Sports

‘Lady Canes blow lead, fall to Orangewomen

‘Lady Canes get much improved play at point
McCormick has stepped up game
Yalonda McCormick may seem like a soft spoken 19-year-old college kid, but when she gets on the basketball court and someone puts a ball in her hands she couldn’t be more different.
McCormick, the vocal leader of the University of Miami women’s basketball team, plays the point guard position with the confidence needed to succeed in college basketball. McCormick runs the ‘Lady Hurricanes like a quarterback, calling out plays and dishing out passes to her teammates.
Head coach Ferne Labati said the sophomore’s confidence and ability have allowed her to exceed expectations.
“If she keeps working at this level I believe she can be a candidate for the Big East Most Improved Player of the Year,” Labati said. McCormick enjoyed a wonderful high school career at Monsignor Pace where she helped lead her team to the state playoffs for the first time in the school’s history. The team named Yalonda its Most Valuable Player and the Player of the Year. Before coming to UM, scouts ranked McCormick as the fifth best point guard in her recruiting class.
After a successful high school career, McCormick hasn’t experienced much of a drop-off in success at the college level. After playing in 17 games her freshman year, Yalonda took over the starting point guard job and hasn’t looked back. In the Hurricanes contest against Pittsburgh Wednesday night, she scored a career high 19 points, continuing her steady improvement throughout the season.
Standing at just 5-8, McCormick, called “Bebe” by anyone who knows her well, has an immeasurable amount of heart that makes up for her lack of size. She said her strength stems from her grandmother, who raised Yalonda and her three older siblings along with various other cousins.
A tattoo on McCormick’s right forearm pays tribute to her mother, someone she lost at the age of six. The ink on McCormick’s right arm honors her late great-aunt who she describes as the “Big Momma” of her family.
McCormick gets inspiration from her family and says that the main reason she came to UM had to do with staying close to her grandmother.
Women, however, are not the only family members who have contributed to McCormick’s upbringing.
“I’ve hung around my brothers [Anthony and Alvin] all my life,” McCormick said. “Any sport that I played I always played it with them.”
The individual goals may be nice for McCormick, but she would much rather see her team succeed.
“This year our biggest goal is to make it to the [NCAA] tournament,” McCormick said. “Last year we made it to the NIT but we thought we could have made it to the NCAA tournament.”

-You can reach Nate Johnson at NPJ44@aol.com

January 28, 2003

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