University of Miami

Adrienne Motley sets out to keep UM women’s basketball team undefeated when it plays Illinois on Wednesday

UM’s Adrienne Motley, right, is shown against Virginia last season.
UM’s Adrienne Motley, right, is shown against Virginia last season. AP

It wasn’t Adrienne Motley’s 1,000th career point that most impressed University of Miami women’s basketball coach Katie Meier during the 86-58 win over LaSalle on Sunday. It was her seven rebounds and five assists, which led the Hurricanes.

“She led our team in rebounds and assists in a game that was all about her scoring, in a game she scored her 1,000th point,’’ said Meier, whose 7-0 team plays at home Wednesday night against Illinois in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. “That right there shows you what kind of player ‘Mot’ is.’’

Motley, a junior, admitted she was “a little jittery’’ knowing she was just one basket away from 1,000 points. In fact, Meier set up a play very early in Sunday’s game to get Motley’s milestone out of the way, and Motley missed the shot.

“On game day, everyone was talking about it, so I started thinking about it and I was playing sloppy,’’ Motley said. “But once I got it, it was a great feeling and I could relax. I feel very blessed to reach 1,000 points as a junior. It’s a bigger deal than high school because so many more players reach that number in high school.’’

Now, Motley is entirely focused on the team goal of keeping their win streak alive.

The Hurricanes have beaten their opponents by an average of 21 points this season, and surpassed 80 points three times. Motley is averaging 16 points, and Jessica Thomas is next with 10 points per game. Keyona Hayes, who was injured all last season, has had a big impact with 9.1 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.

Dutch freshman center Emese Hof is also pulling down 7.4 rebounds and Michelle Woods is scoring 9. 1 points per game.

Illinois (4-0) is averaging 80 points per game, and coming off a 98-43 win over Tennessee State. The Illini are led by sophomore 6-3 center Chatrice White with 20.3 points and nine rebounds per game. White, who last year scored more points than any freshman in Illinois history (448), is very familiar to Meier because she’s a member of the USA Basketball national team, and Meier is a national team coach.

“White can rebound, pass and score every which way,” Meier said. “She is really good, and it will be quite a task for our team to stop her.’’

Meier is hoping the arena improvements – LED lighting, new videos on the scoreboard – and the buzz around the 21st-ranked men’s team will mean bigger crowds for the women. The men’s team sold out its 5,600 season tickets for the first time in program history.

“Both our men’s team and women’s team are high quality and play a really entertaining style of basketball,’’ Meier said.

Wednesday: UM women vs. Illinois

When/where: 7 p.m.; BankUnited Center.

Records: UM 7-0, Illinois 4-0.

TV/radio: ESPN3, 90.5 WVUM.

Scouting report: Illinois is led by center Chatrice White (20.3 ppg, 9 rpg). The Canes, who received votes in the AP Top 25 poll, are coming off an 86-58 victory over LaSalle. UM guard Adrienne Motley, who reached 1,000 career points, was one of five Hurricanes in double figures.

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