GREENSBORO COLISEUM It’s the Opening Game of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, and as is always the case for the 11 a.m. starts the screaming young fans are out in force.

Miami center Shawnice Pepper Wilson
  • Photo courtesy Miami athletics
  • Miami center Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson

No. 5 seed Miami (20-9) may or may not be on the NCAA bubble heading into the contest with No. 12 seed Virginia Tech (10-19), but the Hurricanes need to play as if their lives depended on it. It’s the first time the teams have met in an ACC Tournament game.

The winner will square off in the brunch game tomorrow against archrival and No. 4 seed Florida State (21-8), which is ranked No. 23 nationally and will play in the NCAA Tournament.

Former Duke All-American Katie Meier coaches Miami, which for some reason seems to be the crowd favorite.
Miami won both regular-season meetings comfortably, 68-42 on Feb. 3 in Coral Gables and 64-46 in the regular-season finale a month later in Blacksburg.

The Hurricanes take a big lead early, holding off a Hokie charge in the second half to win 45-39.

Miami looks like a comfortable winner early in the game, cruising to a 21-8 halftime lead.

But the Hokies keep coming, cutting the lead to 30-27 on a pair of Alyssa Fenyn free throws with 6:04 to go.

The killer blow is Stefanie Yderstrom’s 3-pointer to make it 38-31 with 2:15 showing.

Center Shawnice Wilson leads Miami with 17 points, while Morgan Stroman has 13 rebounds to go with her eight points.

Uju Ugoka comes off the bench for 11 points for the Hokies and Monet Tellier also has 11 to 10 for Fenyn.

Miami shoots 28.6 percent to Tech’s 26.9 and wins the rebound battle 45-30. The Hurricanes commit 20 turnovers to the Hokies’ 17.

They said it …
Miami coach Katie Meier: “Pepper (Wilson) came through huge. The game really changed when they made a mini-run and really threatened us and Morgan Stroman had three or four ridiculous hustle plays — plays that make you win but don’t show up. … Our seniors totally came through. They had enough confidence and moxie to say ‘We know this, we’ve been here before. Let’s hit a big shot.’”

Tech coach Dennis Wolff: “We’re disappointed. These girls have worked incredibly hard all year. When we are a little undersized and when things aren’t going well on offense, they showed tremendous character to be able to make it a one-possession game … We didn’t play like a last-place team today against a team that’s going to the NCAA Tournament, so I’m proud of the girls for that.”

What does it all mean?
That Miami moved a little closer to an NCAA bid, while the Hokies at least went out fighting.

Stars of the game
1. Wilson.
2. Yderstrom.
3. Ugoka.

Play of the game
Yderstrom’s 3-pointer with 2:15 left.


Miami: Won 3.
Va. Tech: Lost 2.

Miami leads 11-6.

Up next
Miami vs. Florida State, Friday, 11 a.m.
Virginia Tech in 2013-14 opener.