8-9 • 1-5 ACC
13-4 • 4-2 ACC
January 17, 2013
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Miami Hurricanes got back to their winning ways Wednesday night, edging the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the BankUnited Center by a final score of 71-65.
After dropping back-to-back contests to ranked teams on their most recent road trip, the Hurricanes (13-4, 4-2 ACC) bounced back at home with strong shooting and a career night from senior Shawnice Wilson.
"We were really on the ropes there," head coach Katie Meier said. "We had a tough weekend and we needed to respond to that."
Wilson led the way for the hosts in the first half, finishing with 11 points in just 13 minutes of work. The 6-foot-5 center eclipsed her previous career-high of 17 on a layup with 10:42 still left in the game. By night's end, Wilson had finished with a team-best 21 points and just one rebound shy of her second straight double-double.
Coach Meier reinforced her confidence in the team's senior right before tip-off.
"Before the game, I said [to Shawnice], 'it's time for you to have a career night,' right when they announced her in the lineup. She smiled and said 'I'm ready.' And she was."
Wilson knew her play would be pivotal to the Hurricanes, who were playing without starting point guard Michelle Woods due to the flu.
"I knew I needed to step up, especially because we're down players," she said. "I made sure I was there for my team and did what I had to do. It feels great."
Fellow senior Morgan Stroman (11 points, 12 rebounds) added her fifth double-double of the season in the victory. Sophomore Suriya McGuire (11 points) and senior Stefanie Yderstrom (18 points, four three-pointers) helped key a Hurricanes' offense that shot 44.9 percent from the field.
Despite the final outcome, it was Tech who took control in the first half. The Yellow Jackets' early lead reached as high as seven before an 8-2 run over the final 4:52 cut the deficit to one point by halftime. Miami entered the locker room trailing 31-30.
"That's all this game was, it was about mental toughness and guts," Coach Meier said. "I thought Georgia Tech hit some really big shots."
Miami used a quick start to the second half to jump out to a 42-37 lead by the first media timeout. Two layups from Wilson sandwiched around a three-pointer from Yderstrom increased the Hurricanes' lead to seven with 13:16 to go.
But the Yellow Jackets would not go down without a fight. The visitors came roaring back to take a 55-54 lead on a wild three-pointer from Brittany Jackson with less than eight minutes remaining. The freshman paced the Jackets with a game-high 23 points.
"The stretch that we were answering, answering, answering," Coach Meier said. "I thought that was a really high-level basketball game. It was going to come down to getting the ball."
Another layup from Wilson helped Miami regain a lead it would not relinquish for the final 6:38 of regulation. Timely free throws from junior Krystal Saunders, who performed admirably in place of Woods, helped the Hurricanes earn their 11th straight home victory.
After the game, Meier pointed to the play of her three key seniors - Stroman, Wilson and Yderstrom - as crucial to the victory.
"It's really fun to see them knowing and welcoming the pressure, and just responding to it with a complete gut check."
The Hurricanes next travel to Charlottesville, Va., for a matchup with Virginia. Tip-off for the Jan. 20 matchup is set for 2 p.m.