This season, the women’s basketball team took a step in the right direction by earning a post-season berth in the NIT Tournament and getting through the first round. Miami’s season concluded with an 83-76 loss against the Houston Cougars Saturday in the 2nd round of the NIT.
Senior Shelia James led the Hurricanes with 18 points and fellow senior Martha Bodley chipped in with 17 points and 9 rebounds.
“Our seniors did a phenomenal job leading the team in the end,” said head coach Ferne Labati.
The Hurricanes were a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament that ultimately got left out on selection Sunday probably due to a couple of early season losses and a 2nd round exit in the Big East tournament.
“Our early season losses affected our RPI…If we wouldn’t have had either the loss to South Florida or to Kentucky, we probably would have gotten in and they would have taken six teams in the Big East.” said Coach Labati.
The Hurricanes showed a lot of growth and they played good basketball throughout most of the season. The team had quality wins against Texas, Boston College, and Virginia Tech. In addition, Miami had a tough first round NIT come from behind win against ACC team Georgia Tech.
“We were down nine at halftime and we came back strong. It showed a lot of heart to win that game,” said junior guard Megan Saake.
The team received some individual honors this season. Chanivia Broussard was a 2nd Team All-Big East player and Megan Saake won the Big-East Defensive Player of the Year award. For Saake, this award is a tribute to the heart she has shown as a co-captain of the team throughout the season.
“Megan Saake is the symbol of hard work. If you work hard, it will pay off,” said Coach Labati.
Saake was the first Miami player in history to win this award. She averaged four steals a game and broke the single season Miami Hurricanes record for steals with 110. Saake currently has 233 steals in her three-year career as a Hurricane.
“I was very honored to win that award. It was a nice surprise,” said Saake.
The Canes 19-12 record capped off a very successful season in a lot of ways, as it led them to post-season play. The future looks bright for this basketball team. The goal next season will be to make the NCAA Tournament. Saake will be back as a senior to lead the team, along with junior Chanivia Broussard and Shaquana Wilkins, and incoming freshman Tamara James has a lot of potential to be an outstanding player. This team should be geared to make an NCAA Tournament run.
“We are looking forward to playing in the NCAA Tournament next season, although we will miss our seniors (Shelia James, Martha Bodley, and Kathryn Fowler),” said Saake. This team does need to improve if they want to be a legitimate contender. They struggled from the three point line this season and their rebounding and free throw shooting was suspect at times.
“Two keys is the guard play and rebounding. If we have those two things, I think we are capable of going to the sweet sixteen.” said Coach Labati.