Published March 04, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Shenise Johnson had 25 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 10 Miami pulled away late to beat North Carolina State 93-85 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Friday night.
Riquna Williams added 22 points for the second-seeded Hurricanes (27-3), who blew a 19-point lead but regained control down the stretch. Miami reached the ACC semifinals for the first time and earned just its second league tournament victory since coming in from the Big East before the 2004-05 season.
Bonae Holston had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the 10th-seeded Wolfpack (14-17). They were trying to rally from a double-digit deficit for the second straight night and tied it three times in the second half but never could regain the lead.
Amber White scored 18 points and Brittany Strachan added 17 for N.C. State, which cut it to 78-77 on Kody Burke's free throw with 4:41 left. Williams hit a jumper in the lane about 20 seconds later to start the decisive 15-6 run.
Morgan Stroman finished with 16 points and Stefanie Yderstrom added 15 for Miami, which had to sweat to claim its seventh straight win and end its struggles at the ACC tournament. The Hurricanes went one-and-done in each of the last five years.
Johnson, who won the ACC player of the year award earlier in the day, was 10 for 20 and matched a career high with four 3-pointers.
N.C. State, which trailed 46-34 at halftime, was trying to stage the second-biggest second-half rally in ACC tournament history and largest since Duke stormed back from 20 down to beat Virginia in the 1995 semifinals.
The Wolfpack got back in the game late in the first half by outscoring Miami 25-11 during a span of roughly 10 minutes. Then, after falling behind by 14 in the opening minute of the second half, Holston brought the Wolfpack back by scoring nine points during a 19-8 run that pulled them to 56-53 with 14 minutes left. Strachan's three-point play with 12:33 remaining made it 60-all.
In two years with coach Kellie Harper, the Wolfpack have developed a knack for comebacks. They rallied from 10 points down to beat Boston College in last year's semifinals and did it to the Eagles again this year, overcoming a 14-point deficit Thursday night to advance to the quarters.
So when Miami built early leads of 20-3 and 26-7, it was business as usual for N.C. State.
The Hurricanes reeled off 15 straight points during a 20-1 run in the opening minutes, with Yderstrom scoring nine points during the burst and Johnson capping it with a 3-pointer that made it 20-3 with 14:45 left. Williams stretched the margin to 19 with a free throw less than 8 minutes in.