Stroman’s leads No. 9 Miami women past Michigan StThursday, Dec 1, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP)—Morgan Stroman missed a free throw for No. 9 Miami and no one minded.
She hit everything else and scored 20 points on a near-perfect night to lead the No. 9 Hurricanes past Michigan State 76-60 Thursday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“Morgan is so underrated,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “Our junior class has some perfect student-athletes. And she can stay in the shadows, then say, `I’m a McDonald’s All-American, too.”’
Stroman had 13 points at the break, hitting all four of her shots from the field and all five at the line for the much quicker Hurricanes (6-1). She finished 7-for-7 and 6-for-7, respectively.
“Coach has been telling me we need more energy,” Stroman said. “When I’m hyped, everyone else is hyped, too.”
Shenise Johnson added 13 points and Stefanie Yderstrom had 11 in Miami’s second-closest game this season.
Porsche Poole had 17 points for the foul-plagued Spartans (5-3), who played without starters Lykendra Johnson and Taylor Alton for most of the first half. Michigan State trailed 38-26 at halftime.
“I get frustrated talking to Lykendra about that at this stage of her career,” Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said of the Big Ten’s leading rebounder. “She has to learn not to let her frustrations carry over. But those are our two seniors. They need to play at a higher level.”
Courtney Schiffauer and Jasmine Hines each had nine points for Michigan State, while Becca Mills grabbed nine rebounds, all in the first 20 minutes.
Miami forced the Spartans into 19 turnovers and had 11 steals. That was more than enough when Michigan State shot just 3 for 16 on 3s.
“We absolutely had to turn them over,” Meier said. “That had 36 points in the paint, so what’s our choice?”
The Hurricanes shot 45 percent from the field, 30 percent on 3s (6 for 20) and 75 percent (12 for 16) on free throws. They had 15 assists and just 10 turnovers while running at every opportunity.
“To only have 10 turnovers the way we play was big,” Meier said. “We average 95 possessions a game, so that means we’re keeping 85 of them.”
The Spartans shot 42 percent from the field and 78 percent (7 for 9) at the line, and had a 37-34 edge in rebounds.
Miami point guard Riquna Williams went down with a left knee injury and was helped off the court with 1:16 left before halftime. She returned briefly in the second half and finished with nine points.
The Hurricanes built a 36-20 edge with pressure defense, drives to the basket and a steady procession to the foul line. The Spartans had 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, when they were outscored 11-3 at the line.
With Johnson and Alton back in the lineup, Michigan State pulled to 46-36 on an off-balance jumper by Poole and made it an eight-point game on a layup by Alton.
Miami kept the Spartans at bay with five of their six 3-pointers in the second half, two from deep in the right corner and one from up top by Yderstrom.
“I absolutely love this team,” Meier said of a group that lost to Tennessee by 16, then beat Prairie View A&M by 81. “And we had a great experience playing up in Anchorage. If not for that, I think we would’ve lost this game. That was a great lesson for us.”
But Michigan State rallied again behind Schiffauer’s aggression and Hines’ strength inside. Annalise Pickrel’s jumper with 6:14 to go pulled the Spartans to 59-52 with 6:14 left.
“We cut it to seven but just didn’t make a couple of plays when we needed to,” Merchant said. “I liked our fight in the second half and the way we competed. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Stroman finally missed a free throw but made her second attempt, then converted a layup on a pass from Shenise Johnson to make it a 10-point game. On the Hurricanes’ next possession, Yderstrom connected again from 21 feet to make it 65-52.