University of Miami

UM women off to best ACC start in seven years after 76-73 win over Boston College

Miami’s Mykea Gray (5), shown last season, led the Hurricanes with 21 points in a 76-73 home win over Boston College Sunday.
Miami’s Mykea Gray (5), shown last season, led the Hurricanes with 21 points in a 76-73 home win over Boston College Sunday. AP

The University of Miami women’s basketball team felt relieved to come away with a 76-73 home win over Boston College on Sunday afternoon at the Watsco Center.

“I’m glad I’m not wearing a silk blouse because it would be sweat-stained, and embarrassing for my family,” UM coach Katie Meier joked after the Hurricanes rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit and survived a frenetic final few minutes. There were 18 lead changes in the game.

It was Miami’s fourth win in a row, following victories over Duke, North Carolina and an 84-71 road upset over Syracuse. UM improved to 18-4 overall and 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, its best league start since 2011-12. The Canes will likely enter the AP Top 25 this week. They are ranked No. 23 in the coaches’ poll.

Meier credited the spirited crowd of 1,108 for energizing her team.

“The crowd helped us win a basketball game, and that is a big moment for me,” Meier said. “We appealed to the crowd because we just didn’t have our legs. The team needed that support, that energy, needed to be uplifted a little bit. We needed some faith and belief.”

The Hurricanes took advantage of the foul-prone Eagles, got to the free throw line 49 times and made 34, one shy of the school record. Mykea Gray led UM with 21 points and was 10-of-11 from the line, including a pair of free throws with 27.3 seconds remaining that gave the Canes the lead for good. Gray also made a three-pointer and grabbed a key offensive rebound in the closing minutes.

“I was just thinking `Do anything I can to help my teammates,” Gray said. “I normally don’t crash the off boards, but I saw the opportunity and went for it.”

Laura Cornelius was 9-of-10 from the free throw line and had 16 points. Beatrice Mompremier, playing with a heavy heart after the recent loss of her father, had 16 points, 12 rebounds and was 8-of-14 from the stripe.

Boston College (13-7, 2-5 ACC) had six players in double figures, led by Taylor Ortlepp’s 17. Belle Glade native Milan Bolden-Morris, cheered on by a rooting section of 80 fans, tried to tie the game with a three-point attempt with three seconds left, but it fell short.

Meier said she never lost faith in her team, even when it was down by eight.

“In my mind, I thought `We’re going to grind out this game,” she said. “We had prepared in the scouting report, they had seven disqualifications of players in six ACC games, the most in the league, so that is something we purposely did. We did get to the free throw line, did pound it inside, did go at kids. That was our plan.”

Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, and has been the University of Miami basketball beat writer for 20 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.