Miami holds off FGCU and moves on, 62-60
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Keyona Hayes scored 16 points, including the go-ahead basket inside with 1.5 seconds remaining, and fourth-seeded Miami rallied to beat 13th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 62-60 in an NCAA Tournament first-round game Saturday.
Hayes added 10 rebounds for the Hurricanes (24-8), who wasted a 13-point lead and found themselves trailing twice in the final 2 minutes before rallying.
Taylor Gradinjan’s 3-pointer for FGCU with 8.6 seconds left tied the game at 60. Miami advanced the ball out of a timeout, and the ball went to Hayes – who bulled her way in and scored on a post-up.
FGCU (26-9) set up a play and threw an inbounds pass toward the basket, and Miami’s Keyanna Harris knocked the ball away as time expired. The Eagles argued there was contact, but no foul was called and Miami advanced.
Emese Hof scored 14 points for the Hurricanes, who move on to the second round on Monday night and a matchup with 12th-seeded Quinnipiac – a 68-65 upset winner over Marquette earlier in the day.
Jordin Alexander scored 11 points, while China Dow and Rosemarie Julien each scored 10 for FGCU.
A 3-pointer from Julien tied it at 51 with 4:22 remaining, but she fouled out a half-minute later on a call away from the basket. And from there, it was a wild back and forth with the outcome not decided until the final buzzer.
Dow scored with 1:13 left to give FGCU its last lead. Hof’s three-point play with 49.4 seconds remaining put Miami back up by two, and Gradinjan’s 3 tied the game for the fifth time.
Miami led 14-13 after the first quarter, then opened the second on an 8-0 run and wound up leading by 13 with 3:30 left until halftime. But the Eagles closed the half on a 7-0 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer from Haley Laughter – ending a 1-for-17 FGCU start from beyond the arc – and Miami’s lead was down to 28-22 at the break.
Late in the third, FGCU finally got a spark.
After scoring 30 points in 28 minutes, the Eagles managed to score five in five seconds. Jess Cattani’s 3-pointer dropped simultaneous to a foul being called on Hof under the basket. That gave FGCU another possession, and Dow’s basket off the inbounds got the Eagles within 39-35. The lead for Miami was still four going into the fourth.
Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles didn’t take their first free throw until 9:31 remained in the game. Miami had taken 15 to that point. … FGCU entered the NCAA Tournament as one of five Division I schools to have both its men’s and women’s teams win at least 25 games this season.
Miami: Adrienne Motley, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer coming in at 13.7 points per game, had only four on 1 for 6 shooting. … The Hurricanes were hosting an NCAA tourney game for the first time in 24 years, and hadn’t played FGCU in exactly seven years – March 18, 2010, a win over the Eagles in the first round of the WNIT.
The game was nearly 12 minutes old before any player had more than one basket. Miami led 14-13 – seven players with two points – before Cornelius had a steal and layup for her second score of the day with 8:25 left in the second quarter. FGCU had six players in the scoring column to that point, five with two points and Gradinjan with three.
FGCU has been in a national postseason tournament in each of the last 12 seasons, including the last 10 at Division I. Miami has been in either the NCAAs or the WNIT in each of the last eight seasons.