Texas-Pan American falls at No. 7 Miami, 83-37

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)—A season ago, Texas-Pan American took on the likes of Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to gain experience against big-time programs.

The results were predictable—all losses, all blowouts.

It was more of the same for the Broncs on Friday against No. 7 Miami.

Shenise Johnson finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, Riquna Williams scored 16 points and the Hurricanes pulled away steadily over the final 24 minutes to beat Texas-Pan American 83-37 in the season opener for both teams.

The Broncs (0-1) were outrebounded 52-34, turned the ball over 35 times and shot just 28 percent.

“We found out what you have to do and how hard to you have to play to play against a team like this,” Broncs coach Denny Downing said. “I think we learned from their passion, because obviously they’re very passionate about what they’re doing.”

LaQuita Garner scored 14 for the Broncs, who got 11 rebounds from Donna Jackson.

Stefanie Yderstrom and Morgan Stroman scored 12 each for the Hurricanes (1-0), who visit No. 3 Tennessee on Tuesday. Miami’s lead was only 24-13 with less than 4 minutes left in the first half before the Hurricanes hit five straight shots, the last two by Yderstrom, to get rolling.

“Not quite sure exactly why we were so awkward to start the game,” said Meier, who won the AP’s national coach of the year award last season. “I don’t know a better word. It just felt very awkward. There was no flow, there was no rhythm, there was no energy and that was really disappointing. … I’m sure it had to do a lot with Texas-Pan Am.”

When Texas-Pan American played some of the Big 12’s toughest teams last season, they were beaten by an average of 50.8 points. This one didn’t seem as though it would turn into one of those blowouts, not the way the Broncs hung around for much of the first half.

In the end, they just didn’t have an answer for Johnson, who was nearly perfect on the day. She shot 6 for 9 from the field, made all eight of her foul shots and controlled the pace for the Hurricanes.

“The opponent is our opponent,” Johnson said. “But if Miami does what Miami is supposed to do, we’ll win. I don’t think we were looking ahead. I think we were just worried about Miami.”

And while it was the beginning of a season with Final Four hopes, Miami’s start was more than a little rusty.

Miami was 6 for 26 from the field in the first 16 minutes, an uncharacteristic clip for a team that shot 43 percent last season. Here’s a great example of how cold the Hurricanes were in the opener: There was one possession where four players all missed shots and Miami came away empty, a series that had coach Katie Meier pivoting around and taking a somewhat purposeful walk a few steps down the sideline.

Eventually, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season co-champions got going, making their final five shots of the opening half. Yderstrom hit a 3-pointer with 1:22 left to push the lead to 33-13, and she converted a nifty reverse layup about a minute later to keep the margin at 20 points going into halftime.

So while Miami couldn’t have liked the offensive numbers in the first 20 minutes, the defense made up for at least some of the trouble at the other end. In the first half, Texas-Pan American had 21 shot attempts—and 20 turnovers, unable to handle Miami’s pressure.

In the second half, the offensive surge kept going. The Hurricanes made seven of their first 13 shots after intermission, capped by a three-point play by Pepper Wilson with 13:14 left that gave Miami a 54-28 lead.

“Our bench did a fantastic job of changing our rhythm,” Meier said. “And that’s fun.”