BankUnited Center was awash in pink Sunday afternoon as part of the Play 4Kay breast cancer awareness initiative, in memory of former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, who died of cancer in 2009.
The University of Miami players wore pink uniforms. The pep band and cheerleaders wore pink. UM coach Katie Meier wore bright pink sneakers, as did the Florida State players. But there was nothing soft or delicate about the way the teams battled as the 19th-ranked Seminoles rolled over the Canes 93-78.
FSU is the only Division I team of 343 with five players averaging double figures in scoring — and the Seminoles did it again Sunday. In fact, six Noles scored in double figures, and they were missing two of their top five scorers in Chasity Clayton (injured) and Chelsea Davis (disciplinary action). The 93 points were the most FSU has scored against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent this season, and their 54 percent shooting was their second-best this season.
Leading the way was senior guard Leonor Rodriguez of the Canary Islands, who scored 21 points to go with seven assists and three steals. Alexa Deluzio added 20 points. Natasha Howard was 7 of 10 from the field for 15 points, Yashira Delgado had 14, Lauren Coleman had 11 off the bench and Morgan Toles chipped in 10.
With the win, FSU is 19-4 and 9-3 in the ACC. UM fell to 16-8 and 7-6.
“As frustrated as we are, Florida State did an amazing job of hitting really backbreaking, very timely shots,” Meier said. “Six players in double figures — that’s really hard to make a game plan against. They did a really nice job of sharing the basketball. I like the fight in my team, but we can’t leave that many layups on the rim against the highest-scoring team in the conference. We probably left 40 points up there.
“They were hot in the first half, hot in the second half. They were just hot.”
The Seminoles went on a 21-3 run over a 10-minute span in the first half and opened a 15-point lead they held the remainder of the game. They had 13 steals to just four for the Hurricanes and scored 24 points off 20 UM turnovers.
Meier said they tried multiple defenses to no avail. Every time they got within striking distance, the Noles went on a run. The closest UM got was within four points two minutes into the second half, but FSU responded with six points. Back-to-back threes by Deluzio gave FSU a 61-47 lead.
“It was really puzzling,” Meier said of her team’s struggles. “I’m not at all mad at my team, I’m concerned. There were huge moments, and were good. So, pass, catch and make a layup. That’s it. As individuals, they’ve got to take it a little more personally, be a little less forgiving of themselves when they’re missing chippies like that.”
Morgan Stroman led UM with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson added 12, and Suriyah McGuire had 10.
Though LeBron James and Dwyane Wade didn’t show up Sunday, as they had for Saturday’s sold-out men’s game against North Carolina, a spirited crowd of 1,589 cheered on the Canes. It is a safe bet to assume the fan who traveled farthest was 11-year-old Jackson Jones, a UM fan from Jacksonville, who brought along five of her fifth-grade teammates as a special birthday celebration. The Hurricanes are home again next Sunday at 2 p.m. against Boston College.