Hurricanes prepare for ACC tournament

GT defenders trap sophomore forward Shenise Johnson in the first half. Alex Broadwell // The Miami Hurricane

The women’s basketball team can breathe a sigh of relief- it has a fresh start. The Canes (18-10, 4-10) will battle Wake Forest (18-8, 8-6) on Thursday at 11 a.m. in the first round of the ACC Tournament held in Greensboro, N.C.

Miami finished tied with Virginia Tech and Clemson in the cellar of the ACC, but due to tiebreakers UM finished dead last and was tabbed the No. 12 seed.

“It’s amazing how the ACC has been this year,” fifth-year head coach Katie Meier said. “You look and see UNC playing Maryland in the first round and usually that is a finals match.”

Miami has lost six ACC games by six points or less.

“I think we are in a good mode,” Meier said. “We had a tough stretch towards the end there but we got a nice win in the last game on senior night that gave us the momentum and validation of how good we really are.”

Miami faded down the stretch losing five consecutive games before beating Boston College at the BankUnited Center last Sunday in the regular season finale in overtime 76-68. The Hurricanes have only lost two games all year by double digits, so they are a competitive group with a young nucleus.

“We have four wins in the ACC this year and they have come against the top 50 RPI,” Meier said. “We have proved we can win, we just need to find consistency.”

Miami lost to Wake Forest earlier in the year in Winston Salem 67-64. Miami has only won one ACC Tournament game since switching conferences in 2004.

Miami is led by a dynamic duo at the guard positions. Sophomore sensations Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams were named to the first and second All-ACC teams respectively.

“I am honored and touched that Shenise and Riquna got accolades from the ACC,” Meier said.

Johnson finished third in the ACC in scoring (18.6), tied for sixth in rebounding (7.6) and fifth in assists (4.4). The co-captain also led the ACC in minutes played averaging 34.3 a game.

Williams got off to a hot start but cooled down in conference play. The streaky shooter was still able to tally 19.5 points per game, good for second in the ACC. Williams has come off the bench the past four games and has been effective.

The Hurricanes have been known to play to its competition’s level this year. They have beaten ranked teams like Florida State and North Carolina but have lost to teams like Virginia Tech and Clemson.

Justin Antweil may be contacted at