Greensboro, NC -- In game one of the ACC quarter-finals, it was four seed Florida State versus five seed Miami. The Seminoles had two byes, while the Hurricanes were coming off of a second-round win against Pitt.
This in-state rivalry means a lot to both teams, but there is still a high level of respect on both sides.
"We wanted to beat Pitt because we wanted Florida State. No question," said Miami Head Coach Katie Meier. "It's so fun because Sue built that program up and me, my staff and my players built this program up. It was always a rivalry, but now both teams are in the Top 20, and it's talked about nationally with All-Americans on both teams. I'm very proud and Sue's just as proud. "
The game started fast for both teams. Florida State got on the board within the first few seconds with a quick layup by Ivey Slaughter. They extended their lead to four just moments later with a layup by Adut Bulgak. Miami was not to be deterred, though, as they closed that lead to one with a three-pointer by Keyona Hayes.
With eight minutes remaining in the first quarter, the game was tied at five a piece. The game was starting to get aggressive, as evidenced by a loose ball scuffle in Seminole territory that left multiple players from both teams on the ground. The Hurricanes came away with it and quickly pressed down the court only to miss the shot and have the rebound pushed out of bounds.
The speed of play by both teams made this game exciting to watch. Erykah Davenport made an impressive layup after plowing through multiple defenders. Florida State responded with a three-pointer by Emiah Bingley.
Points continued to be traded back and forth, but Florida State had a three-point lead with 2:30 remaining in the first. Miami's Emese Hof closed that lead to one. Bingley missed a three-pointer that went in and out of the basket, keeping the score at 17-16 at the end of the first quarter.
The game picked up even more in the second. It started off with Slaughter getting stuffed at the basket by Davenport. Florida State did not lose confidence, though. They were up 25-16 with 7:30 left. Miami fought back and went on a 10-0 run in the next two minutes to take the lead by one.
Bingley then made a statement, swishing back to back three's, putting her team up 31-26 with five minutes remaining.
A layup and two free throws later, the Hurricanes were within 1. Jessica Thomas then took control and the lead for her team after a mid-range jumper.
There were a couple more lead changes before Bingley sank a buzzer beater jumper to tie the game at 35 going into the half.
The second half was off to a rather sloppy start. There were multiple missed shots, rebounds, and turnovers for both teams. After two minutes, Thomas made a three-pointer to end the scoring drought.
From there, Miami started to pull away. With five minutes left in the third, they were up 48-39.
Florida State started to chip away at the lead, closing it to 50-45. However, Slaughter fouled Adrienne Motley with two seconds left in the quarter. Motley made both free throws to end the third quarter up seven.
The final quarter was almost all Miami. Thomas started things off with a three-pointer to extend their lead to 10. Florida State's Leticia Romero responded with a three of her own, making the score 55-48.
The Hurricanes could not be stopped from here on out, though. Especially Thomas, who hit two more three's to give her team a 16-point lead.
In the end, Florida State could not keep up with Miami's speed and fell short with a final score of 74-56.
"Upsets happen," said Florida State Head Coach Sue Semrau. "It's tough to beat somebody three times in a season, and we knew it was going to be tough. I just wish them all the best moving forward."
The Hurricanes move on to the ACC semi-finals and will face the winner of Notre Dame and Duke tomorrow at noon.
Thomas was the stand-out player on the court today with 21 points, five assists, and five rebounds in 38 minutes of play. Coach Meier had high remarks about the guard after the game.
"She's like Reggie Jackson," said Meier. "But she's not Mr. October. She's Miss March."