WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Co-captain brings team together ‘like a big sister’

Typically, team captains don’t take kindly to coming off the bench.

But for women’s basketball co-captain LaToya Cunningham, starting every game isn’t priority number one – winning is.

The junior sports administration major from Vallejo, Calif., a medium-sized city about 45 minutes north of San Francisco, says she’ll do what it takes to improve the team, including mentoring Epiphany Woodson, a freshman with whom Cunningham often splits playing time.

“When she came in, I kind of helped guide her,” Cunningham said. “Kind of like a big sister, little sister-type thing. There’s no competition, we’re both here for each other. We help each other out.”

Cunningham’s win-first mentality dates back to her high school days, when at La Jolla Country Day prep school she took her team to four regional championships, winning the state title her freshman year.

But her passion for sports dates back even farther to her childhood.

“I wasn’t really into Barbie dolls,” Cunningham said. “I’m actually kind of scared of them. I played video games, basketball, skateboarding. I did all the tomboyish stuff.”

Growing up, she said she followed such women’s basketball powerhouses as Duke, North Carolina and Tennessee, but decided to come to a less-established program.

“Everyone else, they want to go to those places. I wanted to go to a program and help build that program and make a name for myself and play against those people. You want to be the best so go up against the best.”

After three years of play, Cunningham emerged as a respected member on the team. She’s played in every game since joining the team in her freshman year, and her position at point guard allows her to serve as a leader on and off the floor. She’s known for her tenacity and her lighter side.

“She usually starts whatever the joke is and everybody joins in and starts laughing,” said Epiphany Woodson, a freshman guard. “I think it brings the team together.”

Head coach Katie Meier called Cunningham “the most accountable player on the team.”

“Toya’s a selfless kid,” Meier said. “She really takes responsibility for Miami the team versus worrying about herself. She represents the new era of Miami basketball. She just wants us to get better every day.”

It’s no surprise, then, that when it comes to starting, Cunningham echoes one of Meier’s mantras: “It’s not about who starts the game. It’s who finishes,” she said.

Corey Erb may be contacted at

March 6, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again. ...

Happy first day of school for everyone out there, including the University of Miami students. We jus ...

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

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 on Thursdays during the regular academic year.