Cornelius leads Miami to upset over No. 13 Syracuse

Redshirt junior guard Laura Cornelius drives to the basket against North Carolina on Jan. 20 at the Watsco Center. Cornelius finished with nine points and a career-high 10 rebounds in the Hurricanes' 76-68 victory over the Tar Heels. Photo by Josh Halper.

Syracuse guard Tiana Mangakahia entered Wednesday evening third in the nation in assists.

But Mangakahia wasn’t the standout guard who led her team to a victory.

Hurricanes guard Laura Cornelius outdueled Mangakahia and the Orange, leading Miami to an 84-71 victory over No. 13 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

Cornelius posted her first career double-double and keyed a late 11-0 fourth quarter run to put the game out of reach. The redshirt junior finished with 13 points, a career-high 10 assists and six rebounds.

“Everybody talks a lot about Tiana Mangakahia, and she’s a fantastic player, but I think there is a part of Laura that takes that personally,” Hurricanes coach Katie Meier said. “People need to start talking about Laura Cornelius. She’s doing a heck of a job.”

Syracuse (15-4, 4-2 ACC) trailed for the entire second half, but threatened to retake the lead for the first time since the second quarter when sophomore Digna Strautmane nailed a 3-pointer with under three and a half minutes left to cut the deficit to 70-67.

Cornelius found reigning ACC Player of the Week Beatrice Mompremier inside for a layup, then set up sophomore Kelsey Marshall for a top-of-the-key triple to give the Hurricanes their signature win.

With the victory, Miami (17-4, 5-1 ACC) picked up its third consecutive win and its fifth victory in its past six tries.

“I want the Miami fans to understand what we just did this week,” Meier said. “We went to Duke and we won at Cameron Indoor Stadium. We came home against Carolina and played three quarters of amazing basketball. And then they hit some shots at the end to make it like we should’ve feel bad about that. I’m sorry, I don’t apologize for that, that’s a heck of win. Then, we come to Syracuse, with a team I think can go to the Final Four, on their court and pick up another win. This team is special.”

Senior forward Emese Hof poured in a game-high 21 points, including a perfect night from the free-throw line, becoming just the third player in program history to shoot 11-of-11 at the charity stipe.

Fellow post presence Mompremier added 12 points and 10 rebounds, notching her conference-leading 15th double-double. Sophomore guard Mykea Gray chipped in 17 points.

Syracuse failed to get its normally high-octane offense flowing. The Orange shot just 36 percent from the floor and a woeful 16 percent from beyond the arc, including a stretch of 20 straight misses from distance.

Mangakahia was limited to just 12 points and eight assists. The Orange severely missed forward Miranda Drummond, who did not play Wednesday evening because of a calf injury.

Sophomore guard Kiara Lewis was a bright spot for Cuse, setting a new career-high with 16 points off the bench.

Miami will seek its fourth straight victory at 1 p.m. on Sunday when Boston College visits the Watsco Center.