Playing in the toughest NCAA women’s basketball conference, the ACC, the Hurricanes (13-17, 2-12) still saw a four-game improvement over the previous year.
Miami faced 10 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Although the Canes return seniors Lamese James, LaToya Cunningham and Latoya Drake, they will rely on the strong building block of two rising sophomores: guard Riquna Williams and McDonald’s All-American forward Shenise Johnson.
Johnson, also known as “Moe Moe,” was named to the ACC All-Freshman team and was honorable mention for All-ACC. She led the team in most statistical categories, which included her 12.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
The 5’11” Henrietta, N.Y. native became only the seventh player in school history to be named to a conference all-freshman team. It was the first time a lady Hurricane accomplished the feat in the basketball-rich ACC.
“Being named to the team, I felt like I deserved it, but feel like I could’ve done much better,” Johnson said. “As a team, we can only get better. We are getting experience now and can show the new recruits what we learned. Our record didn’t show how talented we really are, so it’s only up from here.”
As fifth-year head coach Katie Meier continues to nab the nation’s best high school players like top-10 recruit Morgan Stroman, she believes that with more experience and time, Johnson and Williams will lead the young Canes to more victories.
“Those freshmen were really good,” Meier said. “They’re going to be great for us in the future.”
After starting off strong with an 11-3 record to begin the season, the Hurricanes struggled in conference play.
Virginia barely edged out the Canes in overtime, 84-74, and Johnson was one rebound shy of a triple-double. Rival Florida State stole a nail biter, 59-58.
Even though Miami’s season didn’t end where the team would have liked it to, it eyes next year as a chance to improve in the ACC.
“As a team, we can only get better,” Johnson said. “We are getting experience now. Our record didn’t show how talented we really were, so it’s only up from here.”