Women's Basketball Holds Annual Media Day
Oct. 31, 2003
CORAL GABLES, Fla.-The Miami Sports Information Department held its annual basketball media day on Friday, Oct. 31. Women’s head coach Ferne Labati addressed the media about the upcoming 2003-2004 season. She was followed by senior Chanivia Broussard (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Tamara James (Dania, Fla.).
The Hurricanes open the exhibition season Monday Nov. 3 facing the Mike White All-Star team at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center.
Women’s Basketball Head Coach Ferne Labati
“At the end of last season when we made the NCAA tournament, we were ecstatic; we were falling all over the floor. We had reached our goal of making the NCAA tournament. We played in the largest group of fans to ever watch an opening round NCAA women’s tournament game. After losing in the tournament game, I think everybody in that locker room – players and coaches – said that we would be back. That has what we have thought about all summer when we have been training. Our kids have worked very hard. When we came back after the summer, I told our team that we would have to work on what we wanted to achieve.”
On the schedule
“We were picked to finish sixth in the BIG EAST this season. We don’t care where we are picked. We are more worried about where we finish and what goes on at the end. The BIG EAST, I think, is the best conference in the nation this year. There are about ten out of the 14 teams that could go to the NCAA tournament. It is going to be extremely competitive. Our non-conference schedule includes Florida Atlantic, Florida and Vanderbilt. We go out to the west coast and play Weber State, who was in the tournament last year. Thirteen of these teams have been to the NCAA tournament.”
On the team senior leadership and chemistry
“An important thing coming into this season was whether or not we would have good chemistry and senior leadership. I think that our chemistry is great. It reminds me of our team in 1992-93 when we had those great wins. That is the kind of attitude and chemistry we have at this program right now. We have a great senior class. You can’t expect to have a lot of success without those seniors. We have a local player, Chanivia Broussard, who is a senior along with Shaquana Wilkins and Hutashi Wilson along with Vera Arsova who are really leading the pack in terms of leadership. I think Chanivia has really worked on her strength and conditioning and has really worked on her game. She should be a force around the basket in some key areas we didn’t have last year. Tamara James is very special.
On Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team selection sophomore Tamara James
“There are a lot of great kids coming out of high school, but to come in and dominate the game the way she did last season was phenomenal. This summer she played with the Olympic Festival teams and I think that has really helped her game. Her mindset is on being great and having a great team.”
Senior Forward Chanivia Broussard
On her off-season workouts
“Last year I was kind of off. When that happens you don’t really feel good. I just wanted to help my team out. Hopefully I can help us be a great team. In the off season I pushed myself harder instead of doing just enough to get by.”
On Miami’s expectations coming into this season
“It was disappointing to lose in the tournament last year, but the ball just bounced the other way. We are hungrier this year because we have gotten a taste of what it’s like. Once you get a little taste, you want more. I think we just want another chance to make the tournament.”
Sophomore Guard/Forward Tamara James
On the Hurricanes’ expectations
“We have high expectations this season. We know what it’s like to be in the NCAA Tournament and now that we have a little taste of it, we know we belong there. Everyone is hungry and that is why we have worked so hard in the off season.”
On her personal improvements
“I’ve improved over the summer. Last year I was mostly a post player, but right now I have been working with the guards. I am a very versatile player now.”
On playing with the Olympic Festival teams over the summer
“It was a great experience playing with the top players in the nation. Everybody has just as much talent as you and everybody can put the ball through the net. You really had to be a team player and learn how to pass the ball. I learned how to dish the ball when double teams and learned how to make my teammates better.”