WBB Cruises Past Vanderbilt, 90-65
By Alex Schwartz
WINTER PARK, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s basketball dominated Vanderbilt from start to finish Thursday night, rolling to a 90-65 win in its Florida Sunshine Classic opener.
Buoyed by impressive double-doubles from both senior forward/center Emese Hof and redshirt junior Beatrice Mompremier, No. 24/23 Miami (10-2) led for all but 89 seconds at Rollins College’s Warden Arena.
“I know our post players did a great job. Their stats were ridiculous, but really the guards set the tempo,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “I thought we were running and getting out so quickly that Vanderbilt had tough choices to make in defensive transitions and that’s where I felt like our posts got a lot of isolations. Had we not played with pace, I know Vanderbilt would’ve had their doubling schemes, but they couldn’t do it because we were playing so fast. As successful and dominant as the post looks, I’m really proud of my guards.”
The Hurricanes immediately seized control of the game, posting a 23-2 run in the first quarter that featured 12-0 and 11-0 stretches sandwiched around a Vanderbilt (4-7) basket. Behind 11 points by Hof, Miami led by as many as 18 in the opener and held a 29-14 advantage when it ended.
Miami kept its hot shooting going into the second quarter and held an 18-of-24 mark from the field, including a 15-of-17 clip inside the arc, after 14 minutes of action. The Hurricanes’ 21-point lead at the intermission, 51-30, was one point shy of its highest margin in the opening half.
The Hurricanes’ 51 points were seven more than their prior top total before the break this season and five shy of their best in either half. Hof’s 17 points through 20 minutes were one shy of the most in a half by a Hurricane in 2018-19.
Miami upped its cushion as high as 30 points four times in the third session, but the Commodores closed on an 8-0 run to make it 72-50 heading into the fourth period.
The Hurricanes scored the first nine points of the final frame, quickly squashing any hopes of a furious Vanderbilt comeback and taking their largest advantage of the night, 81-50. Miami’s final 25-point margin was its third-largest of the season and its point total was its second-highest.
Hof led all players with a season-high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting, finishing one point shy of her career high, tying her top mark in makes and adding 11 rebounds. It marked her second straight 20-point game, as well as the ninth double-double of her career and fourth this season. Additionally, Hof improved her career field goal percentage to 54.6, taking over current possession of first place in program history.
Mompremier logged 16 points and a game-best 13 rebounds, notching her 18th double-double, including her eighth this season and third in a row.
“Emese just makes great reads and can tell whether the double-team is coming; she can tell whether she has an iso,” Meier said. “Beatrice is so great on over-the-top plays. So, the combination of the two of them is really good and they’re really starting to play well with each other.”
Sophomore guard Mykea Gray posted 18 points for Miami, her second-most this season, on 7-of-9 shooting, adding four assists and three steals, while committing zero turnovers. Redshirt junior guard Laura Cornelius was the fourth Hurricane in double figures, tallying 11 points and a co-game-high six assists.
Redshirt junior center Mariella Fasoula paced the Commodores with 19 points, while junior guard Lalea Carter added 14 and junior guard Cierra Walker chipped in with 11.
The Hurricanes concluded the game with a 52-32 advantage in points in the paint, as well as a 39-23 edge in rebounding. Miami went 39-of-63 (61.9 percent) from the floor, setting season highs in both makes and percentage, while ranking second in the ACC this season in terms of percentage.
Friday, the Hurricanes play their second and final game of the Florida Sunshine Classic against Alabama at 6:15 p.m.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes improved 2-1 in their all-time series with Vanderbilt, which dates back to 1992, but had not featured a matchup since 2003.
– Miami’s 29 points in the first period were one shy of their high this season (30 in the third at FIU, 11/6/18) and two off the program record (31 in the third against North Carolina, 1/26/17).
– The Hurricanes shot 62.2 percent (23-of-37) in the first half, their best clip before the break this season and their second-best in either half, trailing a 65.5 percent (19-of-29) mark in the second half against Hartford (11/11/18).
– Five different Hurricanes have combined for a total of 10 20-point games across nine of Miami’s 12 games this season, with four by Hof, who scored the first points of each quarter but the second Thursday night, the most of any player on the team.
– Cornelius moved past 550 points at Miami, Gray eclipsed 100 assists in her career and freshman forward Jamir Huston surpassed 100 minutes played as a Hurricane.