The Miami Hurricanes were unfazed by the tall order of business they dealt with in a 67-35 win over the Davidson Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at Bank-United Center.
Film of the visiting team revealed women who were dominant, athletic, and towering in height at the post, and coach Katie Meier was eager to see if her team was ready to evolve as it sought its fifth consecutive win.
“I wanted to see them be certain, and play with the passion and intensity we need to,” Meier said.
She wondered if her team was ready to “take care of business,” and lock in on certain players, including 6-4 Davidson forward Sophia Aleksandravicius, who was coming off a 30-point, 15-rebound effort in her team’s most recent game.
Aleksandravicius only managed five shots Saturday, largely because of a relentless Miami defense fronted by senior Morgan Stroman. Stroman’s second double-double of the season — 17 points and 13 rebounds — paved the way for Miami (7-1) to render Davidson (3-4) helpless.
“A couple of Morgan Stroman’s blocks in that first half, I think I would have stopped shooting too,” Meier said. “It was incredible, the statement Morgan made with her defensive energy.”
Stroman and the Canes held the Wildcats scoreless through the first five minutes of the game. She added six assists, four blocks and four steals in 26 minutes.
“Davidson is a very good team,” Meier said. “They’ve played some tough teams on the road and they were beating some opponents that really had our attention, so our team took them very seriously.”
At the half, Meier asked her players if they were OK with their nine-point. They responded with a 10-0 run to open the second half, allowing Davidson to shoot only 25.4 percent from the field.
Connecting well with Stroman was Krystal Saunders, who assisted on the layup that slammed the door on Davidson as UM took a 49-28 lead with just over eight minutes remaining to play.
Stroman returned the favor, finding the open guard for a three-pointer. Saunders matched her season best with 13 points, shooting 50 percent from beyond the three-point arc, and adding six rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Freshman Keyona Hayes was 5for 5 from the field, and played Stroman-like defense with four rebounds and four blocks in the win., which was UM’s second of the season by 30-plus points.
“She can catch anything you throw at her,” Stroman said. “That rebounding is what we need: Another smaller post like me.”