Miami secures upset win over No. 22 North Carolina

Senior guard Haley Cavinder shoots a jump shot during Miami's game against North Carolina at the Watsco Center on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Coming off its first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) win of the season against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Miami women’s basketball (9-6, 2-2 ACC) took down No. 22 North Carolina (9-5, 0-3 ACC) on Thursday night at the Watsco Center, winning by a score of 62-58. The win marked the Hurricanes’ first win over a ranked opponent this season.

“That is life in the ACC. It is, without question, the best conference in the nation,” head coach Katie Meier said. “North Carolina is really talented, well-coached and physical and we just played our guts out. Two wins in a row in this conference is a great week for Miami and we’re going to try to make it three on Sunday.”

Miami’s defense was vital for the victory, holding North Carolina to only a 35% shooting mark from the field.

The Hurricanes’ offense came out firing in the first quarter, shooting 50% from the field, propelling Miami to a 17-13 lead at the end of the frame.

In the second quarter, UM’s lead swelled to 10 points after back-to-back shots from deep by senior Hanna Cavinder. North Carolina answered with an 11-0 scoring run to take a 28-27 lead, but Haley Cavinder’s 3-pointer with 17 seconds left in the half put Miami up 32-30 heading into the break.

The third quarter began with another Haley Cavinder 3-pointer, and the teams traded baskets for the first three minutes.

Both squads cooled down in the middle of the quarter, with almost six minutes going by without either team scoring, which was finally ended with a layup off an offensive rebound by freshman forward Lazaria Spearman.

That gave the ‘Canes the momentum they needed to score six of the final nine points in the third quarter, giving them a 46-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Hanna Cavinder drilled her third shot from beyond the arc of the night to start the fourth quarter, but the Tar Heels chipped away at Miami’s lead, bringing it down to one point with 49 seconds left in the game.

Haley Cavinder, who finished with a team-high 16 points, then made two free throws and the Hurricanes got a defensive stop to put them in a position to seal the game. Senior Moulayna Sidi Baba did just that as she hit a free throw to push the lead to four points with two seconds remaining.

Sophomore Jasmyne Roberts, in her first career start, also turned in a great performance with 10 points, a team-leading nine rebounds and two assists.

“Jasmyne Roberts took advantage of her opportunity in the starting lineup and I think Hanna Cavinder was really special for us,” Meier said. “I believe we had 19 points off the bench and a heck of a lot of rebounds as well. The bench keeps coming through for us and we keep trusting them.”

Miami will face another tough opponent on Sunday when it faces No. 9 Virginia Tech at the Watsco Center. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. and will air on TV on Bally Sports Sun.