For the Canes it was business as usual Sunday afternoon at the Bank United Center.
With a full week of rest, Miami returned to Coral Gables to beat Clemson by a final score of 68-47. The Canes stifled the Lady Tigers by using the press extensively, forcing 21 turnovers and scoring 18 points off those Tiger miscues.
Shenise Johnson led the team with 19 points, followed by Riquna Williams who netted a total of 15 including her 2000 career point on a three-pointer midway through the first half.
Williams’ joy was short-lived though, after a collision with two fellow Canes knocked her out of the game with 14:53 to go in the second half. The senior guard stayed down for a considerable amount of time before being helped off the court by coaches and trainers. Her status for the upcoming game against North Carolina is uncertain, but Head Coach Katie Meier said afterwards that the team doctors are concerned because the affected areas are the head and neck.
Aside from Williams’ injury though there were plenty of bright spots for the Canes.
Johnson snatched a team-high 15 rebounds to record yet another double-double. Afterwards, Meier praised her as a model of consistency even though injuries have hampered the Canes as of late:
“She has got to keep working through this roster and it’s going to change, matchup to matchup, where our strengths lie, what the other team is giving us, but one consistent thing has been and continues to be Shenise Johnson.”
Meier also pointed out how some of the younger players have been able to learn from Johnson’s experience and excellent play.
Freshmen Michelle Woods and Suriya McGuire, for instance, who booked 20 and 14 minutes of playing time respectively.
“Whoever practices the best gets minutes,” said Meier, “and throughout the course of the six month season it changes and that’s why I say I am so blessed with the consistency of having my seniors, because the other ones kind of ebb and flow and cycle through, but without question I thought Michelle and Suriya have been practicing great and so we went to them early. Michelle Woods has a great mind; she is a very, very smart basketball player, good instincts.”
As it has been the case throughout the season, Miami was in complete control of the game all throughout the contest. After Clemson drew first blood and briefly led by one with 16:48 to go in the first half, the Canes took over and put Miami in front comfortably the rest of the game.
With 5:54 to go in the game, the senior guard from Henrietta, N.Y., stole the ball, snagged the offensive rebound after Woods missed the layup and then proceeded to score to help the Canes to their largest lead of the game.
“She’s just a real crafty player,” said Clemson Head Coach Itoro Coleman. “She can shoot the three, she can take you off the dribble, she can guard the post, she’s a nice all-around player.”
Next, Miami will face off against the last team to beat them, when the Tar Heels travel to Coral Gables for a Wednesday night showdown at the Bank United Center.