The University of Miami women’s basketball team needed one more stop to pull off the upset of No. 3 Duke on Thursday night at BankUnited Center.
With the score tied, Blue Devils junior forward Elizabeth Williams collected an offensive rebound and drew a foul from freshman guard Adrienne Motley with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Williams made a free throw —then missed the second — leaving just 0.9 seconds for the Hurricanes to inbound from their own baseline in a 76-75 loss.
The game, which saw 15 lead changes and five ties, went back and forth over the final minutes. On the previous possession, senior forward Maria Brown knocked down a pair of foul shots with 14.8 seconds to knot the score at 75.
“If we play with that much guts and effort the rest of the way, we’re going to have a really fun February and March,” said Miami coach Katie Meier, whose team was outrebounded 44-26. “We played with passion, resilience. … We made great plays. I wanted that ball in the last possession. I appreciate the foul and Maria hit two big free throws, but we were going for the win. We were going to run the clock down. … I didn’t want Duke to have the ball back.”
Miami (11-10, 3-5 ACC) led by one on Motley’s jumper with 34 seconds to go. Senior guard Tricia Liston, who tied a career high with 29 points, responded with a three-point play.
Duke (21-1, 8-0 ACC) trailed 46-43 at halftime before opening with seven consecutive points to take a five-point advantage. Miami evened it at 58 and went ahead by five with 4:21 to go. The Blue Devils didn’t recapture the lead until Liston’s jumper with 19 seconds left.
Williams, who finished with a double-double, notched 14 of her 18 points over the final 20 minutes. Sophomore guard Alexis Jones tallied eight second-half points (18 overall).
After shooting 56 percent in the first half, the Hurricanes recorded a 31 percent clip. On three-pointers, they dropped from 64 to 21 percent between the first and second halves.
Four Miami players finished in double figures, led by junior guard Suriya McGuire’s 23. Motley, who has now posted double digits in six games in a row, added 15.
“Learning what I have to do in order for us to win and be successful,” Motley said. “It took awhile in the beginning, but I’m finally getting what we’re running and why we run it. I understand everything now.”
After falling behind 20-16 with 11:56 remaining in the first half, the Hurricanes went on a 21-10 run. Three separate times the Hurricanes led by as many as 11 points. Duke closed the half’s final 1:42 with eight unanswered points.
Meier, who wasn’t pleased with her team’s performance in Sunday’s loss at Clemson, gave the players tough love this week. Miami will try to snap a three-game skid at North Carolina on Sunday.
“We needed it,” McGuire said. “[It’s like] how families have heart-to-hearts — it’s bittersweet — it’s something you don’t want to hear, but it’s what we needed to hear. That’s what I love about our team that we could do that and this be the outcome.”