Hurricanes women’s basketball headed to NCAA Tournament for second consecutive year

For the first time since 2013, the men’s and women’s basketball teams will both be in the NCAA Tournament. In the Lexington Region of the women’s tournament, fifth-seeded Miami will take on No. 12 South Dakota State in the first round Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Stanford University.

The Sunsations, cheer squads and Hurricanes fans joined the women’s basketball team at the Rathskeller to watch the Women’s Selection Show on ESPN at 7 p.m. Players initially groaned as they waited in angst to see where Miami placed on the bracket. Suddenly, the players hugged each other, jumped and screamed as the rankings of the team and its opponent appeared on the big screen.

Junior guard Jessica Thomas danced in celebration. “We’re in a great position to do big things, so I’m definitely excited,” she said.

Junior guard Adrienne Motley is excited that Miami basketball is finally getting the respect it deserves. “I think everybody’s starting to realize–us and the men–that we are a force to be reckoned with,” the team’s leading scorer said.

The Hurricanes were pleasantly surprised about the high ranking. “The five-seed is great,” Motley said. “We actually thought we were going to be a six-seed, so [to be] the fifth seed is just amazing.”

Head Coach Katie Meier spoke about the attention both teams are getting on campus. “It’s great to have two nights of this … Just walking over here from our BankUnited Center to this place and having people cheer for you is just special,” Meier said. “There were some dark times earlier here, so these are big moments. I will absolutely celebrate this. I’m really proud of them.”

The game will air on ESPN2.

Correction: The post’s title previously stated this was the women’s basketball team’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2013. That is incorrect. The Hurricanes reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.