Miami was leading by 20 points, and coach Katie Meier was
steaming mad at halftime anyway.
”You are playing,” she said, ”as bad as my haircut.”
OK, so Meier’s locks were a bit out of place Friday. Maybe it
was worth a bad hair day to see national player of the year
candidate Shenise Johnson come within an assist of a triple-double,
have nine different players score and the seventh-ranked Hurricanes
open their season with an 83-37 win over Texas-Pan American.
Johnson finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists,
Riquna Williams scored 16 points and the Hurricanes (1-0) forced 35
turnovers on the way to winning their 25th straight game at home, a
”Not quite sure exactly why we were so awkward to start the
game,” said Meier, who won the AP’s national coach of the year
award last season. ”I don’t know a better word. It just felt very
awkward. There was no flow, there was no rhythm, there was no
energy and that was really disappointing. … I’m sure it had to do
a lot with Texas-Pan Am.”
Say this for Texas-Pan American: The Broncs weren’t intimidated
early. Miami’s lead was only 24-13 with less than 4 minutes left in
the first half before the Hurricanes hit five straight shots, the
last two by Stefanie Yderstrom.
The Hurricanes were shooting 23 percent late in the half then
shot 54 percent the rest of the way.
”We found out what you have to do and how hard to you have to
play to play against a team like this,” Broncs coach Denny Downing
said. ”I think we learned from their passion, because obviously
they’re very passionate about what they’re doing.”
LaQuita Garner scored 14 for the Broncs (0-1). Texas-Pan
American played some of the Big 12’s toughest teams last season –
Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State – and lost them all by
an average of 50.8 points.
This one didn’t seem as though it would turn into one of those
blowouts, not the way the Broncs hung around for much of the first
Yderstrom and Morgan Stroman scored 12 each for the Hurricanes,
who visit No. 3 Tennessee on Tuesday.
”We had it in mind,” Yderstrom acknowledged afterward, when
asked about the looming trip to Knoxville. ”You can’t overlook any
competition. I think they gave us a good game, especially in the
first half. We needed it.”
Johnson was nearly perfect on the day. She shot 6 for 9 from the
field, made all eight of her foul shots and controlled pace for the
”The opponent is our opponent,” Johnson said. ”But if Miami
does what Miami is supposed to do, we’ll win. I don’t think we were
looking ahead. I think we were just worried about Miami.”
And while it was the beginning of a season with Final Four
hopes, Miami’s start was more than a little rusty.
Miami was 6 for 26 from the field in the first 16 minutes, an
uncharacteristic clip for a team that shot 43 percent last season.
Here’s a great example of how cold the Hurricanes were in the
opener: There was one possession where four players all missed
shots and Miami came away empty, a series that had Meier pivoting
around and taking a somewhat purposeful walk a few steps down the
Eventually, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference
regular-season co-champions got going, making their final five
shots of the opening half. Yderstrom hit a 3-pointer with 1:22 left
to push the lead to 33-13, and she converted a nifty reverse layup
about a minute later to keep the margin at 20 points going into
So while Miami couldn’t have liked the offensive numbers in the
first 20 minutes, the defense made up for at least some of the
trouble at the other end. In the first half, Texas-Pan American had
21 shot attempts – and 20 turnovers, unable to handle Miami’s
In the second half, the offensive surge just kept going. The
Hurricanes made seven of their first 13 shots after intermission,
capped by a three-point play by Pepper Wilson with 13:14 left that
gave Miami a 54-28 lead.
”Our bench did a fantastic job of changing our rhythm,” Meier
said. ”And that’s fun.”
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