She has been known as a humble, unassuming warrior since her days as a high school star in Marietta, Ga., and Thursday night, Keyona Hayes tiptoed her way into school history.
The redshirt senior scored her 1,000th career point, grabbed her 700th rebound, and helped 16th-ranked University of Miami beat Virginia 63-52 at the Watsco Center.
She was the game’s leading rebounder with 13 and went 7-of-11 for 14 points – her fourth double-double of the season.
Hayes became the third player on the UM roster in the 1,000-point club, joining Adrienne Motley and Jessica Thomas – who each had 15 points on Thursday. The last time the Hurricanes boasted a trio of 1,000-pointers was 1998-99 – Kym Hope, Jennifer Jordan, and Cassaundra Wimes.
“I’m so happy she got the double-double on this night,” said UM coach Katie Meier. “We needed it.
The 1,000 points for the three seniors is so special. And for her to get 700 rebounds on same night, she gets a lot of points off her offensive rebounding. It’s been a heck of a journey with these three.”
Hayes reached the milestone during the first quarter, which Miami dominated 21-12. The Hurricanes scored the first eight points of the night, and Hayes scored her historic points with 2:11 to go in the quarter to give UM a 16-7 lead.
At their preseason coach-player meeting, Hayes and Meier set 1,000 points as a goal. “It means a lot,” Hayes said. “Not a lot of people make it to 1,000. And making it to 700 rebounds is always a good thing, as well.”
By the end of the turnover-filled first half – 15 for Virginia, 12 for UM – the Hurricanes were ahead 26-18. A pair of Hayes baskets to end the third quarter put Miami up by 10.
The Cavs missed 10 of 12 shots down the stretch, Miami got to the free throw line and held on for the win in a game it never trailed.
It certainly wasn’t pretty. The teams combined for 44 turnovers and struggled at the free throw line. But a win is a win, and Miami bettered its record to 18-6, 7-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia fell to 15-9, 4-7.
“The game was really disjointed, so many stoppages,” said Meier. “I told the refs I think we set the jump ball record in first half. This was one we needed to put away, but there were so many stoppages and we lost our focus a little at the end. I’m glad I had a veteran team. We’ll take a lesson and a win.”
With Hayes’ help, the Canes outscored the Cavaliers 34-24 in the paint. UM also scored 23 points off Virginia turnovers, and held a 12-0 edge on fast-break points.
The Hurricanes are back home on Sunday against Clemson at 2 p.m.