To say this weekend was one filled with emotion for Katie Meier’s team is probably an understatement.
With the Canes losing in Durham on Friday night to ACC rival Duke, Miami returned to Coral Gables to finish up its regular season against Boston College Sunday afternoon with an 88-42 blowout over the Eagles.
But even with the tough loss on Friday still fresh in their minds and Senior Day at the BankUnited Center in full swing, the Canes were determined as usual.
“We started off in the locker room talking about ‘Miami doesn’t lose two in a row’,” Meier said.”We just felt like we didn’t take care of business and we should have. So the start of this game, with all the emotions, was more about being business-like and taking care of what we needed to take care of and playing as hard as we possibly could.”
Fittingly enough, the seniors did just that when Shenise Johnson, Sylvia Bullock and Riquna Williams came out firing on all cylinders, scoring the first 14 points for the Canes and holding Boston College scoreless for almost six full minutes to begin the game.
The Canes led from start to finish and suffocated Boston College with ferocious defense, forcing 28 turnovers and scoring 31 points off those turnovers.
With the game turning into a blowout seemingly from the tip, there was enough playing time to go around for everybody, and when the seniors came out for the last time with 4:28 left in the game, they were treated to a standing ovation from the 2,000-plus fans as well as hugs by the bench players and Meier.
“It was just a bittersweet moment,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Williams led the team with 19 and 20 points, respectively, and helped the Canes to a 46-point victory that extended their home winning streak to 40. This is the second consecutive season that Miami has posted an undefeated record on its home court.
The game made it clear once again how much this senior class means to the team and how instrumental they were in transforming Miami from a bottom feeder into the top-tier program it is today.
“I don’t have any worries about them in the future,” Meier said. “They have developed, they have grown. We’ve been through so much, just things you couldn’t even imagine behind the scenes. We had a pact; we were going to get through this. We were going to build this program and we’re going to do it the right way.”
But it’s not just Meier who appreciates the value of her seniors. In a Canes tradition, the freshmen decorated the seniors’ lockers with flowers, streamers, pictures, candy and more.
The mood afterward was relaxed and joyous, but Meier knows that the postseason is just around the corner with round one of the ACC tournament coming up on Thursday.
“I am so proud right now, but we’re not done,” she said. “We’re not done.”