University of Miami

UM coach Katie Meier confident ahead of Thursday ACC tourney opener

Said UM coach Katie Meier: “You may think I’m crazy, but I really believe it. We can win [the ACC tournament] if we play with that passion and emotion.’’
Said UM coach Katie Meier: “You may think I’m crazy, but I really believe it. We can win [the ACC tournament] if we play with that passion and emotion.’’ adiaz@miamiherald.com

Some coaches might be feeling a bit uneasy entering the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on the heels of three losses in the past four games. But not University of Miami coach Katie Meier.

In fact, while dissecting tape of Sunday’s loss at No. 14 Florida State, Meier’s eyes lit up upon seeing Erika Davenport block a shot, and get a long pass to Adrienne Motley, who sank a three-pointer on the other end.

“I saw that, and I wrote in the edit notes: ‘This team can win the ACC Tournament,’ ” Meier said. “You may think I’m crazy, but I really believe it. We can win, if we play with that passion and emotion.’’

Meier is trying to keep the three losses in perspective.

The 21st-ranked Hurricanes lost to three of the top 15 teams in the nation — No. 2 Notre Dame (28-1), No. 7 Louisville (24-6) and No. 14 Florida State (23-6). The loss to the Seminoles was by just three points. Miami led that game for 31 minutes.

The Fighting Irish are the top seed in the ACC Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina. Louisville is the second seed and FSU is the fourth seed.

Miami is the No. 5 seed at 22-7, and plays its opening game Thursday at 11 a.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s game between North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

“The two top teams, Notre Dame and Louisville, handled us pretty well, but I still believe we can win it if we have that fire and drive,” Meier said.

She challenged her team to step up its intensity after being completely overpowered 79-51 at home by Louisville last Saturday. The team responded against the Seminoles.

“There are a lot of great teams in the ACC, but we’re a great team, too,’’ Meier said. “We just need to get that great back. You’ve got to peak at the right time. You wouldn’t say we’re peaking coming off a loss, but we definitely got our energy back.’’

Leading the way for the Hurricanes is junior guard Adrienne Motley, who on Tuesday was named a First Team All-ACC selection by the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel.

The fifth-leading scorer in the ACC at 15.8 points per game, Motley has posted at least 12 points in 24 of 29 games, with 17-plus on 17 occasions. She also leads the Canes with 43 steals.

“Once again, Adrienne has proven to be one of the best players in the nation’s top conference,” Meier said. “She has elevated this program every year she has been at Miami and has constantly pushed her teammates to improve their games as well. We are all so excited for her to be recognized, as she is such a humble young lady who only celebrates team awards.”

Motley, who is from Newport News, Virginia, is the fourth UM player to be voted All-ACC, along with Tamara James, Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams. She is one of just three players in the top 12 in the conference in scoring, three-point percentage and field goal percentage.

Other key players include Jessica Thomas — 11.6 ppg and 104 assists — Keyona Hayes (5.6 rebounds per game) and Dutch freshman center Emese Hof, who averages 5.5 rebounds and has a team-high 31 blocks.

ACC women’s basketball tournament

When, where: Wednesday-Sunday; Greensboro (North Carolina) Coliseum.

TV, radio: RSN (Wed.-Fri.), ESPNU (Sat.), ESPN (Sun.); WVUM (90.5 FM).

Top seeds (in order): Notre Dame, Louisville, Syracuse, Florida State.

Miami outlook: No. 21 UM is the No. 5 seed and got a first-round bye. It opens at 11 a.m. Thursday against the winner of Wednesday’s Pittsburgh-North Carolina game. UM beat both teams this season, defeating Pitt 79-55 and UNC 76-61.

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