Sports

Women’s basketball feels pressure to perform

The women’s basketball team is set to kick off its first season in the ACC tonight when it takes on Gardner-Webb at the Convocation Center. Coming off of consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, hopes are high for Head Coach Ferne Labati and her somewhat inexperienced squad.

“We are relatively young and don’t have a lot of kids who have played quality minutes for us in the past,” Labati said. “We want to have a very strong season in the ACC and get to the NCAA tournament once again.”

Miami will be without two of their best players from last year’s 22-7 team. Shaquana Wilkins and Chanivia Broussard each graduated. The duo combined for nearly 27 points per game. The team will also be without senior forward Melissa Knight, who will miss much of the season with a knee injury.

Labati thinks she has players who can step into the big roles that need to be filled.

“The kids are going to have to step up as a committee; it’s not just two people that can do it,” Labati said. “We have to work really hard to be the best we can be.”

The Big East was an extremely tough conference last year in women’s basketball, and the road doesn’t get any easier now in the ACC. Looking up and down the schedule, there are no easy games when it comes to league play later on in the season.

“When it comes to the ACC, we have to work extremely hard to evaluate every team and how they play,” Labati said. “There are no easy teams in this league, so we’ll be prepared.”

As for the non-conference portion of the schedule, Miami plays tough road games against Texas Tech and Oregon, as well as home games against UCLA and TCU.

“We’re going to be facing a bunch of early season challenges,” Labati said. “But I think we’re ready for them.”

Returning to this year’s team as the senior leader is point guard Yalonda McCormick. She started all 29 games last season and averaged 12.1 points and 5.4 assists per game. Leading scorer Tamara James will also be back. James was able to average 16.6 points per game in her sophomore campaign, but will be asked to move back to forward this season.

McCormick said that this team will be able to win despite its youth.

“Right now we have some young players,” McCormick said. “All we have to do is get them some experience and we’ll be fine.”

The opening night starting lineup will be a game-time decision, but Labati was pretty sure this week about who it will be. McCormick, James, junior Tatjana Marincic, senior Fallon Phanord and freshman Albrey Grimsley could be the combo Friday night to start things off. Grimsley looked extremely sharp from long range, going 9-for-12 from beyond the arc. She could be just the scorer that Labati needs on this team.

The ‘Canes are ranked fourth in the preseason ACC Coaches poll and McCormick knows this team can be one of the best in the league.

“We want to let everyone know that we’re better than what they say we are,” McCormick said. “We want to prove people wrong that doubt us.”

Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at d.kroll@umiami.edu

November 19, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Darrell Langham, the redshirt junior receiver who caused an uproar among Miami Hurricanes fans the p ...

This news release just in from the University of Miami, another impressive class about to be inducte ...

The University of Miami men’s basketball team got a welcome dose of good news on Monday night. Verno ...

After a disheartening week of practice injury-wise following the University of Miami’s victory at Fl ...

University of Miami’s highly-touted freshman Lonnie Walker, who had surgery for a torn right meniscu ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Darrell Langham has been a hero twice this season, but his path to prominence has been a long one. ...

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2018 inductees for the 50th A ...

Senior diver Wally Layland was recognized for her standout performance at the SMU Classic with ACC C ...

University of Miami freshman Lonnie Walker IV was among 20 players named to the watch list for the 2 ...

The Miami Hurricanes will begin preparation for the 2018 season when fall practice commences Wed., O ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.