|Season Stats||Miami Press Conference|
|ACC Stats||ND Press Conference|
|SCORE BY QUARTER|
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s basketball team led No. 7/6 Notre Dame in the third period Sunday afternoon at the Watsco Center, but the Fighting Irish stormed back for a 67-55 victory.
In a game televised on ESPN2, No. 14/14 Miami (13-3, 2-2 ACC) was led by a co-game-high 15 points from senior guard Jessica Thomas in the defeat against the Associated Press’ preseason top-ranked team in the country.
“They had more hustle plays. Nothing was flowing for either team,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “Credit to the assistant coaches with the prep . . . As ugly as that looked, there was some unbelievable effort, defensively. There was some high-level prep and scouting to make people uncomfortable. They were uncomfortable and we were uncomfortable, the whole game.”
Despite Notre Dame (15-2, 3-1 ACC) jumping out to a 7-0 lead, the Hurricanes trimmed their deficit to one, 15-14, through one period.
Miami pulled even for the first time with 6:11 left in the second period when Thomas connected on her second 3-pointer of the game, but the Fighting Irish countered with a 7-0 run.
Miami answered right back with a 10-4 run to end the half that was capped by a 3-pointer by senior guard Adrienne Motley with three seconds on the clock, and trailed by just one, 30-29, through 20 minutes.
The Hurricanes’ co-captains, Thomas (nine) and Motley (12), combined for 21 points in a first half during which Miami forced 14 turnovers. Notre Dame junior forward Brianna Turner, an AP Preseason First Team All-American, was held scoreless in the opening half.
Miami took its first lead of the game just 61 seconds in to the second half when Motley made a pair of free throws to put the Hurricanes in front, 33-32. Notre Dame then surged back in front and led, 51-44, entering the final session.
The Hurricanes were unable to pull any closer in the fourth period and the Fighting Irish earned the 12-point win, their third-smallest margin of victory this season.
In addition to Thomas, both Motley (14) and sophomore forward/center Emese Hof (11) finished with double-digit points. Hof also tied a season best and led the Hurricanes with six rebounds in a season-high 26 minutes.
Notre Dame sophomore guard Marina Mabrey, the younger sister of Miami coordinator of program & player development Michaela Mabrey, paced the Fighting Irish with 15 points. Junior forward Kathryn Westbeld added 14 and sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale chipped in 11.
The Hurricanes held Turner to a season-low-tying seven points, while fellow senior guard Lindsay Allen, a fellow Preseason All-ACC pick, also had seven points, tied for her third-fewest in a game this year.
Miami also forced Notre Dame into 21 turnovers, tying the Fighting Irish’s highest total of the season, set Nov. 22 against Louisiana.
“We worked really hard on the defensive game plan and maybe that affected our offense,” Meier said. “. . . If you are a fan of defense, that was a great game.”
Up next for the Hurricanes is a matchup with No. 18/18 Virginia Tech, the ACC’s lone undefeated team, Wednesday at 7 p.m., at the Watsco Center.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
· Sunday’s game was played two years to the day of Miami’s 78-63 victory over fourth-ranked Notre Dame, the first of just two conference losses the Fighting Irish have suffered in their three-plus years in the ACC.
· Both teams scored 16 or fewer points in every period, except for Notre Dame posting 21 in the third frame.
· The Hurricanes’ bench outscored that of Notre Dame, 20-13, marking the 14th time in 16 games Miami has had the edge in bench points.
· Thomas surpassed 1,050 points at Miami, Motley reached 150 steals in her career and Hof eclipsed 150 made field goals as a collegian.