The Hurricanes kicked off the 2015-16 season with an 83-53 win in an exhibition game over Nova Southeastern University (NSU) on Wednesday.
All five starters scored in double-figures for Miami, including redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes, who missed all of last season with a right ankle injury yet clearly didn’t lose a step. Hayes scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.
“I feel like I was ready right away,” Hayes said when asked about how she felt at the start of the game.
Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods also had a strong outing with 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists.
After starting the game with a 7-0 run, the Canes finished the first quarter up 22-8, doing an excellent job on defense forcing turnovers and difficult shots.
Despite a four-minute, 20-second scoring drought in the second quarter, the Canes took 36-18 lead into halftime. Miami shot 47 percent from the floor, but had some ball control issues with eight turnovers through two quarters.
After a quick start coming out of the half by NSU that led to two 3-pointers, the Canes came back even stronger. Junior guard Jessica Thomas hit back-to-back fast break layups to ignite the Miami offense. Woods hit a three to extend the lead to 17 with 5:33 left in the third, but the majority of Miami’s points were coming inside.
The Canes broke the game open in the fourth quarter, leading by 20 plus points through the majority of the final period. Junior guard Adrienne Motley came alive, scoring eight of her 12 points in the quarter. The final score ended up showcasing the Canes’ largest lead of 30 points.
Miami shot 53 percent from the field to 31 percent for NSU. The Canes got 52 of their 83 total points in the paint.
“That’s why we’re different this year,” Head Coach Katie Meier said when asked if the points in the paint were a part of the game plan. “Now they did not have a player on their roster, I don’t believe, that was over six-foot tall, so it was an appointed part of the game plan.”
Woods was the leading scorer for the Canes, and senior guard Alexis Murphy led the Sharks in scoring with 12 points. Miami’s only real issue in this game was the 16 turnovers, but the team made up for it by scoring 26 points off NSU’s 21 turnovers.
Miami’s freshmen all had some bright spots in this game. Freshman guard Laura Cornelius, who is one of the two players Miami recruited from the Netherlands, had an impactful all-around game, scoring seven points, pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
The other Dutch recruit, freshman forward Emese Hof, showed off her talent as well, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds in just 17 minutes.
“They’re gonna be great,” Coach Meier said when asked what she thought of the two Dutch freshmen. “I mean, I think everybody knows that.”
The Canes will host Wright State in their first regular season game on Friday, Nov. 13 in the BankUnited Center.