GREENSBORO, N.C. – Top-seeded Notre Dame got by No. 8 Miami 77-61 in quarterfinal play at the 2015 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on Friday.
In earlier play, No. 4 seed Duke ended No. 13 seed Wake Forest’s run of upsets with a 77-68 victory to set up a rematch of last year’s final against the Fighting Irish.
Quarterfinal 1: Duke 77, Wake Forest 68
Four of Duke’s eight participating players posted double-digit finishes as part of a well-rounded 46 percent shooting effort to Wake Forest’s 34-percent performance.
Kendall Cooper’s team high 21 points, three rebounds, three steals and three blocks led Duke along with by Rebecca Greenwell’s 17 points, two rebounds, and five steals.
Double-doubles from Azura Stevens (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Elizabeth Williams (11 points, 16 rebounds) rounded out the top half of the Duke score sheet.
Dearica Hamby’s double-double effort (26 points, 16 rebounds) led Wake Forest’s scoring drive, and ensured that she would graduate as the Demon Deacons’ all-time leader in both categories – finishing with 1,801 career points and 1,021 rebounds over four seasons.
Kelila Atkinson (11 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists) and Amber Campbell (10 points, 5 rebounds) helped fuel a second-half push that outscored Duke by a 47-41 margin.
Duke led 13-2 early in the first half while shooting at a 60-percent clip, hitting 6-of-10 to start the game.
Wake Forest struggled to penetrate the Blue Devils’ 2-3 zone throughout the opening half.
Although the Demon Deacons’ offense showed some life, Duke’s defense and transition offense provided equal responses Hamby couldn’t provide many solutions to Wake’s shooting woes, scoring only a basket during the first 12 minutes of play with the Blue Devils leading 21-9.
At the half:
Wake Forest showed some scoring punch late in the opening half, but still trailed Duke by 14 points, 36-21, at the half.
The Demon Deacons found the openings they needed early in the second half, as Hamby and Campbell helped put together a 17-7 run as the Blue Devils struggled from the field.
Duke’s lead was trimmed down to as few as five points as Wake trailed 43-38.
Regardless of being outscored during the final 20 minutes of play, 47-41, the Blue Devils managed to keep the Deacons at a distance and never relinquished the lead throughout the game.
Williams’ game-high six blocks led the Blue Devils defense, even while the Demon Deacons won the battle off the boards by a 44-40 margin.
What they said:
“I just thought it was a hard fought game, and very physical game and a great game for us to prep to keep getting better, in particular the rebounding,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
“There was some pretty awesome rebounding out there, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, and to be out rebounded is not something that we’re used to, not something we appreciate. That was a good lesson for us to focus on and to refocus. I was very proud of Kendall in terms of her aggressiveness in coming off the bench and giving us such confidence and such great moves, tremendous duck ins and a lot of aggression. I thought Becca was, as always, competing hard, looking for things and attacking, which is very important, and Elizabeth, those 16 rebounds were huge since too many we only had 10 with Azura and 16 with Elizabeth. We’ve got to get everybody involved in the rebounding deal, and I think everybody knows that. But I’m proud of the team for the fight out there, especially despite the foul trouble that cost us a little bit, as well.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team and just what we’ve done in the last two weeks, and particularly how special this has been in Greensboro for us,” Wake Forest head coach Jenn Hoover said.
“They never quit on us. We were down 18 today and you saw there’s no quit in these Deacons. We came storming back, and just so proud of the grit and determination that we saw in these young ladies over the last three days in particular, and obviously disappointed with the outcome. Duke is a very good basketball team. There’s a lot of length there that you have to deal with. It took us a half to get, I think, familiar with it again and reacquainted with it, if you will, before we really got comfortable again. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit for that.”
Duke (21-9) will face No. 1 Notre Dame in Saturday’s Noon semifinal game.
The Blue Devils will be looking to advance to their 14th ACC title game in program history, having already compiled a 44-29 all-time record in Tournament play – winning at least one game in 20 of the last 21 years. Wake Forest fell to 13-20 on the season with the loss.
Quarterfinal 2: Notre Dame 77, Miami 61
Briana Turner’s double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), as part of a five-player cadre of double-digit finishes, provided the Fighting Irish’s first stepping stone towards defending their Tournament title.
Jewell Loyd (16 points, 8 rebounds), Taya Reimer (13 points, 5 rebounds), Madison Cable (13 points, 7 rebounds), and Kathryn Westbeld (10 points, 4 rebounds) all followed suit to put together a 49-percent shooting performance for Notre Dame.
Jessica Thomas’ game and career-high 24 points, along with Jassany Williams’ 16 points and six rebounds were the strongest responses that Miami provided.
Adrienne Motley, who averages nearly 17 points, finished with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting for the Hurricanes.
At the half:
The Hurricanes’ 11-of-29 shooting effort wasn’t able to match the well-rounded 52-percent offensive finish from the Irish who led 37-25 at the half.
Notre Dame hit 3-of-4 beyond the arc while adding six singles from the free throw line on nine attempts while Miami only got to the line once during the first 20 minutes of play.
Led by Loyd, the ACC’s Player of the Year, and Turner, its Freshman of the Year, the Fighting Irish haven’t lost since Miami handed them their only ACC setback on Jan. 8.
In that 78-63 loss in Coral Gables, Motley scored a career-high 32.
Miami threatened to make it 2-for-2 after coming within 48-43 on Thomas’ drive with 13-and-a-half minutes left.
Lindsay Allen (9 points, 4 assists) converted a three-point play to start a run, and Cable made a key 3-pointer before Turner converted a three-point play to give Notre Dame its largest lead, 63-47, with nine minutes remaining.
What they said:
“I was really pleased with our overall effort – just a really great team effort offensively,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said.
“I thought we shared the ball really well. We got a lot of people in double figures, Brianna with the double double, Madison Cable giving us great minutes off the bench, and then I thought Taya had an exceptional game as well as Jewell…I mean, we knew that this was a big game coming in. Miami is a great team, but we definitely wanted to get them back. We all were really motivated for this game, and just wanted to attack them and get the W.”
“I thought Notre Dame was very, very focused – offensive game plan and defensive game plan,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said.
“They came in here and executed a heck of a game plan, had us pretty confused in the first half, switching up their defenses as much they did didn’t allow us to get out in transition and get our flow going. I thought we made some adjustments at halftime, picked our tempo up a little bit, and I thought that second half was really great. But we were in a little bit of a hole, so we had to take some chances at the end there to try to cut it. But their balanced scoring is really impressive, and honestly, their 4s, their 4 players, so Reimer and Westbeld really hurt us in the first half. They got a lot of points from those two players and kind of we had to change our schemes a little bit and that opened it up for the rest of them. They showed great patience and great composure.”
Notre Dame plays fourth-seeded Duke on Saturday in the Noon semifinal.
Miami now awaits a possible at-large NCAA tournament berth or plays in the WNIT for the second straight year.