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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  ACC QF: #5 Miami 74, #4 FSU 56
Canes Pull Away in Second Half to Defeat Arch Rival
March 4, 2016

 
By John Mundy & Logan Carter, Photos by Orin Day

With four scorers in double figures led by Jessica Thomas (left), Katie Meier's Miami Hurricanes avenged a Florida State regular season sweep by defeating the Seminoles 74-56 in the ACC Quarterfinals.
Photos by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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GREENSBORO -- The Miami Hurricanes opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run and never looked back, routing arch-rival Florida State 74-56 in the first quarterfinal of the ACC Women's Tournament in Greensboro. Guard Adrienne Motley followed up her 19-point performance against Pitt in Thursday's second round with 13 points and 5 rebounds, but it was Jessica Thomas who took center stage against the Seminoles. Thomas poured in 21 points on 8-13 shooting, including 5 of 6 from three-point range.

I thought Jessica had total command for every second of the game," Miami coach Katie Meier said. "We did some things to sort of move her off the ball, too, and be a secondary outlet in that second half, and I think that really pushed our tempo when Jessica released down the court. We got some great flow, and then brought her back to the point and really had her controlling the game in crunch time,and huge shots, I thought."

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to gain the upper hand. The Seminoles opened the game with a 4-point lead, but the Hurricanes' Keyona Hayes responded with a three and defensive stop which led to a Miami layup. Both teams shot 39% in the first quarter, which ended with Florida State clinging to a 17-16 lead.

Miami opened the second period with 3 consecutive turnovers, which led to Seminole points on all three ensuing possessions. Down 23-16, Miami responded with a 10-3 run to reduce the margin to 28-26. It was certainly a half of runs, and the two teams went to the locker room deadlocked at 37.

While two teams entered the locker room at halftime, only one emerged, as Miami blitzed the 'Noles in the third quarter. The Hurricanes opened with an 8-0 run, which left Seminoles coach Sue Semrau and her assistants frantically trying to make adjustments. The Seminoles usually tough defense left Miami shooters open time and again, allowing everyone to get into the act. Emese Hof, who opened the game with a couple of missed layups and turnovers, finished with 15 points on 7-10 shooting. Overall, four Hurricanes scored in double figures.

"I mean, the last time we played them our defense was just about the same, just really, really high level, and kids were communicating and rebounding and doing all that," Meier said. "But man, did we hit big shots today."

Florida State was led by Leiticia Romero and Shakayla Thomas, who scored 14 points apiece. The Seminoles dominated the offensive glass but was only able to turn their 20 offensive rebounds into 10 points. That, combined with 25 turnovers, eventually led to Florida State's undoing.

With Florida State going through multiple scoring droughts, the Hurricanes remained efficient, scoring on 5 of their last 7 possessions in the game. Next up for the Hurricanes is the winner of the second quarterfinal between No. 1 Notre Dame and Duke.

Top Performers

  1. Jessica Thomas, Miami : 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists. Florida State's mission was to contain Motley, and that mission was largely accomplished. Unfortunately, Thomas was open time and again and she took advantage of her open looks.

  2. Emese Hof, Miami : 15 points, 4 rebounds. No sooner had I criticized her on press row for missing a couple of early shots, Hof went on a tear. She went 4-for-4 from the floor in the second half and was a major presence for the Hurricanes.

  3. Shakayla Thomas, Florida State : 14 points, 5 rebounds. Thomas scored 10 points in the second half to try and rally her team, but it just wasn't enough.

Game Analysis

Why Miami Won: Florida State struggled defensively all afternoon. The Seminoles would collapse on the post and leave guards wide open. Credit to the Hurricanes for taking (and making) open shots.

Why Florida State Lost: Aside from poor defense, the Seminoles couldn't convert any second chance points. You can't grab 20 and come up with only 10 points.

The Game Turned When...: Miami's opening volley of the second half gave them a 48-39 lead, and they never looked back.

X-Factor:Hof in the second half. She was dependable, good on defense, and efficient. She should probably buy Jessica Thomas some Starbucks tonight, though, since she was the one dishing her the ball.

Key Stat: Florida State came into today 1-2 on Fridays this season. Now, they are 1-3.

Areas for Improvement: For Florida State to make another big run in the NCAAs, they need to spend a week working on defensive assignments. There was a lot of switching and confusion today, and they can't have that come tournament time.

Ramifications: Miami either gets Duke or Notre Dame. Woof. They are certainly athletic enough to hang with Duke, but Notre Dame is another story. If it's the Irish, the guards will once again need to come through with a big game.

DWHoops Photos by Orin Day

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