Having won four state championships at Lower Richland High, Morgan Stroman knows how to elevate her game in crunch time.
And the former McDonald's All-American has made an immediate impact as a freshman at Miami, stepping into the starting lineup and boosting the Hurricanes in two big ACC victories.
The 6-foot-1 forward scored 10 points, with two free throws in the final minute, in Miami's 80-77 victory against Maryland last month that snapped the Terrapins' 48-game home winning streak.
Stroman added six points and five rebounds, plus a block, in Miami's 80-69 victory against No. 9 North Carolina on Thursday.
"What surprises me most about Morgan is her court savvy and her ability to follow the scouting report," Miami coach Katie Meier said. "Like against Maryland, we were hammering home that we had to take their post off the dribble. And in the heat of the battle, in front of 5,000 people in a one-point game, she just followed her talent and did exactly what we needed her to do. She got to the line in crucial moments and helped us win the game.
"She has double figures in just about all of our big games. She knows when to show up."
Stroman feels she walked into the perfect situation at Miami (15-7, 3-5 ACC), which has only two upperclassmen and plenty of opportunities to play right away.
"I thought this would be a great opportunity for me," said Stroman, who is averaging 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. "I am not surprised with how well I'm playing. I just need to slow my game down. I kind of get excited on the floor."
"During the recruiting process, she surely saw that we had a big opening for her," Meier said. "I think that is what separated us from some of the other schools. We needed to shore up our wing positions.
Meier said Stroman's defensive game was above her offensive skills when she arrived at Coral Gables, but her offense has improved as the season has progressed.
"Morgan is very coachable," Meier said. "I knew she could come into our system as a freshman and play for sure because she is great defensively on traps and reads. She could also be a heck of an offensive player. She is generating a lot of points for us, but that is very different. If we played one-on-one, I think you'd see that she still has a way to go in that area. She has the game and mentality. It is just a matter of getting her to use all the weapons of her arsenal."
Meier knows Stroman will be an integral part of Miami's future hopes for an ACC championship.
"As soon as she develops an overall confidence, learns what she is truly capable of and pull everything out of her pocket when she needs to on the court, she is going to be a really special player," Meier said.