Eleven days after having its 41-game home winning streak snapped, the Miami women’s basketball team picked up a victory that was as big as any it had during that 33-month stretch.
The Hurricanes defeated No. 6 Penn State, 69-65, on Thursday behind a tremendous defensive effort from start to finish. Miami (5-1) forced PSU (5-1) into 29 turnovers, including 20 in the first half.
“I think we beat five [ranked Maryland] last year . . . but I kind of prefer this one because we had such as gap that we had to close,” UM head coach Kaite Meier said of the win. “In the other one maybe they were five and maybe we were 10 or something, but for us, I do believe we’re a top 25 team. I do believe we shouldn’t have been in the rankings after we lost to Tennessee playing the way we did. I don’t really care about the rankings, but are we good? We are legit.”
UM had three different players with at least four steals on the night, as the ‘Canes came away with 19 total. Senior Morgan Stroman led the way with five thefts, to go along with her team-high 15 points.
“It was team defense,” Meier said of the forced turnovers. “We did a couple things I don’t want to give away, but we did a couple things that no one else has done to them in terms of some timing and how we played certain screens and stuff.”
Miami led 8-0 at the first media timeout, as the Lady Lions took over four minutes to score a point. From there, the teams played fairly even ball and UM led 36-29 at the break without trailing the entire half.
A layup by senior Stefanie Yderstrom, who tied a career high with seven assists, gave Miami a nine-point lead, 42-33, with 16:45 to go. The Lady Lions then went on a huge run to not only get back in the game, but take their first lead.
Led by guards Maggie Lucas and Alex Bentley, Penn State outscored Miami 20-7 over the next eight-plus minutes and held a 53-49 advantage with 8:21 remaining.
Miami responded with a 7-0 run of its own, with the first five points coming from Yderstrom, including a 3-pointer to start it off.
“It was open shots,” Yderstrom said. “I have confidence from the coaches. They’re just telling me to shoot, shoot.”
The two teams then went back and forth and Bentley tied the score at 62 with 41 seconds left.
UM sophomore guard Michelle Woods quickly answered, converting a 3-point play with 35 ticks remaining to put the Hurricanes up by three.
Twelve seconds later, Lucas buried a 3-pointer to even the score at 65.
UM sophomore guard Suriya McGuire drove hard to the rack at the other end and converted a layup to put Miami up with the clock showing 0:14. Bentley missed a shot for PSU and Woods iced the game with a pair of free throws, making the final score 69-65.
The win was Miami’s third in a row and the Hurricanes return to the court tonight at 7:05 p.m., hosting Alcorn State at the BUC.