CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Miami is back in the ACC Tournament semifinals for the second straight season after beating rival Florida State.
Now the 16th-ranked Hurricanes hope they can go one step further and advance to the conference finals for the first time.
“This team’s on a journey and it’s not even close to being over,” coach Katie Meier said.
Keyona Hayes and Adrienne Motley each scored 12 points to help the Hurricanes hold off the eighth-ranked Seminoles 56-54 on Friday night.
“I told the team in the locker room that we’ve done this before. We’ve been in the semis and we’ve beaten Florida State to get there,” Meier said. “We’ve done that before. This is the team that’s supposed to go somewhere Miami hasn’t gone before. So as excited as we are, we’re going to get right back to the hotel, we’re going to watch this game and we’re going to prepare for our game.”
The Hurricanes (23-7) will face No. 13 Duke or No. 21 Syracuse in the semifinals on Saturday.
Seventh-seeded Miami led 54-45 midway through the fourth quarter before Florida State rallied to 56-54 on Leticia Romero’s 3-pointer with 1:53 left. After both teams came up empty on offensive possessions, Laura Cornelius’ runner for Miami rimmed out with 55.5 seconds left.
Florida State (25-6) got four chances in the final 30 seconds to tie the game, but shot after shot wouldn’t drop. The final opportunity came when Ivey Slaughter was fouled with 4.9 seconds left, but she missed both free throws — the second on purpose. Miami corralled the rebound and ran out the clock.
“We got great looks all night that were in and out,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “It’s just the way the ball bounces. Now we get ready for the NCAA Tournament.”
Miami scored just eight points in the final period, but played good enough defense to win.
“I’m very proud of the grit. I don’t know that that was the fourth quarter for the ages. It was not,” Meier said. “Eight points in the fourth quarter and winning is good, but boy, did we get some great defensive stops.”
Romero led the second-seeded Seminoles with 14 points, and Shakayla Thomas added 13.
Miami led 20-18 in the second quarter before scoring five straight points, including a 3 by Cornelius. Hayes scored all seven points during a 7-2 run to extend the lead to 11.
The Hurricanes led 33-25 at halftime and the teams traded baskets for most of the second half before Miami had its 54-45 advantage.
Miami: The Hurricanes got a scare late in the first half when Motley appeared to injure her left hand, running off the court. She seemed to be fine, starting the second half with tape over two fingers. … Miami beat Georgia Tech in its ACC Tournament opener. … The Hurricanes missed 10 of their 11 3-point attempts.
Florida State: The Seminoles had been 3-0 in neutral-court games this season, winning the Paradise Jam over Thanksgiving.
Miami and Florida State have split four meetings over the past five seasons in the ACC Tournament. The Hurricanes won the last two meetings in the postseason. The Seminoles won both regular-season matchups this season, by 15 and nine points.
Miami: ACC Tournament semifinals on Saturday.
Florida State: Waiting for its NCAA Tournament selection.
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