The Miami Hurricanes are building an identity as a third-quarter team, and they showed it again Sunday, rallying to defeat the Georgia Tech (GT) Yellow Jackets 62-60.
Miami got back on the road after a one-game stint at home, an overtime defeat of Clemson, where UM tied its second-largest halftime comeback in program history at 18 points.
A desolate first half saw the ‘Canes struggle to find their footing. Sophomore Kyla Oldacre connected on all three of her shot attempts, a highlight in the midst of a frame where UM shot under 31% from the field.
Regardless, defense covered for the poor shooting as Miami (16-7, 6-6 ACC) held the Yellow Jackets to 33% shooting from the field, holding GT’s leading scorer Kara Dunn to 0–of-7 in the process.
However, the ‘Canes were still fighting an uphill battle.
Early in the second quarter, Georgia Tech (14-11, 5-7 ACC) got out on an 8-0 scoring run, propelling its lead to nine. Miami covered partial ground and entered the breakdown seven.
A third-quarter eruption by Miami seized momentum.
It was transfer Jaida Patrick who dropped in two tough buckets to open the third. One of which she corralled off an offensive rebound and laid the ball in. A possession later, Patrick drove, spun and knocked down a fall-away jumper over the outstretched arm of Dunn.
“In the third quarter we just got up and it started with Jaida, just like the start of the second half against Clemson when we were down,” head coach Katie Meier said.
A series of finishes, including a jump shot from junior Shayeann Day-Wilson and free throws from forward Jasmyne Roberts, brought the ‘Canes within two.
The ‘Canes gained their first lead off a three from Day-Wilson, putting them up 38-37, the second of a pair she connected on in the third. She had 10 points in the quarter and 17 in total to lead the ‘Canes.
After junior Ja’Leah Williams went on a solo five-point spurt, UM entered the final frame with a 49-44 cushion.
Over the last four games, Miami has outscored its opponent in the third quarter by eight points or more. This time, UM outscored its opponent 27-15.
The fourth quarter saw the ‘Canes extend their lead to seven. Miami held on with Day-Wilson knocking down clutch free-throws; however, its lead was trimmed to as little as two off a layup by guard Tonie Morgan with three minutes to play.
Morgan led all scorers with 24 points.
The ‘Canes have won four of their last five games and are set to take on No. 23 Syracuse in Coral Gables on Thursday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.