Hurricanes women’s basketball excels at midway point

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Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods (10) defends a River Hawk player during the December game against UMass Lowell in the BankUnited Center. The Hurricanes women’s basketball team started 10-0 and are currently ranked No. 21 in the country. Shreya Chidarala // Assistant Photo Editor

Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods (10) defends a River Hawk player during the December game against UMass Lowell in the BankUnited Center. The Hurricanes women’s basketball team started 10-0 and are currently ranked No. 21 in the country. Shreya Chidarala // Assistant Photo Editor

As the college basketball season reaches its midway point, the Hurricanes have already torched preseason predictions. Coming into the season, the Canes (15-2, 3-1) were projected to finish sixth in the ACC and received just one vote in the AP poll. Today, the No. 21 Hurricanes are the third-highest-ranked team in the ACC, behind No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 16 Florida State.

The Canes began the season winning their first 10 games, just two shy of matching the school record set by the 2003 team. The team’s first loss came at the hands of then-No. 4 Baylor in a tightly contested game.

The team’s early success could be attributed to a relatively easy strength of schedule. The Canes’ Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rank stands at 40, significantly lower than their AP poll ranking. RPI is a ranking system that takes into account a team’s wins, losses and strength of schedule. Miami’s matchup versus Baylor is the only time they have faced a ranked opponent this season. The Canes have barely touched the tip of the iceberg in the powerful ACC and have only played four games in a conference that boasts five ranked teams.

Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List selection Adrienne Motley leads the team. The junior guard is the team’s most aggressive and consistent scorer, averaging 15.9 points per game. Junior Jessica Thomas and redshirt senior Michelle Woods, both returning starters from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, accompany Motley in the backcourt. Thomas has done a solid job running the point, totaling 62 assists on the season. She is also a pit bull on defense, forcing opposing backcourts into committing turnovers.

Freshman Emese Hof took over the starting center position from sophomore Erykah Davenport 11 games into the season. Since then, Hof has done well controlling the paint, averaging 6.4 rebounds a game.

The Canes have had a strong season to this point and Head Coach Kate Meier’s squad should be able to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.

The Canes next face Wake Forest at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the BankUnited Center.

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