Last season, the Hurricanes women’s basketball team went through a magical season that took them from worst to first in the ACC standings and made the team one of the more interesting teams to watch in the entire country.
This year, they’ll look to do it all over again.
Head Coach Katie Meier and her team are only looking upward after a phenomenal run to the NCAA Tournament ended in an 88-83 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners. They compiled a 28-5 record only a year after finishing at the bottom of the ACC. Even with a loss in the tournament, coach Meier was able to appreciate the year her team was able to pull out.
“I feel like we just played one of the best basketball games I’ve ever been in,” she said after the game. “I can’t believe how entertaining that was, how both teams were themselves. Both teams played very hard for each other and you just saw that on the court.”
There is plenty of reason to believe that the Hurricanes can have another great season. Miami will retain the entire roster they fielded last year, which will include Shawnice Wilson, a 6-foot-6-inch center who was ineligible to play last year due to NCAA restrictions after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh.
The team is led by senior sensations Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams. Their nicknames on the court are “Fire and Ice” because of the way they can dominate their opposition. While Williams led the ACC in scoring for the entire year and is capable of dropping 30 points when she finds her shot, Johnson is often so smooth with her game that she could have a big game under the radar. The phenomenal turnaround season the Canes were able to put together helped Meier earn the Associated Press Coach of the Year Award. After the season ended, she was also offered and agreed to a five-year contract extension, ensuring that she will remain a Hurricane for years to come.
That’s not all they are taking from it though. The experience in the NCAA Tournament, the first for Miami in Meier’s era, will only help the Canes as they fight to get there again next year.
“It was a great experience, a great opportunity,” said junior forward Morgan Stroman. “We’re just going to keep working. Next year we’re going to have a better year.”
Johnson, pleased with the run to the tournament, is looking forward to starting again.
“We have experienced juniors, we played a lot of minutes in the ACC our freshman year. Now we have minutes in the NCAA,” she said. “It’s going to be scary next year. I can’t wait to start the next season up.”