Tough defense dominates

TAKE IT TO THE HOOP: Junior guard Riquna Williams dribbles to the basket during Miami’s 65-53 victory over Boston College Sunday afternoon at the BankUnited Center. Williams averages 20.9 points per game. Adrianne D'Angelo // Photo Editor

While most students spent their break unwinding from the stress of the last semester, there was one team on campus who spent most of it climbing.

The women’s basketball team is working their way into NCAA tournament discussions, currently riding a 17-game winning streak to a No. 22 ranking in the ESPN/Coaches Poll. The ranking marks the first time the Canes have been mentioned in the top 25 since May 2004.

Under head coach Katie Meier, the team is reaching higher levels than any team before it. After making it all the way to the NIT finals last season, the Canes have continued their hot streak, sweeping their first four ACC games for the first time since they joined the conference back in 2004.

There aren’t any secrets as to how the team is doing it, either. Employing a full-court defensive set that harasses opposing teams the moment they touch the ball, their mindset on the court is to frustrate offenses into turning the ball over. The Canes forced Boston College into 31 turnovers on Sunday afternoon.

Offensively, the team is anchored by juniors Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson, currently ranked No.1 and No.2 in the ACC in scoring, respectively. Both are making their case as not only team MVP, but also as some of the best players in the country.

As it stands, the Canes are in a position to make it to their first NCAA tournament in team history. After last year’s run in the NIT, the team knows it and isn’t shying away from it.

“Pretty much we’re unstoppable now,” said Williams following the victory over Boston College. “Teams can’t be sleeping on us now.”

It’s a good start for the Hurricanes, but there isn’t much room for them to get comfortable. The team travels to Tallahassee to take on Florida State on Monday, and then faces North Carolina State and Georgia Tech at home before a road trip to No. 3 Duke, who have a 17 game winning streak of their own to boost. The next few weeks could go a long way in determining just how far this squad has come.

Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at