Free pizza was offered as an inducement to get University of Miami students to attend Thursday night’s women’s basketball game against Virginia Tech. The students who showed up were surely grateful for the free food because the basketball was not very appetizing.
The Hurricanes played slightly less ugly than the Hokies, and escaped with a 42-39 victory at the BankUnited Center. It was the fewest points scored by UM this season and its 11 percent three-point shooting was a season low.
“If ever a win could feel like a loss, this is the time,’’ said UM coach Katie Meier, who added she was “stunned’’ by her team’s poor performance. “You don’t usually play like that and win. That’s about the only positive I got. No deep dark story here. The players are as stunned as I am.’’
None of the players attended post-game interviews because they were holding a team meeting.
“I told the team I wouldn’t even know where to begin practice [Friday], wouldn’t know the first thing to do, so they’re in there talking, trying to give me some ideas.’’
The Canes missed 14 of their first 15 shots. The Hokies went 12 minutes without scoring. The halftime score was Miami 16, Virginia Tech 8.
“At halftime, I still felt OK, felt it was individual struggles more than lack of effort,’’ Meier said. “We even laughed a little bit, said, ‘Oh, my god, the poor fans. This is horrible. Eight to 16?’ You score 16 points and are up by double what the other team has? I’ve never been able to say that at halftime before.’’
Neither team could hit from the perimeter. Virginia Tech went 2 for 24 (8 percent), and UM wasn’t much better at 2 for 18. Miami shot 29 percent overall and Virginia Tech 24 percent.
“This was just two comets that hit each other on a bad night,’’ Meier said. “It was bad.’’
Even UM leading scorer Adrienne Motley, typically a reliable shooter, started 1 for 5. Ten minutes into the game, UM had just two points. Meier got more animated with each miss. She paced back and forth in front of the UM bench, screaming, and waving her arms wildly.
She made massive substitutions, hoping something would work.
Motley finally warmed up and led the Canes on a 14-0 run to end the half. In a span of five minutes, “Money Mot’’ scored six points and had a steal and spectacular long pass to Suriya McGuire. Motley finished with 16 points, the only UM player in double figures.
The Hokies chipped away at the lead in the second half, and tied it at 31-31 with 8:07 to go. A three-pointer by Samantha Hill got the Hokies to within 41-39 with 24 seconds remaining. UM was able to hang on, despite missing six free throws in the final minute.
“The second half was a complete lack of focus, a miserable performance mentally.’’ Meier said. “We got lucky. We did almost everything wrong you can do in the last two minutes. I gotta rally the troops. By practice tomorrow I’ll have some ideas.’’
The Canes head to Tallahassee for a Feb. 8 game against No. 9 Florida State.