In a game that featured numerous big plays, nothing was more important than the cramping injury suffered by Miami Hurricanes freshman guard Adrienne Motley.
She was only gone for 153 seconds, but that was enough to sink the Canes’ women’s basketball team, which lost to visiting Georgia Tech, 89-87, Sunday afternoon.
“Sometimes I don’t drink enough water,” said Motley, who finished with a game-high 26 points. “I put that on myself.”
The Canes (12-11, 4-6 ACC), who fell behind 27-10 with 10:08 left in the first half, made an impressive comeback, taking a nine point lead with eight minutes to play in the game.
Miami was still up, 76-72, with 5:40 remaining when Motley’s right knee cramped up. When she returned, with 3:07 left, the Canes were trailing 83-79.
Even so, the Canes had chances to beat Tech (16-8, 6-5).
With 1:41 left, Tech senior guard Dawnn Maye — a former state champ at Fort Lauderdale Dillard — drew a charge on Miami’s Krystal Saunders. The referees conferred to see if Maye was in the no-charge circle, but the called was upheld.
“Tough call — I don’t agree with it,” Saunders said. “But you have to be able to play through that.”
With 16 seconds left, the Canes earned the steal they needed as Suriya McGuire got a deflection and the ball came to Saunders, who drove the lane, but saw her shot barely rim out.
The ball went out of bounds — seemingly touched by Tech and Miami players simultaneously — but the call went against the Canes.
After Tech inbounded the ball, Tyaunna Marshall was fouled and made one free throw, putting her team up, 89-87.
Miami called timeout with 8.8 seconds left, and Motley, who had scored 27 to upset nationally ranked North Carolina in her previous game, got the ball on the right wing.
But instead of looking to score, Motley — who didn’t get a point after she left the game with cramps — tried a pass to McGuire, which resulted in a game-ending turnover.
Miami had 21 turnovers in all resulting in 27 Tech points, negating 50-percent shooting.
Freshman guard Jessica Thomas, who was 3 of 6 on three-pointers and had 11 points, gave Miami a lift off the bench in place of foul-prone McGuire, but Canes coach Katie Meier said she didn’t have enough depth to rest Motley.
“She’s cramping because I had to play her 36 minutes,” Meier said. “It’s tough to find minutes for her to rest, and other teams are playing junk defenses to stop her. I’m really proud of her. She has incredible composure for a young kid.”
NOTES: Miami wore pink uniforms, and Meier wore pink shoes
in support of breast-cancer awareness. … Maye, who had the
largest rooting section in the crowd, scored seven points in the
final homecoming game of her career. … Next up, Miami plays
host to Maryland on Thursday.