Re: “Hurricanes Hurting”, 3/4

Allow me to be the first to disagree with the notion that it has been a disappointing season for the women’s basketball team.

For me, the most disappointing aspect of the season was the lack of student fans. There were around five students who were not on the University payroll who came to every game. That, more than any 13-16 season, is a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong. Losing is disappointing, and the team spent more time losing than winning. But to have this entire season classified as disappointing by someone who apparently doesn’t even know that JoJuana Jones isn’t on the team (and hasn’t been for quite some time) amounts to nothing less than hatin’. The author should know that Amy Audibert didn’t play enough to become a scoring threat (though she was quite the beast on defense!). And to write a review of the season without even mentioning rising stars Tatjana Marincic and Katie Hayek is irresponsible and forces me to question if the author has even been to a game.

After losing roughly 40 points per game worth of players to graduation and injury, the ‘Canes stared down a stacked ACC schedule with Tamara James, Yalonda McCormick and a handful of ladies who haven’t yet seen much playing time. Head Coach Ferne Labati was faced with the seemingly unattainable task of turning a whole lot of not much into the high caliber women’s basketball team that we are used to.

The ‘Canes were inconsistent for the first half of the season, winning four, then losing five out of six, then winning five. This inconsistency was due largely to how young and inexperienced this team was. Inexperience would prove to be an Achilles’ heel as the team suffered five straight losses for the first five ACC games. Disappointing? Yes.

But then something happened. The ‘Canes decided to win in spite of the unrealistic odds and they turned the season around against then No. 19 Florida State. After an easy win at Clemson, the team slipped against Duke. This, however, is not an instance of disappointment. The same Miami Hurricanes that lost to Texas Tech by 60 points early in the season fought the entire Duke game and held them to single digits. Not exactly disappointing. The ‘Canes roared back with wins over Va. Tech and Virginia only to suffer back to back, last-second heartbreakers against N.C. State and Maryland. After the, yes, disappointing Duke/Va. Tech weekend, the ‘Canes went into the ACC Tournament determined. The tough game against Georgia Tech ended with James’s game-winning granny shot in the last 0:00.01 second, and Miami came within 2:00 of being the Cinderella story of the ACC after owning No. 1 seed UNC for 38:00.

There is nothing disappointing about the Miami Hurricanes that played at that tournament. Tamara was fantastic as usual, but we finally had some depth. Marincic brought in a double-double, Hayek was nailing threes like no one’s business, and Fallon Phanord’s last game as a Miami Hurricane just so happened to be the game of her life.

To the team and the coaching staff: On behalf of the band, the cheerleaders, the sunsations and the five or so hard-core student fans, y’all made us proud.

Chris Fisher

Dancin’ Band Dude