hurricanes, as the 11:00 game is traditionally the game attended by thousands of area elementary school kids. This isn’t the first time Miami has had this spot in recent years, and Meier said she her team was elated that they drew the early slot. So, too, was Motley.

“It’s just fun,” Motley said. At one point they were just like ‘Miami’- just yelling ‘Miami’, and I was just like, wow, the kids are really yelling for us. They’re usually just yelling random things, just happy to be out of school. But it was fun.”

Top Performers

  1. Adrienne Motley, Miami : 19 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover. One. Stinking. Turnover. She has certainly evolved over the last three years, and is a marquee player.

  2. Keyona Hayes, Miami : 18 points, 7 rebounds. Another perfect night from the field for Hayes against the Panthers, many of them assisted by the quick Miami guards.

  3. Brenna Wise, Pitt : 17 points, 6 rebounds. Wise and Diop both had big games, but needed more help. Open looks were at a premium all over the floor, and Wise's effort was one of few bright spots for the Panthers.

Game Analysis

Why Miami Won: It's not like Pitt didn't play defense Thursday. Miami had a lot of contested looks, but were just hot for most of the game. The 'Canes had 5 offensive rebounds for the game...because they couldn't miss.

Why Virginia Lost: Basketball is hard when you can't make shots. The Panthers need to get stronger and bolster their offensive firepower if they are to return to the pack in the league.

The Game Turned When...: Pittsburgh cut the lead to 20-17 early in the third quarter, and then couldn't score. Making matters worse? Miami couldn't miss. Ball. Game.

X-Factor: Katie Meier and the Hurricanes, their band and cheerleaders worked hard to endear themselves to the kids in the crowd before the game. They passed out little 'U's and and had the kids cheering for them all game long. It was a home game played far away from Coral Gables.

Key Stat: 9-9. You shoot that well in March and you can go places.

Areas for Improvement: Miami's always been quick, but they are sneaky strong. As Miami has increased its post presence, they've retained their quickness and skill that Meier's guards normally have. Pittsburgh needs to get stronger and are probably an athletic guard or two away from contending.

Ramifications: Pitt heads back home to the land of Primanti Bros. sandwiches and Steelers, while Miami gets ready for another meeting with arch-rival Florida State.

DWHoops Photos by Orin Day

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