Thursday night's game was actually a win, specifically a 57-41 defeat of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. But both the coaches and the players were very disappointed with the way that they played in that game.
"It's like we were a completely different team," Williams said. "We weren't even ourselves Thursday night, and we all knew it and were disappointed and frustrated all at the same time, but we also knew that we could bounce back. I think it was just a totally different mindset and mental preparation for this game. We really let the dogs out today, that's what we basically called it."
"I think the game [on Thursday] really made an impact," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb. "Sometimes you don't have their attention after a win, you get their attention after losses.
"But I think we had their attention, and I think they really did take a lot of the suggestions and corrections to heart and really made some changes today,
"The biggest and foremost was their effort was so much better, but also their aggressiveness, assertiveness - I say all the 'A' words, aggressive, assertive, attacking - and then I run out because I didn't go to Vanderbilt, but those are three good ones."
Unlike Thursday night's game when the Commodores struggled for the entire first half, against Miami, Vanderbilt jumped out to a 13-1 lead in the first five minutes of the game and never looked back.
Williams scored all of her 22 points in the first half, including six 3-pointers. While Williams was scoring on the outside, Thomas and Sherwood were scoring inside, scoring eight points each in the half. That offense, coupled with defense that held the RedHawks to 21% shooting in the half, led to a 40-17 halftime lead for the Commodores.
In the second half, Williams didn't get the open shots that she had in the first half, but Stringfield knocked down three 3-pointers, while Sherwood, Thomas and senior post Nicole Jules were scoring in the paint. By midway through the second half, the lead ballooned past 30 points, and every Commodore available for action played at least ten minutes.
"This was a good Miami team," Balcomb said. "They've been close in every game, they're well-coached.
"There wasn't a difference in our opponent; there was a big difference between us . The opponents weren't very different, but you saw a different team today. Thank goodness!"
The team now has a 10-day break for final exams before returning to action on December 20 when they meet #6/7 UNC in Myrtle Beach.
"We'll use the break for the kids to get their legs fresh, their minds fresh and get away from basketball for a couple of days," said Balcomb. "Obviously they've got finals and they need to study and maybe focus on something else, then get the m geared up for a big game. That won't be difficult. I think they'll be extremely excited and motivated after a break having a team like North Carolina to play."
"This is a huge game for us, and we're definitely going to be taking care of ours elves off the court,"said Williams, "but we're really going to work hard to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for UNC because this is a really big opportunity for us. We'll be ready."