Hurricanes Get Statement Win as ACC Race Heats Up

Feb. 10, 2011

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By Rob Dunning

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – In a game between two Top 25 teams with identical 20-3 records, the outcome was destined to be close. How the game was won was nearly just as predictable, as the feisty `Canes forced the visiting Terrapins into 23 turnovers in an 83-75 victory Thursday night at the BankUnited Center.

No. 20 Miami came into the game second in the country in steals per game (15.2) and second in turnover margin (+9.22), while No. 12 Maryland ranked 250th in turnovers (19.3). It was the top storyline coming in and it played out in front of a loud crowd there to see the most meaningful game of the Hurricanes’ season thus far.

Both the Hurricanes (21-3, 7-2) and the Terrapins (20-4, 6-3) had a lot riding on this game. Both teams were looking for a statement win that would not only help build their March resume, but keep them in the thick of things in the regular season ACC race.

In the end, it was the `Canes who came out on top behind yet another standout performance by star Shenise Johnson, who came just shy of a career-high with 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting. She was joined by usual suspects Riquna Williams and Morgan Stroman, who had 16 and 20 respectively to help put the `Canes over the 80-point mark for the 16th time in 24 games.

The win, Miami’s 22nd straight at home dating back to last season, wasn’t the easiest but they rarely are against a team like Maryland. The Hurricanes made it look easy in the first half, jumping out to a 45-31 halftime lead. The Terps slowly crept back in the second half – cutting the lead to as close as 72-70 with 2:43 remaining thanks to slew of fast break points – but Johnson hit four late free throws to seal the deal.

Ultimately though, the game down to Miami’s defensive tenacity. The Terps shot better (50.9-percent to 44.6-percent), had the rebounding edge (41-to-29) and had much more help from the bench (24-to-8) but none of it mattered.

The `Canes were relentless on defense, as they have been all season. Miami is used to forcing teams into turnovers. It is what they do best. And while it’s one thing to do it against Kennesaw State and Lipscomb, they are doing it against teams like Maryland, Georgia Tech and Boston College.

Look at Stroman’s line Thursday night. Twenty points, nine rebounds, five steals, three assists and two blocks. That is coming from a power forward.

Look at Williams’ line. She didn’t have the scoring night she is used to, but she contributed in every other aspect of the game, turning in four assists, three rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

This team does it all, but they do one thing especially well. When they want the basketball, they are going to go get it.

1st 2nd F
Miami 45 38 83
Maryland 31 44 75
Team Stat Comparison
Points 83 75
FG Made-Attempted 29-65 29-57
FG Percentage 44.6 50.9
3P Made-Attempted 7-17 3-11
3P Percentage 41.2 27.3
FT Made-Attempted 18-24 14-19
FT Percentage 75.0 73.7
Rebounds 29 41
Assists 16 16
Turnovers 9 23
Miami Stat Leaders Maryland
S. Johnson 30 Points 15 L. Kizer
M. Stroman 9 Rebounds 11 L. Kizer
Yderstrom/Williams 4 Assists 8 A. Barrett
M. Stroman 5 Steals 2 L. Kizer
Stroman/Williams 2 Blocks 1 Two Tied

Post-Game Notes

Tonight’s Starters
Coach Katie Meier started Shenise Johnson, Riquna Williams, Morgan Stroman, Stefanie Yderstrom, and Sylvia Bullock once again. The same group has started all 24 games this season – most in the country with one starting unit.

With the win, the Hurricanes are now…

  • 21-3 overall
  • 7-2 ACC
  • 18-0 at the BankUnited Center this season
  • Winners of 22 straight home games
  • Winners of 20 of 22 games
  • 3-3 against ranked teams this season

On the Rise
The `Canes now have their most ever ACC wins in a season with seven. The previous high belonged to the 2005-06 team who went 6-8 in conference play.

Today’s Opponent
The Terrapins came into Miami winners of their last seven games, including three road victories validating their No. 12/11 ranking. They came in ranked 11th in the nation in field goal percentage defense and second in rebounding margin.

Last season the `Canes won the only meeting up in College Park, Md. 80-77 ending the Terps 48-game home winning streak at Comcast Center.

When it counted most…
Maryland used their size to out-rebound Miami 41-29 throughout the game, but Miami pulled down the boards when it counted most bringing in the last three in the final minute of the game to secure the win.

With family in attendance seeing her play in Coral Gables for the first time, junior Shenise Johnson had tied a season-high with 30 points and tied her career-high with four three-pointers.

Staying Ahead
Riquna Williams converted a layup to give Miami the 10-8 lead with 17:50 in the first half, a lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the game. The `Canes would go up by as many as 14 and as little as two, but held course en route to the victory.

Protecting the Ball
The Hurricanes made the most of their possessions committing a season-low nine turnovers. On the other hand, Miami forced 23 Terrapins turnovers to convert them into 22 points of their own.

Morgan Stroman continued her breakout season putting up 20 points, nine rebounds, and five steals. The five steals were a game-high.