Labati Pleased With Hurricanes First Practice

Oct. 13, 2001

CORAL GABLES, Fla.-The Miami women’s basketball team officially kicked off the start of the 2001-02 season with a three-hour practice on Saturday afternoon in the Knight Sports Complex.

“I was really pleased with the team and what we accomplished today,” said head coach Ferne Labati, entering her 14th season at the helm of the program. “During the off season the coaching staff worked really hard to make some adjustments to our mistakes from last season, the plan was put into action today and I am really excited.”

Among the new faces on the court for the Hurricanes are two local standouts, Yalonda McCormick and Fallon Phanord and Philadelphia, Pa. native Melissa Knight.

UM returns four starters from last season’s 13-15 squad which finished 8th in the BIG EAST conference.

Returning starters include, All-BIG EAST Freshman Chanivia Broussard (Miami, Fla.), Alicia Hartlaub (Schaefferstown, Pa.), Meghan Saake (Wellington, Fla.) and Sheila James (Orlando, Fla.).

Coach Labati was impressed with the overall effort of the team on the first day of practice.

She was particularly impressed with senior Sheila James.

“I thought Sheila (James) did a tremendous job today,” added Labati. “She looks really good and will be a crucial part of our offensive game this season.”

Red-shirt freshman Lonnie Whigham (Plant City, Fla.) and junior Amanda Papuga (Oak Brook, Ill.) did not participate in practice on Saturday. Whigham is taking part in rehabilitation for a torn ACL and is expected to be back in late December and Papuga is treating a hamstring injury.

The Hurricanes open the 2001-02 season hosting Lokomotiva Bratislava in an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.