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Miami opens March Madness with 17-point rally over Oklahoma State

Miami Hurricanes Oklahoma State Cowgirls Kyla Oldacre (44), Kassidy De Lapp (1) - The Canadian Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Haley Cavinder scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half and made what proved to be the decisive free throw with 8.9 seconds left to pull off a 17-point second half rally Saturday that gave ninth-seeded Miami a 62-61 victory over eighth-seeded Oklahoma State.

The comeback was tied for the fifth-largest comeback in tourney history. But it wasn’t over until Naomie Alnatas’ 10-footer rolled off the rim at the buzzer following a 5-second call on the Hurricanes.

Miami (20-12) will play top-seeded Indiana on its home court Monday night with a ticket to the Sweet 16 at stake.

Cavinder also had eight rebounds and six assists while Jasmyn Roberts added 12 points and Destiny Harden had 11 points and five rebounds.

Anna Gret Asi led Oklahoma State with 16 points and four 3-pointers including one with 5.3 seconds to go that gave the Cowgirls a shot to win it. Alnatas had 10 points and Taylen Collins had 16 rebounds for Oklahoma State (21-12).

It was a wild second half.

The Cowgirls appeared to be in complete control when Lior Garzon banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the half with a 37-20 lead.

But Miami scored the first 11 points of the third quarter and opened the fourth with seven straight to take a 47-44 with 8:07 to play. Miami extended the lead to 53-46 but couldn’t quite close it out.

Oklahoma State used a 10-2 run to retake a 56-55 lead with 3:22 to go, but Cavinder and Harden scored on layuup and Ja’le Williams hit a short shot to make it 61-56 with 62 seconds left, setting up the frantic final seconds.


Miami: The Hurricanes showed a lot of moxie by coming back. Defensively, they challenged shots, forced turnovers and found ways to make plays down the stretch. The question is whether they’ll have enough energy to make life difficult against Indiana on Monday.

Oklahoma State: Jacie Hoyt became the first first-year coach to lead the Cowgirls into the NCAA Tournament. But the early exit and the blown lead will be something Oklahoma State will have to think about until next season begins.


Hurricanes coach Katie Meier has led the Hurricanes into the second round in each of her last three tourney appearances. A year ago, though, their run ended against eventual national champion South Carolina. This year, they face another No. 1 seed on the road.


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