University of Miami women’s basketball coach Katie Meier on Monday night got her first look at the new incarnation of the Hurricanes, following the graduation of stars Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams.
This is what she learned during UM’s 85-63 exhibition win over Division II neighbor Nova Southeastern:
Senior guard Stefanie Yderstrom is still deadly from beyond the arc.
The steady Swede led the Hurricanes with 19 points, including four three-pointers. She was also more vocal than in past years, a conscious effort to establish herself as a leader.
Sophomore Suriya “Ray-Ray” McGuire is every bit as exciting as Meier hoped she would be when she recruited her out of Minneapolis, Minn.
The wiry 5-11 guard was all over the court, slashing to the basket, grabbing rebounds and bursting with energy. She finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting with six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
McGuire is a Spider-Man fanatic, and Meier has noted that she plays like the superhero with her seemingly elastic limbs and leaping ability. She was a last-minute addition to the starting lineup after Michelle Woods’ eyes swelled up in the locker room before the game, apparently an allergic reaction.
“I tell her, ‘They haven’t seen anything like you before,” Meier said of McGuire. “I knew she’d burst on to the scene tonight. She’s been trying to take all this amazing athleticism and fit it into a system to where she’s not overdoing it. She’s so much fun to watch, so fun to coach. She’s a super special young lady. She’s ready for the shoes she has to fill.”
She also learned that freshmen Caprice Dennis, Keyona Hayes and 6-6 Macy Keen can contribute. Dennis played 18 minutes, Hayes led with nine rebounds and Keen scored four points in two minutes. Seniors Morgan Stroman, Jessica Capers and Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson added 10 points apiece.
The Sharks gave the Hurricanes a scare, tying the score at 49-49 with 13 minutes to go. But UM went on a 25-5 run and put the game away. Amanda Burakoski led Nova with 20 points, and Danielle Robinson, a South Broward High grad, added 16.
“Nova Southeastern is a very well-coached team, and hats off to my team for responding,” Meier said. “Second half they made a well-earned run, made 5 of 6 three-pointers. During the timeout we said, ‘They’re on a run, this is good for us, let’s see how we respond’… and my players didn’t freak out. They stayed calm, shared the ball, didn’t try to make hero plays. There was no panic out there. I have exhaled knowing we’re going to be all right.”
UM opens the regular season Friday night at home against North Florida at 8 p.m., following the men’s opener against Stetson at 5:30 p.m.