CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)Jasmyn Roberts was recruited by Virginia Tech, so the Hokies knew that she was capable of being a big-time player.
Miami was thrilled that she proved them right.
Roberts scored a career-best 23 points, Haley Cavinder added 19 and Miami held off No. 9 Virginia Tech 77-66 on Sunday, the Hurricanes’ second consecutive win over a ranked opponent.
”Jas is the most positive player on our team,” Hurricanes coach Katie Meier said. ”We do an analysis of the team, we have an expert come in and basically, we can’t win without Jas. She brings so much. She uplifts her teammates all the time. Even when she wasn’t getting the minutes she wanted, she still is the heart and soul.”
Roberts was 8 for 12 from the field, 5 of 7 from 3-point range for the Hurricanes (10-6, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third straight game. Cavinder was 6 for 12 from the field, and Miami shot 54%.
The Hurricanes won for only the second time in their last 16 games against top-10 opponents. They are now 15-89 all-time in such games, and let one such chance slip away on Dec. 29 with a loss to then-No. 5 Notre Dame. They’re 3-0 since.
”After we almost beat Notre Dame, we’re like: `OK, we can play with anybody. We’re almost there,”’ Roberts said. ”After that game, we started getting more confident and jelling more.”
Elizabeth Kitley scored 20 for Virginia Tech (13-3, 3-3), which had beat Miami five consecutive times. But the Hokies led for only 1:49 on Sunday, the Hurricanes forcing them to play from behind almost all afternoon.
Georgia Amoore added 13 for the Hokies.
”Give Miami credit,” Hokies coach Kenny Brooks said. ”They were tougher than we were. They got to their spots easier and we just didn’t play well. We didn’t have that focus that we needed to win a game like this on the road. They’re a physical basketball team and we didn’t handle their physicality like we needed to.”
Roberts, who came into Sunday averaging 6.3 points, made back-to-back jumpers – one of them a 3-pointer – midway through the fourth quarter to turn a one-point Miami lead into a six-point edge.
Even though Miami led for most of the way, it never exactly ran away from Virginia Tech.
Amoore made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 41 early in the third, and Miami immediately responded with an 8-0 run to restore the eight-point edge – Roberts making a pair of 3s in that little burst.
It was 60-54 Miami going into the fourth, and that’s when a bad combination hit the Hurricanes. They couldn’t score and couldn’t stop fouling.
Virginia Tech’s first four points of the fourth quarter all came from the line, all of them from Kitley. She missed a free throw that would have put the Hokies within one, but Virginia Tech got the rebound and Kitley ended up with an easy layup that tied that game at 60 with 7:47 left.
That’s when Cavinder and Roberts made sure Miami wouldn’t lose the lead. Cavinder made a 3 for a 63-60 lead, Roberts followed with those two jumpers and the Hurricanes led the rest of the way.
Virginia Tech missed its last 10 shots.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies’ streak of consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 will likely end at six – after being there only once before this season in program history. The Hokies have never spent an entire season in the Top 25; they won’t be in any danger of falling out this week.
Miami: The Hurricanes are 3-0 since the calendar flipped to 2023, two of those against ranked teams. Miami topped No. 22 North Carolina on Thursday.
Virginia Tech: Hosts Louisville on Thursday, the Hokies’ only game in a 10-day span.
Miami: At Georgia Tech on Thursday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25