Miami bounces Pitt women from ACC Tournament, ends Panthers’ season
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The end came early, in a loud arena filled with screaming elementary school kids on field trips to the ACC Tournament.
Miami was bigger. Miami was stronger. Miami was faster.
Young Pitt played well and still lost handily.
Adrienne Motley scored 19 points, and 6-foot-1 forward Keyona Hayes finished with 18 points and seven rebounds to lead fifth-seeded Miami to a 77-55 victory over 12th-seeded Pitt in a second-round game Thursday at Greensboro Coliseum.
“Pitt is a very, very nice team,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “But I don’t think physically — their physicality inside — well, we kind of dominated there.”
A day after three Panthers players put up double-doubles against North Carolina, Pitt (13-18) got pushed around inside. Miami (23-7) finished with a 33-23 rebounding advantage and outscored Pitt, 40-18, in the paint.
“They were very tough,” Pitt sophomore Yacine Diop said. “They were very physical, and we just didn’t match their physicality. That made a big difference in this game.”
Diop (Seton-La Salle) and 6-foot freshman Brenna Wise (Vincentian) scored 17 points apiece to lead the Panthers. Wise, the ACC’s seventh-best rebounder, got just six against a parade of big, strong Miami post players.
“(Miami) had an inside and outside presence,” Wise said, “so you’re fighting on both the perimeter and inside. We’ve just got to work more inside. And hit the weight room.”
Hayes, in particular, gave Pitt fits. She shot 9 for 9 from the floor in 27 minutes. She is 16 for 16 in two games against Pitt this season.
“It’s just focus,” Hayes said. “There’s nothing really to explain. The team ran plays for me, and I came through for them. They put me in the right positions to make plays.”
Pitt kept the game close early, and Aysia Bugg’s 3-pointer in the second quarter cut the lead to 20-17.
Miami went on an 18-2 run during the next six minutes, and Pitt never recovered. The Hurricanes led by at least 13 points the rest of the way.
“We knew coming in the challenges we faced against Miami,” Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “They have so many weapons, so many scorers on the floor. They play at a high pace with full-court pressure, disrupting what you try to do. We had to be efficient, and they took us out of our rhythm early.”
The Panthers played man-to-man, 2-3 and 3-2 matchup zone defenses, swapping defenders between Miami’s scorers. It didn’t matter. The Hurricanes hit nine of their first 13 shots and finished shooting 60 percent.
Jeff Mills is a freelance writer.