The women’s basketball team’s surprisingly successful season can be partially attributed to the emergence of point guard Yalonda McCormick.
McCormick, a junior, averages 13.3 points per game, over five assists per game, over four rebounds per game, and leads the team in steals. Last season, there was a debate about whether she or Hutashi Wilson would become the team’s point guard. McCormick won that battle and has never looked back since.
McCormick has improved rapidly and became one of the stars on the team towards the end of last season.
“I thought my success started last year at the tournament,” McCormick said. “I felt like I was a key player and I had to step up to do things I didn’t do last year in order for this team to be successful.”
McCormick is used to earning attention, though. While in high school, she averaged 21.8 points per game and over 10 steals and assists per game while leading her school to two consecutive district championships. Also, she averaged eight rebounds a game, which is an unusual amount for a guard.
She has proven to be this type of player at Miami, too. More importantly, she has become one of the vocal leaders on the Hurricanes. Her teammates respect her, and one of them, Chanivia Broussard, is her cousin.
“My strength on this team is leadership,” McCormick said. “When the girls get down on themselves, they lose confidence, so I try to keep things positive and keep everyone’s head in the game.”
The ‘Canes started 16-1 before dropping two games in a row. McCormick attributes that to being too relaxed and not maintaining a winning mentality.
“To get back to where we [were], we have to stay focused and work hard,” McCormick said. “Everyone in the Big East is good so you never know what can happen.”
Despite her accomplishments, McCormick is a very humble person. She acknowledges that she still has areas of her game that she needs to improve on and doesn’t let anything get in the way of her goals on the court.
“I need to improve on my decision making. Sometimes when the games are close, I’ve made bad turnovers or a poor decision,” McCormick said. “The main thing about me is that I stay focused and I’m humble. I try not to let things get to me or bother me, and it allows me to be strong as a player and a person.”
Anyone who goes to the Hurricanes’ practices can see that McCormick is not someone who needs recognition. As a matter of fact, she tries to avoid the cameras and the spotlight whenever possible.
“I’m not used to the attention I am getting. I am a little camera shy, but it doesn’t really bother me as much anymore,” McCormick said.
McCormick has been greatly influenced by her grandmother, who happens to be the person who gave her the nickname Bebe, a moniker that has stuck with her throughout her entire life.
“I grew up with [the nickname]; I don’t really know where it came from, but [my grandmother] started calling me it, so that’s my name,” McCormick said.
“My grandmother has been very important in my life. She taught me that no matter what happens, don’t give up, and don’t let anyone stop me from doing the things that I want to do.”
One of the things that she wants to do is win the Big East Championship and go deep into the NCAA Tournament.
“It all starts with us believing in ourselves,” McCormick said. “If we are confident and believe that we can win games and play the way that we are supposed to play, we can be great.”
Darren Grossman can be contacted at email@example.com.