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11 November 2010

Women’s basketball squad poised for greatness

Miami head coach Katie Meier instructs the team in practice Thursday. Meier enters her sixth season. Alex Broadwell // The Miami Hurricane

It’s time for the women’s basketball team to go to the NCAA Tournament after making an impressive run by winning five NIT games last year.

Last season, the Miami Hurricanes were 22-14 and had their ninth 20-win season in program.

Miami got all the way to the NIT Championship before losing to California.

Despite making a strong run last year, sixth year head coach Katie Meier knows lady Canes have more work to do this season.

“I’m going to remind the team that we haven’t done anything,” Meier said. “It was a nice run and it was great, but I don’t have a trophy in my office so we’re not going to rest on that. There is nothing in the locker room about it. That wasn’t what we wanted. It was good for what we had, but we have to take the next step here.”

Meier signed a five-year extension over the summer.

Learning from last year, Meier knows that her team must not be a bubble team this season.

“The NCAA tournament is a goal every year,” said Meier, a place the Hurricanes haven’t been since 2003-04. “I can’t as a coach say that if we won those close games we would have made the NCAA Tournament. Yes, we were a NCAA caliber team, but there are 64 teams that get in and then there are 50 other coaches that think that if they won that one game they would be in too.”

The orange and green will need junior guards Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams to be a force.

 Johnson was named to the First Team All-ACC, the first Hurricane player since 2005-06 season.

Also, Johnson was the only player in the ACC to score double-figures in every game last season.

“We have a chance to move up in the conference,” Johnson said. “You never know how everything is going to play out. I’m going to do whatever the coaches need me to do. We look forward to having some fun and making the NCAA.”

Her partner in crime, Williams was a scoring threat from all over last season. Williams was second team All-ACC and scored 27 or more points in eight games. She led the conference with 106 made three-pointers, setting a new school single season record, the second most in ACC history, and the most ever for a sophomore in the ACC.

“We are really looking forward to the season,” Williams said. “We will surprise people.”

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at lledoux@themiamihurricane.com.