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2000-2001 Women's Basketball Prospectus

Nov. 15, 2000

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It’s not often a coach is blessed with the return of nearly her entire team, but University of Miami Coach Ferne Labati is looking forward to the return of nine players, including four starters from last years 14-15 club.Miami returns 85 percent of its scoring and 92 percent of its rebounding from last season’s young team.

A strong sense of excitement surrounds the women’s basketball program and Labati anxiously awaits the start of her 13th year as the Hurricane women’s basketball mentor.

“We are healthy, we work hard and I have a very positive feeling about this season,” said Labati. “Attitude is everything, we expect to win, we are winners, and that is the attitude this season.”

It is exactly that optimistic outlook and drive that has caused Coach Labati to be the all-time winningest women’s basketball coach at Miami.

Starters returning for the Hurricanes include senior Camilla Osth, junior Sheila James and sophomores Alicia Hartlaub and Meghan Saake. These players will be relied upon for their experience and smart play to lead the team.

Perhaps the biggest question mark this season will be the point guard position. For the first time in four years Miami will have to find a new leader there, after the loss of senior Gina Graziani.”The point is a very important position,” said Labati. “Gina Graziani has been in charge of the team for the last four years and has done very well. However, we have to focus on the tremendous talent in the three players vying for time at the point and also on the fact that we are returning nearly the entire team.”The wealth of talent among the other returning players is immense. The Hurricanes welcome the return of seniors Dalia Clarke and Dona Nando, juniors Kathryn Fowler and Martha Bodley and sophomore Amanda Papuga.

Labati also welcomes a cast of highly touted newcomers. With the balance of veteran players and young talent the Hurricanes are bound for a very successful season.

From the Perimeter
The success of the 2000-2001 campaign begins with the depth and play of the backcourt.

The point guard position will be decided by performance as the season progresses. Vying for time at the point will be senior Dona Nando, sophomore Amanda Papuga, and newcomer Hutashi Wilson.

The experience will lie with Nando, who is a tremendous ball handler and has a great outside shot, while Papuga is a student of the game and is a great defensive force. Wilson has the ability to penetrate and she has a quick step, enabling her to finish at the basket.

“The key to our success has been low turnovers, therefore, if we keep the turnovers down we will be successful, added Labati.

Nando averaged 11 minutes per game behind Gina Graziani. She finished out the season averaging 3.7 points per game.

“Dona is very similar to Gina in that she is aggressive and likes to be a leader,” said Labati. “I also think she will be able to contribute offensively with solid three-point range.”

Papuga is an excellent three-point shooter and has tremendous ability to pass the ball inside. She averaged 15 minutes and 3.8 points per game as a true freshman last season.

“Amanda will give us a different look from a defensive perspective,” said Labati. “She is very passionate on defense and really loves to play.”

Wilson is a great penetrating point guard with the ability to play great defense. She is a hard worker and is expected to make an immediate impact on the team.

“Hutashi is a very experienced player from Canada,” said Labati. “She has the ability to take the ball to the basket and play great defense.”

Junior Sheila James enters this season eager to improve on a sophomore season in which she led the team in scoring, averaging 11.7 points per game. She missed eight games during the season with a broken hand. She made a move into the UM single-season record books with 39 three-pointers made.

James should challenge for the staring nod at the two position. She is known for her aggressive and slashing style of play.

“Sheila has a passion for the game and always plays hard and has the ability to take over a game,” said Labati. “She has quickness which gives us the option to run a fastbreak offense and she is known for her aggressive drives to the basket.”

Dalia Clarke returns for her senior campaign after averaging 7.1 points per game and 5.4 rebounds last season. Her ability to penetrate against any defense makes her an offensive threat. She worked very hard in the offseason and is expected to take her game to the next level this season.

“Dalia is one of the top people in the BIG EAST, in my mind, in terms of quickness off the penetration and the ability to really get the offense going and the ability to run the floor,” said Labati. “She finished very strong last year, probably our most improved player of the program.”

Sophomore Meghan Saake was a member of the BIG EAST All-Star team which recorded a 5-1 record on the Canadian tour this summer. She is a strong athletic forward who can rebound, play defense and run the floor in the break. She averaged 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season. She is dubbed as the best defensive player on the team.

“Meghan excels in a fast-pace game and runs the floor very well, her outside shot opens up the inside for us,” said Labati. “She gives an all-around performance in every contest.”

In the Paint
With four starters returning, including the entire inside game, the Hurricanes will be a tremendous threat in the paint.

“I feel with the experience of our returning players and the talented group of newcomers that we brought in we should be at the top of our inside game this season,” said Labati.

Leading the cast of experienced players is senior Camilla Osth. Osth started all 29 games last season at forward. She is extremely sound fundamentally, a steady performer and a hard worker. She will be called upon to be a skilled leader on the court. She averaged 8.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

“Camilla is a hard worker with unbelievable potential,” said Labati.

Alicia Hartlaub returns for her sophomore season after leading the freshman class in minutes last season with 29.1 minutes per game. She started in all 29 games as a true freshman and was second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game. She also led the team in rebounds with 6.4 per contest

Hartlaub is a fierce competitor who enjoys mixing it up in the paint. She has great post moves and the ability to bring her game outside.

“Alicia had an outstanding freshman year,” said Labati. “She can post up on people, she plays hard, she is a hard worker and an intelligent player, we look for really good things from her.”

Miami also returns key reserves Martha Bodley and Kathryn Fowler.Bodley enters her third year in the Miami women’s basketball program and will vie for the starting job at center. She is the tallest returning player on the roster and is a true center.

“Martha has the ability to hit the boards and really use her body to box out,” added Labati. “She will anchor our inside game and serve as a presence for us in the paint.”

Fowler also enters her third season in the Miami women’s basketball program. She has the strength and athleticism to be a force inside. She pulled down 4.6 boards a game last season. Her overall strength will be an asset playing post defense.

“Kathryn has great fundamental skills and will return as one of the more experienced players inside,” said Labati. “She has tremendous ability to post up, face the bucket and score.”

UM also welcomes newcomers Chanivia Broussard, Shaquana Wilkins and Shannon Presswood.

Chanivia Broussard is extremely athletic and worked very hard during the off season. She will be a strong force in the paint, a great rebounder and is expected to take her game to the next level this season.”

Chanivia is a sensational and outstanding player,” said Labati. “She is very athletic and should add a new dimension to our rebounding game.”

Wilkins has great size and can run the floor well. She has a tremendous love of the game and will add quickness to the post position.

“Shaquana will increase our rebounding strength,” added Labati.

Presswood is a true center who will help by scoring points in the paint. She is a very energetic player who can move down the floor and also a great rebounder.

“Shannon is young with tremendous potential,” said Labati. “She has the ability to finish in the paint.”