UM women fall short to Georgia Tech in OT despite Day-Wilson’s career-high 27 points

Eager to build a case for a post-season tournament berth, the University of Miami women’s basketball team aimed for a home win in the season finale over Georgia Tech on Sunday but fell short 71-66 in overtime.

The Hurricanes enter the ACC Tournament with an 18-11 record, 8-10 in the conference. They play North Carolina on Thursday. Last season they made the NCAA Tournament with 19 wins and reached the Elite Eight.

“We need to have something that can make up for this loss, and I think it’s right there in North Carolina,” said UM coach Katie Meier. “This did not blow any shot at all. It’s disappointing, but not devastating. We just have to go grab RPI wins, and Georgia Tech is a very respected program, so an overtime loss is not going to kill you.”

The Hurricanes and Yellow Jackets traded leads 18 times, were tied 62-62 at the end of regulation, and Georgia Tech clinched the game at the free throw line. The Yellow Jackets went 17-of-19 from the line (89 percent) and converted all six attempts in overtime while the Hurricanes went 6-of-28 (38 percent) and missed all four overtime attempts.

“We killed ourselves at the free throw line,” Meier said. “They go six for six from the line in overtime and we go 0 for four and that’s the game. With all the guts and all the glory, that’s the game right there…We generated opportunities, kept trying to get to the rim and we’ve been shooting great lately, so that really was an anomaly.”

Meier did not expect the free throw struggles, as the team made 80 percent during shootaround.

Hurricanes guard Shayann Day-Wilson more than did her part for the team, scoring a game-high and career-high 27 points, 21 of which came before halftime.

The Duke transfer had the hot hand from the opening whistle and accounted for 40 percent of Miami’s offense. She drilled a three-pointer for Miami’s first basket and had scored 13 points by the 12-minute mark. She went 8-for-10 in the first half, but Georgia Tech doubled teamed her after intermission and she cooled off, going 2-for-9.

Day-Wilson’s previous career high was 26 points while she played at Duke, and her best game in a Miami uniform before Sunday was 22 points against Florida State on Feb. 18.

“It felt good, I haven’t had that kind of feeling in a long time,” Day-Wilson said. “I was just being aggressive and knew I had to step up big and I think I did that.”

The Hurricanes needed every point Day-Wilson provided because the rest of the team had trouble scoring.

“Shayeann was incredible,” Meier said. “The issue is she’s 5-of-11 from three, which means the rest of us were 1-for-17 and that three ball really disappeared on us.”

Other than Lazaria Spearman, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, the rest of the UM players combined for 27 points.

“Z Spearman was unbelievable, battled 35 minutes, which has to be the most minutes she’s played, and she was focused, rebounded, caught the ball and didn’t have a single turnover,” Meier said.

Jasmyne Roberts had scored 43 points over the previous two games, but the Yellow Jackets held her to seven. Georgia Tech was led by Kayla Blackshear (18 points) and Tonie Morgan, who had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists despite leaving the game briefly after a collision with UM’s Kyla Oldacre.

Jaida Patrick and Sophia Zulich were honored before the game as part of Senior Day.

“They are both incredible human beings,” Meier said. “Sophie, the sacrifices she’s made to even try to participate on this team, the hours she put in rehab after three of four knee surgeries, she’s an inspiration. Jaida was voted captain after being here one month, which I’ve never seen in my life. That shows you the quality of individual she is. Great leader, tough as nails.”