The Hurricanes took down Bethune-Cookman 55-47 at the BankUnited Center on Sunday to go to 2-0 this season.
The Canes out-rebounded the Wildcats 43-26 and controlled the pace of the game, taking 17 more shots. The team struggled from behind the three-point line in the first half but got it together in the second half, shooting 6-of-13 from range.
Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods led the team in scoring with 17 points, including four three-pointers. Redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore forward Erykah Davenport had six key points in the third quarter and added six rebounds.
“I thought the post players in the second half really, especially Erykah and Key, just got in there and they did the adjustments and then that freed up [Woods],” Head Coach Katie Meier said. “Then she really changed the game.”
The Canes got off to a sluggish start, only shooting 36 percent from the field in the first quarter. The team was able to get open shots but could not convert on them. Miami shot a miserable 1-of-8 from three in the opening 10 minutes while Bethune-Cookman went 4-of-5 from distance.
The Wildcats (0-1) continued to play sound defense against the Canes in the second period. They clogged up the inside using an effective 2-3 zone that forced Miami to settle for jump shots. The Wildcats consistently switched well on defense, causing the Canes to struggle on offense.
The Canes created turnovers against the Wildcats toward the end of the second quarter, but it was not enough to gain the lead as Miami trailed 21-19 at the half. Miami out-rebounded Bethune-Cookman 21-10 in the first two quarters, which normally translates well to the scorecard. However, the Canes only converted six second-chance points from 12 offensive rebounds.
Miami started the second half on a positive note with Woods hitting three straight three-pointers to put the Canes up by five with 7:37 left in the third quarter. The team’s ball movement vastly improved in this period, suddenly finding holes in the Wildcats’ defense.
The Canes made a concerted effort to get the ball inside to Davenport in the third. She made effective moves in the post on three straight offensive possessions and converted on all of them. The team led 39-33 going into the fourth quarter.
Although still not shooting a great field goal percentage, Miami continued to control the pace of the game for the entire fourth quarter to pull off the eight-point win.
“Obviously we are searching for our offense and I think Bethune-Cookman did a nice job in their zone [with]changing their defenses and taking things away that we need in order to be successful,” Meier said. “I also think that the shots that we got early, they were good shots, but when they don’t go in we have to make an adjustment.”
The Canes next face Old Dominion at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Norfolk, Virginia.