It looked as if Georgia Tech might get run out of the building early, but the Yellow Jackets were far from done.
After Miami scored the game's first 13 points, the No. 25 Tech women chipped away at the lead to make the score close in the second half, then pulled away late in overtime behind Brigitte Ardossi's career-high 29 points to win 80-73.
It certainly wasn't the start Tech coach MaChelle Joseph wanted, but the team stuck to its plan even with the significant early deficit.
"If anything, I think we can build off of this," Joseph said. "It shows the tremendous character that these players have because we didn't get down. I didn't feel like at any point in the game we thought we were going to lose."
Georgia Tech (17-5, 3-3 ACC) got its first lead with 15:04 left in the game, and it turned into a seesaw battle from there. During the final 16 minutes, there were seven ties and four lead changes, after the Hurricanes (14-6, 2-4) had led for the first 24 minutes of the game.
The Yellow Jackets never would have needed overtime if they had held onto a lead of their own. They appeared to be cruising to a victory, up 62-55 with 2:17 left.
But the Hurricanes had an answer of their own, finishing regulation on a 10-3 run, including the tying free throws with 4.2 seconds left by Shenise Johnson.
The overtime period was a wild one, with the teams trading baskets several times and Ardossi continuing her big night, scoring six points.
Tech finally took control in the closing seconds by making seven of nine free throws over the final 15.7 seconds.
The biggest key to the win for the Jackets might have been on the boards, where they had 56 total rebounds, including 23 on offense. The final rebounding advantage for Tech was 56-35.
Those numbers were part of a night when three Yellow Jackets players had double-doubles (Ardossi 29 points, 17 rebounds; Sasha Goodlett 14 points, 13 rebounds; Deja Foster 11 points, 11 rebounds), and they were constantly beating the Hurricanes to the ball.
"I was just really pleased with our rebounding," Joseph said. "Fifty-six rebounds is a lot of rebounds, and that's all hustle points."
Seeing those balls continuously fall into the arms of Georgia Tech was tough for Miami.
"Twenty-three is what really stands out to me," Hurricanes coach Katie Meier said, referring to the Jackets' offensive rebounds.
"Crucial ones, every one of them, I think broke our spirit."
Miami's star guards Johnson and Riquna Williams, who entered the game No. 2 and 3, respectively, in the ACC in scoring, scored near their average but didn't have huge nights. Williams scored 19 points on 8-of-22 shooting, and Johnson was a more efficient 8-of-10 in scoring 20.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.