The Hurricanes women’s basketball team is coming off a weekend in which they enjoyed overwhelming victories against struggling ACC opponents.
On Sunday evening, the Canes were able to come away with their eighth straight win against Boston College, beating the Eagles 88-57 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Miami built a double-digit lead with just more than 14 minutes left in the opening half and never let that lead trail into single digits. Seniors Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams combined for 31 points in the opening half.
Last Thursday, in what coaches and players later described as an “ugly, physical” contest, Miami beat Wake Forest 64-39 at the BankUnited Center in front of 1,648 fans.
The Canes won their 36th straight home game as senior Shenise Johnson recorded her 33rd career double-double and filled up the stat sheet, finishing with 10 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and two steals.
“It seemed like she had 10 rebounds before the first meeting,” coach Katie Meier said after the game. “I mean, I was really impressed with her energy. At halftime she had 10 and no one else had more than three rebounds.”
But while Johnson’s rebounding numbers were superb in the first half, the usually-prolific scorer struggled offensively early on.
“My shot wasn’t falling,” Johnson said. “So I said, ‘OK, let me do something else.’ I started to distribute the ball and get my other teammates shots. They did a great job of knocking it down. But nobody put a body on me so I’m like, ‘something I can always do is rebound.’”
Nothing came easy early on for Miami, as Wake Forest was able to hang with the Canes and keep the game close.
“They kind of had more energy than us to start the game,” Meier said. “But what happened is I think after they kind of got through that, I think our defense just took over.”
As the defense started to clamp down and big shots from junior Stefanie Yderstrom, freshman Michelle Woods and Johnson started to fall, the Canes were able to put some distance between themselves and their opponents midway through the first half.
Guard Riquna Williams also chipped in with nine points of her own to make it 33-20 at halftime.
Miami carried that momentum into the second half, where they led comfortably by 12 or more points until the final buzzer sounded. The Canes took control of the game and never looked back, finally finding their offensive rhythm and improving their field goal percentage significantly.
Also, with renewed energy on the defensive end, Wake Forest was shut out for the final 7:03 of the game.
With Morgan Stroman out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, Miami needed other players to step up in her place and provide the energy that Stroman is known for.
“She brings the energy to us,” Johnson said. “We kind of all collectively took that on as our own role, because that’s something we can do. It doesn’t involve talent. But we miss Stro. I thought Jessica Capers and Maria Brown did a great job of getting rebounds for us, being strong inside the paint, just being able to catch and finish. That’s something that Stro did well for us. I think they give us this power set that we’re not used to seeing Miami have.”
Demon Deacons coach Mike Petersen, whose team held Miami to one of its fewest point totals of the season, said afterwards: “Tonight, we learned Miami is a lot better than us.”
The Hurricanes have a week off before coming back to the BankUnited Center to take on the Clemson Tigers this coming Sunday. Williams needs just six points to become the fifth Cane in program history to reach 2,000 points for her career, after Johnson became the fourth earlier this season.