CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The long shots kept making long shots.
And the Sweet 16 is Quinnipiac’s reward.
Morgan Manz scored 22 points and made six 3-pointers, Aryn McClure added 15 and 12th-seeded Quinnipiac stunned fourth-seeded Miami 85-78 in a second-round NCAA Tournament game Monday night. Quinnipiac (29-6) next heads to Stockton, California and plays top-seeded South Carolina on Saturday, now just two games from the Final Four.
“Just a great game,” Quinnipiac coach Tricia Fabbri said. “Great game, I’m sure, to watch.”
Sarah Shewan and Paula Strautmane each scored 11 for the Bobcats, who made a season-best 15 3-pointers and led for the final 31 minutes — holding on for their 12th straight win even after Miami got within a point on three separate occasions in the final 3:22.
“That was just a great performance by Quinnipiac,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “I mean, just phenomenal. … I don’t think we did a whole heck of a lot horribly. They just were really special tonight.”
Jessica Thomas scored 25 points and Keyona Hayes added 21 for Miami (24-9), which was looking for its first trip to the round of 16 since 1992. The Hurricanes were outscored 45-15 from 3-point range, and the end was particularly emotional — and painful — for Meier and her seniors.
“When that buzzer went off, I really didn’t see this conversation I’m having with you all right now happening,” said Thomas, who played her final game in a Miami uniform.
Quinnipiac is one of two double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16. Oregon, the No. 10 seed in the Bridgeport Region, is the other. But a Pac-12 team defying odds to get there is one thing.
A team from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doing it, that’s quite different.
“Grit,” McClure said. “That’s pretty much it.”
Adily Martucci’s 3-pointer with 57.5 seconds left put Quinnipiac up 78-74, silencing a raucous home Miami crowd. Manz knocked the ball away from Thomas on a drive on the ensuing Hurricanes’ possession, and the Bobcats — probably best known in Division I as a hockey school — would soon be celebrating the biggest win in the history of their program.
“I just did what my coaches have been asking me to do for the last four years,” Manz said. “That was to let it fly, because we had nothing to lose.”
That’s how the Bobcats played all night, making six 3-pointers in the first quarter to set the tone. And every time Miami would make a run — like a 6-0 spurt to end the half and cut what was a 13-point Quinnipiac lead to seven, or chipping away in the fourth got an eight-point deficit down to one — the Bobcats had an answer.
“Every game we win, we build more confidence,” Martucci said. “It’s kind of hard not to.”
Fabbri and Meier got to know each other last summer in Europe, and when it was over Meier told her in the handshake line to go celebrate.
“What a moment for them,” Meier said.
Quinnipiac: Manz hadn’t made more than three 3-pointers in a game this season, and had six in the biggest game in school history. … The Bobcats are the fourth No. 12 seed to make the Sweet 16 in the women’s tourney. Those who did: San Francisco (1996), Kansas (2013) and BYU (2014). Fellow MAAC member Marist (2007) is one of three schools to get there as a No. 13 seed.
Miami: The Hurricanes were ousted by a No. 12 seed for the second consecutive season. South Dakota State beat Miami in a 5-12 game in last year’s first round. … Miami’s bench was outscored 41-8 by Quinnipiac’s reserves.
While building its 13-point first-half lead, Quinnipiac had a possession that included five rebounds, four field-goal attempts, two foul shots, three points and one assist — all that coming in 47 seconds.
In the first 18 minutes, the teams combined to shoot 70 percent (14 for 20) from 3-point range, and just 23 percent (8 for 35) from 2-point range.
Quinnipiac meets top-seeded South Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Saturday in Stockton, California.
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