No. 7 Miami 83, Texas-Pan American 37

A season ago, Texas-Pan American took on the likes of Baylor,

Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to gain experience against

big-time programs.

The results were predictable – all losses, all blowouts.

It was more of the same for the Broncs on Friday against No. 7

Miami.

Shenise Johnson finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and nine

assists, Riquna Williams scored 16 points and the Hurricanes pulled

away steadily over the final 24 minutes to beat Texas-Pan American

83-37 in the season opener for both teams.

The Broncs (0-1) were outrebounded 52-34, turned the ball over

35 times and shot just 28 percent.

”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, who got 11 rebounds

from Donna Jackson.

Stefanie Yderstrom and Morgan Stroman scored 12 each for the

Hurricanes (1-0), who visit No. 3 Tennessee on Tuesday. 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

Yderstrom, to get rolling.

”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.”

When Texas-Pan American played some of the Big 12’s toughest

teams last season, they were beaten 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

half.

In the end, they just didn’t have an answer for Johnson, who was

nearly perfect on the day. She shot 6 for 9 from the field, made

all eight of her foul shots and controlled the pace for the

Hurricanes.

”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 coach Katie

Meier pivoting around and taking a somewhat purposeful walk a few

steps down the sideline.

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

halftime.

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

pressure.

In the second half, the offensive surge 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.”