@MiamiWBB Routs UNF in 2013-14 Opener
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Miami Hurricanes jumped out to an 11-0 lead just over four minutes in
and never looked back, routing visiting UNF 79-39 in the season opener for both teams at the BankUnited Center Friday night.
Aided by 18 first-half turnovers from the Ospreys, Miami’s early advantage reached as high as 24 points twice in the opening 20 minutes. It was more of the same for the Hurricanes in the second period, as the hosts’ lead ballooned to 43 points less than three minutes before the final whistle.
“That’s a great debut for this team, with a lot of answers to a lot of questions that we had coming in,” head coach Katie Meier said.
The Hurricanes (1-0) were paced offensively by a career high-tying 16 points from senior Krystal Saunders and 13 from freshman Jessica Thomas in her collegiate debut. UNF was led by junior Destinee Smith’s 10 points.
Meier’s staff was expecting an outpour from Saunders, who went 5-of-8 from the field and scored 15 of her 16 points via three-pointers.
“Krystal’s been shooting lights out in practice, so the fact she went 5-for-6 from three was no surprise at all to us,” Meier said. “She’s been breaking records in all of our shooting the drills in the preseason. All her hard work paid off tonight.”
The first career three-pointer from Thomas at the 14:34 mark put Miami ahead 11-0, and her second at 8:57 gave Miami a commanding 28-5 advantage. 31 of Miami’s 39 first-half points came from the team’s guard rotation, including nine from junior Suriya McGuire, eight from Thomas and seven each from Saunders and freshman Adrienne Motley.
“I thought the story early was Krystal and Suriya,” Meier said. “They were really focused, really business-like, to the point where I was wondering if they’re okay. There was a different feel out of those two. They put their hard hat on and were ready to show out a little bit tonight.”
Equally as impressive as the team’s veteran guards was the play of Thomas and Motley, who combined for 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals and four assists in their debuts.
“I was surprised I wasn’t as nervous,” Thomas said about her first game. “I think that has a lot to do with our coaching staff and our players. We’re so close, have such good chemistry, and we all know we all have to step up at one time.”
Meier was excited about the performance of her team’s youngest players, who looked unfazed by the spotlight in their highly-anticipated debuts.
“They’re exciting, they’re fun they’re competitive, they’re emotional,” she said. “They’re all those things, we’re going to live and die by them, but I think they did a great job by us tonight.”
The Hurricanes put the game away with a strong start to the second half, opening the period on a 24-7 run beginning at the 15:19 mark. With the Ospreys chipping away at Miami’s lead, the Hurricanes reeled off 17 straight points, including three-pointers from Saunders, Williams and junior transfer Necole Sterling, to take a 63-27 advantage.
The Hurricanes outrebounded the Ospreys just 48-42, but recorded 17 steals compared to only six from UNF. Miami shot 44.6% from the field (29-of-65), and held the Ospreys to just 23.7% (14-of-59) shooting.