Miami pockets women's Shootout title

Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 24, 2011 

The dynamic guard tandem of Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams powered an impressive Miami attack in the women's championship game at the Great Alaska Shootout on Thursday.

"They really do support each other," Miami coach Katie Meier said. "I know they can control the game for me."

The seventh-ranked Hurricanes (4-1) controlled the majority of their 92-72 win over South Florida (4-3) at the Sullivan Arena, pulling away in a dominant second half.

Williams, the top scorer in the ACC last season, led the Hurricanes with 17 points, and Johnson, last season's ACC player of the year, turned in 11 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Though Johnson hit just 4 of 12 shots, she provided a game-changing score for the second straight game. A day after hitting a 3-pointer that gave the Hurricanes the lead over UAA for good, Johnson made a steal near midcourt and took the ball all the way to the other end for a layup. It was Johnson's first field goal and it gave Miami a 22-20 lead midway through the first half. The Hurricanes (4-1) didn't trail again.

Anchorage's Sylvia Bullock made solid contributions in the victory. The 6-foot-2 South graduate was the team's third highest scorer, pumping in 10 points to go with four rebounds, two blocks and three assists.

The Hurricanes built the lead to 44-32 by halftime and went on a 15-2 run to start the second half. Williams repeatedly drove to the hole as effectively as she shot from the perimeter, nailing two 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws.

Williams was part of an aggressive Miami offense that went to free-throw line 24 times. The Hurricanes made 18 of those free throws, nearly reaching one of their standard goals.

"We have a team goal," Meier said. "We try to make more free throws than the other team attempts."

South Florida went 16 of 20 from the free throw line, but many of those points came late, when the game was firmly in Miami's grasp. The Hurricanes made 13 free throws in the first half, compared to just four attempted by the Bulls.

Miami looked nearly unstoppable in the second half of both of its Shootout victories, and Meier credited the late-game success to increased depth on her roster. She said her starters are playing less minutes than they did in last season's ACC title run, but more efficient minutes.

"Now the starters are fresh when they're coming out in the second half," she said.

The Bulls looked like they might make a game of it early. They seemed to be controlling the paint early with the help of 6-foot-4 center Akila McDonald. She scored six of the Bulls' first nine points, but slowed down on her way to finishing with 10 points. Jasmine Wynn led the Bulls with a game-high 21 points and pulled in six rebounds.

Fernandez said he was disappointed with the loss, but thrilled with the experience he and his team had in Alaska. Some of his players participated in their first snowball fight and first ride in a dog sled.

"A lot of our student athletes will never get a chance to come to Alaska again."

SOUTH FLORIDA (72) -- McDonald 4-7 2-2 10, Rowe 3-12 2-2 8, Wynne 7-15 6-8 21, Saunders 4-13 3-4 11, Smith 4-8 1-2 10, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Conner 3-4 0-0 6, Bernard 0-1 0-0 0, Flowers 1-3 0-0 2, Stringfield 1-4 2-2 4, Carn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-68 16-20 72.

MIAMI (92) -- Stroman 2-5 2-2 6, Bullock 3-3 4-5 10, R. Williams 5-11 5-6 17, Yderstrom 4-8 0-0 9, Johnson 4-12 2-2 11, Woods 2-3 1-2 7, Saunders 3-7 0-0 6, Hobgood 0-1 0-0 0, S. Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Capers 1-4 0-0 2, McGuire 3-4 1-4 7, Wilson 3-5 2-2 8, Brown 3-6 1-1 7. Totals 34-70 18-24 92.

South Florida 32 40 -- 72

Miami 44 48 -- 92

3-point goals -- South Florida 2-8 (Wynne 1-3, Smith 1-3, Conner 0-1, Saunders 0-1), Miami 6-11 (R. Williams 2-3, Yderstrom 1-3, Johnson 1-1, Woods 2-3, Saunders 0-1). Rebounds -- South Florida 34 (Wynne 6), Miami 46 (Johnson 9). Total fouls -- South Florida 19, Miami 18. Fouled out -- Wilson. Assists -- South Florida 19 (Wynne 6), Miami 26 (Johnson 9). Turnovers -- South Florida 19 (Smith 5), Miami 23 (R. Williams 4). Blocked shots -- South Florida 5 (Johnson 2), Miami 3 (Bullock 2). Steals -- South Florida 11 (Rowe 3, Smith 3), Miami 10 (3 with 2). Officials -- Daily, Tracy, Corson.

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