Arizona State holds on late, ousts Miami 57-55
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The final 10 seconds of the game for Arizona State’s Robbi Ryan were essentially a microcosm of the Sun Devils‘ night.
When in trouble, they kept grinding.
And at the final buzzer, it all paid off.
Ryan’s two free throws with 5.0 seconds left off a Miami turnover that she created — on a play where she was beaten at first — put Arizona State ahead to stay, and the fifth-seeded Sun Devils ousted fourth-seeded Miami 57-55 in a second-round Portland Region game on Sunday night.
“That’s a really, really good team that we just beat,” Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
Arizona State (22-10) was down by as many as eight in the second half, and survived a game where it shot 35 percent. Jamie Ruden came off the bench to score a team-best 10 for the Sun Devils.
Laura Cornelius scored 15 for Miami (25-9), which was looking for its first Sweet 16 berth since 1992. Mykea Gray added 13 for Miami and Beatrice Mompremier grabbed 22 rebounds for the Hurricanes — who have never won two games in the same NCAA Tournament.
“I think we played a heck of a basketball game,” Cornelius said, struggling with her emotions.
It came down to the very end. Ryan and Sophia Elenga missed shots in the final 20 seconds that would have given Arizona State the lead, and Miami controlled the rebound with 10.2 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds attempt Cornelius beat Ryan into open space but the pass came late — late enough where Ryan could get her left hand on it for a steal.
She raced downcourt, got fouled and made the two free throws. So on Miami’s final shot the ball went to senior Emese Hof, who Arizona State held scoreless through three quarters.
Hof spun toward the baseline and got a great look — the ball hitting the backboard first, then the back of the rim, then rolled to the left side of the rim before finally spinning off.
Arizona State swarmed the court in celebration.
“It took forever,” Ryan said. “You could have blown on that ball and it would’ve went in. It was a scary moment.”
Meanwhile, Miami looked on in stunned disbelief.
“Arizona State, that was a lesson in toughness,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “They were as tough as any team we’ve played all year.”
Neither team ever led by more than three points in the final 6:51 — and the game was tied five times in the fourth quarter alone. Cornelius and Hof, who came to Miami together from the Netherlands four years ago, did all of the Hurricanes’ scoring in the final period.
“I love every single person on this team,” Cornelius said. “We played our hearts out.”
So after flying across the country for these two games, Arizona State now heads to Portland, Oregon for a weekend in Pac-12 country. The Sun Devils would love nothing more after that than to head back to Florida — the Final Four is in Tampa in two weeks.
“They know, if they do what they need to do, they can beat anybody in the country,” Turner Thorne said.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils are 4-0 all-time against Miami — winning by four, two, four and two points respectively. … Arizona State used the same starting lineup for the 61st consecutive game, going back to last season. … Ekmark’s two 3s gave her 66 for the season, second-best in Arizona State history.
Miami: Mompremier became the 15th Division I women’s player this season to record multiple 20-rebound games. She had 15 by halftime, while Arizona State’s entire roster had 19 at that point. … Hof is the second Miami women’s player to play in four NCAA Tournaments with the Hurricanes. Erykah Davenport (2015-18) is the other. … Miami finished 17-3 at home, tied for the second-most home wins in a season in school history.
Mompremier’s 22 rebounds tied for the sixth-most in an NCAA women’s tournament game. The record is 27, held by Anriel Howard in 2016 when she was with Texas A&M.
1 OF 11
Arizona State is one of 11 schools with wins in both the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments this season. The others: Baylor, Buffalo, Florida State, Gonzaga, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State and Oregon.
Arizona State plays top-seeded Mississippi State in the Sweet 16 on Friday.