Women’s basketball thriving heading into Syracuse matchup

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Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods (10) sizes up an FSU defender during last Sunday's 69-58 loss at the BankUnited Center. The Canes take on Syracuse Monday at the BankUnited Center. Erum Kidwai // Assistant Photo Editor

Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods (10) sizes up an FSU defender during last Sunday’s 69-58 loss at the BankUnited Center. The Canes take on Syracuse Monday at the BankUnited Center. Erum Kidwai // Assistant Photo Editor

As the No. 17-ranked women’s basketball team prepares to face off against Syracuse on Monday night, it’s important to recognize how far the Hurricanes have come with more than half of the season already in the books.

Head Coach Katie Meier’s squad has been impressive since stepping onto the court for the first game in November. The Canes currently have a record of 18-3, with two of the losses coming to ranked teams. This means that the Canes have taken care of business against the teams they should be beating, which is vital for any team’s success.

There are many legitimate reasons for the Canes’ performance so far this season. At the top of the list is junior guard Adrienne Motley. The 5-foot-9 player out of Newport News, Virginia is once again leading the team in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per game while shooting an efficient 47.7 percent from the field. Whenever the Canes need a quick bucket, they look for Motley.

The team has also enjoyed having redshirt junior Keyona Hayes back in the starting lineup. After an ankle injury kept the 6-foot-1 forward out last season, it took some time for Hayes to get back into rhythm. It is safe to say she is now back in her flow. In the month of January alone, Hayes had a 22-point game, an 18-point game and a 15-point game. She has done all of this while getting her field-goal percentage up to an impressive 51.8 percent.

Redshirt senior guard Michelle Woods and junior guard Jessica Thomas have done a little bit of everything to help the team. Both players can catch fire from three-point range, but even when they’re not scoring, they are making an impact. Both are good rebounders for their size and play gritty defense whenever they’re on the court.

The two freshmen from the Netherlands, guard Laura Cornelius and forward Emese Hof, have played with skill beyond their years so far this season. Cornelius sees the floor well and is Miami’s best three-point shooter, hitting 43 percent from distance. Hof is already one of the team’s best rebounders and has become one of the Canes’ bigger options on offense, averaging 8.6 points per game while shooting a remarkable 58.3 percent from the field. Both players are clearly polished on defense as well and it is obvious that they enjoy playing on both sides of the ball.

The Canes play Syracuse at 7 p.m. on Monday at the BankUnited Center.

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