The reason for the excitement Thursday: a 72-65 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame. Miami has never beaten a higher-ranked team. Emese Hof and Beatrice Mompremier had double-doubles for the No. 25-ranked Hurricanes, who slowed the pace to stall Notre Dame's feared transition game. The Fighting Irish were held to a season-low point total and shot 37 percent, also a season low.
Hof had 21 points and 13 rebounds. Mompremier added 18 points and 12 rebounds for her 18th double-double, the most in the Atlantic Coast Conference. "We were excited. We were determined," Hof said. "We were up a lot of the time, so we kind of felt like, 'OK we got this. We got this.' We really believed in each other."
And when the students rushed onto the court to join the postgame celebration? "I was just like, 'Oh, wait.' I had no idea what was going on," Hof said with a giggle. "They were very happy for us. It was a great turnout and helps us a lot."
The win was reminiscent of the Hurricanes' victory four years ago over a Notre Dame team that was also ranked No. 4. Miami (20-5, 8-2 ACC) had never before beaten a defending national championship team.
"We've got the first one now," Mompremier said. The Fighting Irish (21-3, 8-2) fell a game behind league leader Louisville. They also lost to unranked North Carolina. "I wasn't happy with anything," coach Muffett McGraw said. "We didn't execute. We couldn't do anything right."
Jessica Shepard led Notre Dame with 17 points and 17 rebounds but was in tears afterward. "The other team wanted it more than us," Shepard said. "That's not acceptable." Notre Dame's Marina Mabrey shot only 5 for 13 and scored 14 points, ending her streak of three consecutive games with at least 20. Arike Ogunbowale scored 13 points, eight under her average, and shot 4 for 15.
The Hurricanes limited Notre Dame to 11 fast-break points. They contained the Fighting Irish's transition game by committing just 11 turnovers and often running down the shot clock. "I know the crowd was '9-8-7,'" coach Katie Meier said. "But that's how you beat Notre Dame. We were finding open shots at the end of the shot clock."
There were 14 lead changes before Taylor Mason's 3-pointer put the Hurricanes ahead to stay 43-41 midway through the third quarter. Notre Dame cut the margin to two points three times in the final period but could get no closer.
Mason's bank shot with 43 seconds left made it 67-63, and teammate Mykea Gray sealed the victory with a pair of free throws. SUPER SUB Mason, a sophomore guard, scored a career-high 13 points off the bench. She came into the 4 for 24 on 3-pointers and made 2 of 3.
MISFIRING The Fighting Irish shot 22 for 59, including 3 for 14 beyond the arc. They came into the game shooting 52 percent, best in the nation. Miami won despite shooting just 39 percent, including 3 for 16 from 3-point range.
INJURY REPORT Mikayla Vaughn, who hyperextended her knee in Notre Dame's last game, played seven minutes and scored two points. BIG PICTURE Miami improved to 5-19 all-time against Notre Dame. UP NEXT Notre Dame plays host Sunday to No. 24 Florida State, which beat No. 9 North Carolina State 75-70.
The Hurricanes play Sunday at Pittsburgh, which lost to Georgia Tech 67-55.
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