Friday the 13th turned out to be lucky for the Hurricanes as the team claimed its first victory over Wright State, 80-67, at the BankUnited Center in the season opener. Miami has won its season opener the last 18 years, a streak dating back to 1997-98. Katie Meier is 13-1 as a head coach in the first game of a new campaign, with 12 straight wins.
The Hurricanes and Raiders had never played each other before Friday afternoon. Wright State is one of four first-time opponents Miami is scheduled to face during the 2015-16 season.
“This is not a soft opening game. We are going to need all of our attention to be able to compete and beat them,” Meier said during the preseason press conference on Nov. 9. “Our returning team is itching for a game. We are not hoping that we have easy runs early on. We want to fine tune this team to see which lineups play well together.”
Junior guard Jessica Thomas led the team with 17 points while redshirt junior forward Keyona Hayes grabbed nine rebounds in her return to the Canes after missing all of last season with an ankle injury. Overall, the team shot 44.4 percent on three-pointers and 41.8 percent from the field while delivering 20 assists.
Packing the BankUnited Center with a record crowd of 4,034 people, chants of “Let’s go Canes” reverberated in the arena. The overwhelming support was provided by more than 3,000 kids in attendance for elementary day.
Quickly finding momentum, Wright State led the entirety of the first quarter. The Canes struggled to find the same team dynamic offensively and defensively, creating an 11-point deficit. Miami, however, succeeded in transforming the 11-point deficit into a six-point deficit going into the second quarter.
The second quarter allowed the Canes to find momentum and take the lead. With consecutive three pointers from senior guard Michelle Woods, the Canes trailed by one and then took the lead on a three-pointer from freshmen guard Laura Cornelius in the fourth minute. The Canes entered halftime up 40-37.
Miami dominated both the third and fourth quarters. Exhibiting a strong offense supplemented by an aggressive defense, the team never allowed Wright State back into the game.
The Canes next face Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m. Sunday in the BankUnited Center.
Feature photo courtesy HurricaneSports.com