University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes women fall to Stetson in WNIT opener

After winning four of its last five regular-season games, the University of Miami women’s basketball team had hopes of making a late push for one of the final spots in the NCAA Tournament. But an overtime loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament crushed those hopes.

With UM settling for a Women’s National Invitation Tournament bid, the Hurricanes appeared depleted and flat, trailing by as many as 16 and falling 70-63 to Stetson in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday night at BankUnited Center.

UM coach Katie Meier said the energy her team displayed on the court was not consistent with what she saw in practice leading up to the game.

“I was so confident and excited for my team because they had the right attitude,” she said.

“We seemed really excited to be in the postseason, and then we just didn’t show it [Thursday night].”

Added freshman Adrienne Motley: “I was surprised at the fact that we didn’t want it as much as we said we wanted it.”

The Hurricanes (16-15) shot 28.8 percent from the field, a number that rivaled their season low of 26 percent in a Jan. 26 loss to Clemson.

“I thought they did a great job of scouting our personnel. They really knew our bad habits, and they brought them to the surface by their game plan,” Meier said.

While UM and its three seniors who played their final collegiate game pack it up, Stetson (27-7) of the Atlantic Sun Conference advances to Round 2 of the WNIT to face the winner of Friday’s South Florida-North Carolina A&T game.

The Hatters got a game-high 19 points from Sasha Sims, who made 4 of 7 three-pointers, and 15 points from forward Amber Porter.

UM received 16 points from both Motley and Krystal Saunders to pace the team’s scoring.

Keyona Hayes had a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Saunders sparked Miami early, scoring the Canes’ first nine points with three three-pointers. But she didn’t score again until late in the second half.

Stetson led Miami 34-31 at halftime, as both teams exchanged baskets for most of the first 20 minutes.

UM outrebounded Stetson 59-46 but turned the ball over 20 times.

Meier still sees some positives in a season where not much was expected of the Canes after losing so much talent from the previous two seasons.

“I think the bottom was supposed to drop out of the program, from what people on the outside [said], so I think we sustained and won some really important games,” Meier said. “That was a great way to answer the skeptics.”

The proverbial keys to the Corvette moving forward will be handed to Motley after a freshman season where she led the team in scoring.