Another day, another banner unveiling for the University of Miami basketball program.
It was the women’s turn on Sunday as the Hurricanes’ 2022-23 Elite Eight Banner hung from the Watsco Center rafters for UM’s 78-39 win against Fordham. The men’s team had its Final Four banner ceremony Friday night before its win over UCF.
Both teams are 2-0 after the first week of the season.
“There are a lot of banners up there, and that’s growth,” UM coach Katie Meier said. “I remember my first year here and I was like, `Yay, we got into the NIT’ and being so excited about it because that was the first step. So, now, to look up and see how many banners is pretty cool. That one right there is the best one (pause) so far. We’re hoping for some better. We want as big as the men’s.”
The UM women dominated from the start Sunday afternoon, racing to a 23-8 first quarter lead with 15 of the points off Fordham turnovers and an 18-2 edge on points in the paint.
By halftime, the Hurricanes’ lead had stretched to 44-16 and all nine players on the roster had scored. Arizona transfer Lemyah Hylton had another big game, scoring a career-high 17 points. She also recorded a career-high in three points made, going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
“Lemyah is such a great story; she’s played twice at Miami and got career highs both times,” Meier said, referring to Hylton’s then-career best 14 points in her UM debut. “I think the sky’s the limit for her. She’s curious. She wants to be great.”
Hylton, a 5-11 sophomore guard, came off the bench in the first quarter and made an immediate impact. She had a scare late in the second quarter, going down hard with an apparent knee injury and limping off the court. But she returned after halftime and didn’t miss a beat, making a trio of three-pointers after the break.
Her teammates doused her with water after the game to celebrate her grit and her great game.
“The team loves her, although they almost killed her in the locker room,” Meier said, smiling. “We’re really happy for her.”
Hylton said: “I think I was just a little scared and a little dramatic. I got hit in my knee a little bit, but I came back in, went to our athletic trainer and everything was perfectly fine.”
After playing sparingly her first season at Arizona, Hylton is already feeling at home with the Hurricanes. She said the reason is the confidence Meier and her new teammates instill in her.
“They’re super encouraging and we all have that competitive joy we play with and that makes me feel comfortable,” she said.
All four transfers played significant minutes. Guard Jaida Patrick, who played at Duke and Columbia before joining Miami, started and scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. She tied Kyla Oldacre with a game-high eight rebounds. Meier said Oldacre was a big reason Fordham never got to the free throw line.
Shayeann Day-Wilson, a Duke transfer guard, had seven points and six assists. Pepperdine transfer Ally Stedman played 15 minutes and added five points.
The Hurricanes’ returning starters, Jasmyne Roberts and Ja’Leah Williams, also made big contributions. Roberts had six points and seven rebounds. Williams added nine points and a game-high seven assists, but also committed seven turnovers.
Meier was disappointed with the team’s 25 turnovers, including 19 from the starters. Patrick turned the ball over five times and Lazaria Spearman four times. The coach said cleaning up the turnover ratio is a a key goal going forward.
The Canes are back home Friday at 5 p.m. against Southern University.