Hurricane Women Victorious in Wyndham Miami Championship
Nov. 28, 2009
CORAL GABLES – The University of Miami women’s basketball team improved to 7-0 on the season with a 63-57 win over the Massachusetts Minutewomen (3-3) in the Wyndham Miami Thanksgiving Tournament Championship Game, Saturday night at the BankUnited Center.
For the second straight year, Shenise Johnson was named the tournament’s most valuable player and the Hurricanes won the fifth annual tournament for the fourth time. Johnson is known for ability to do a little bit of everything for the `Canes and that’s what she did against UMass. The Henrietta, N.Y. native scored 15 points and added four assists and four steals.
Riquna Williams recorded a game-high 17 points and a team-high five assists on the night. She hit two threes in the second half, but her biggest contribution was her three made free-throws with just 3:10 remaining – giving Miami a 57-53 lead. In fact the `Canes hit 7-of-9 free-throws in the games’ final minutes to help seal the win.
The Minutewomen were by far the Hurricanes’ stiffest competition to date and held UM to a season-worst 31.3 percent shooting from the floor. As good as the UMass game-plan was – it couldn’t account for Miami’s freshman guard, Stefanie Yderstrom.
The native of Ostertalje, Sweden was held out of the `Canes first six games per an NCAA ruling on her eligibility. In her first collegiate game, she scored 11 points with a game-high three three-pointers on 4-of-7 shooting, including a jumper that sealed the win with 1:19 left, making the score 61-57.
The Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading rebounder, Diane Barnes, continued her dominance on the glass as she pulled down a game-high 11 boards. The Lakeland, Fla. native was also named to the all-tournament team for her efforts.
UMass was led by all-tournament team honorees Kristina Danella (14 points, nine rebounds) and Nicole Jones (13 points, six rebounds).
Miami grabbed nine more rebounds than the Minutewomen in the second half- after UMass held a 23-19 edge at the break. Despite having four players that average 30 or more minutes a night, the Hurricanes scored 11 fast break points, while UMass had zero.
Miami also protected the ball, as they committed a season-low nine turnovers, while forcing 18.
The Hurricanes shot only 27 percent from the floor in the opening half and found themselves down 23-16 with 3:45 to go. But the `Canes have treated the final four minutes of each half as the football team has treated the fourth quarter of it’s games – going as far as to raise four fingers to show how important it is to close out each half.
After the final media timeout of the half, Miami went on an 8-0 run, highlighted by two fast-break layups and headed into the break with a 24-23 lead.
Johnson led all scorers with 10 first-half points and she also had a team-high three assists and four steals.
The Hurricanes have started 7-0 only one other time in school history – in 2003 – the last time that they advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Miami’s next opponent will be Nebraska of the Big 12 Conference. The Cornhuskers currently hold a perfect 5-0 record and received votes in the latest AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. They will visit the BankUnited Center on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.
For ticket information, please call 1-800-GO-CANES or visit hurricanesports.com.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMJackie Stanley – RiceKarina Figueroa – Long Beach StateNicole Jones – MassachusettsKristina Danella – MassachusettsDiane Barnes – Miami
TOURNAMENT MVPShenise Johnson – Miami