Miami to duke it out in Durham

Riquna Williams goes up for a rebound in the first half. Steven Levy//The Miami Hurricane
Riquna Williams goes up for a rebound in the first half. Steven Levy//The Miami Hurricane

The University of Miami women’s basketball team will be hitting the road Thursday night to legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. The Hurricanes will take the buzz they created on campus to face No. 3 Duke.

The Blue Devils, who were dealt their first loss of the season by 36 points on Monday night against No. 2 Connecticut, remain undefeated against ACC competition as they return home to battle the surging Canes.

Head coach Katie Meier’s squad is piecing together one of the most impressive seasons in the program’s history. UM is now 20-2 on the year and 6-1 in conference play. The Canes have also accrued a 21-game home winning streak dating back to last year, three shy of the program’s all-time mark.

Miami is coming off a thrilling Sunday afternoon overtime victory at the BankUnited Center, defeating ACC rival Georgia Tech 84-74. A season-high 1,227 fans showed up for the game.

The 84 points the Hurricanes posted tied the season’s highest output against an ACC opponent. Miami’s duo of talented junior guards, Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson, combined to score 50 points, while sophomore forward Morgan Stroman tacked on another 18 to go along with 10 rebounds.

But in the most crucial moments of the game it was sophomore guard Stefanie Yderstrom who knocked down two key 3-pointers in overtime after not connecting on a bucket during regulation.

Williams earned ACC Player of the Week honors for the fourth time this season and sixth time in her career. She would, however, like to erase the performance she put on the last time the Canes were away from Coral Gables.

On Jan. 24 in a 66-59 loss to Florida State in Tallahassee, she went 6 of 24 from the field and the team shot just 30 percent from the field, including 21.6 percent in the second half.

The Blue Devils have developed the most impressive ACC résumé, and currently sit atop the conference standings, winning the first 20 games on their schedule and their first six games in conference play.

Duke is led by senior guard Jasmine Thomas, who averages over 15 points a game on a team that enjoys spreading their offensive productivity. She also leads the team in assists.

It could become a defensive battle, as the Blue Devils are known for their suffocating defense, giving up just 54.5 points per game. Miami, the NCAA’s leader in steals, tends to force plenty of turnovers to get easy baskets in transition.

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