Women's Basketball Holds First Practice of the 2004-05 Season

Women's Basketball Holds First Practice of the 2004-05 Season

Oct. 16, 2004

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Head Coach Ferne Labati got her first look at the 2004-05 edition of the University of Miami women’s basketball team as the Hurricanes opened their first practice of the season with a three-hour workout at the Knight Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.

“I was pleased with our enthusiasm today,” Labati said. “At the start of the season there is always a lot of anticipation and excitement with the start of practice.”

“The first couple of practices of any season are really based around learning and getting into the swing of things and I really felt like we were able to accomplish a lot today in terms of those aspects.”

Entering her 17th season at Miami, Labati, who will lead the Hurricanes into the tradition-rich Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004-05, returns eight letterwinners from last year’s team that opened the season with a 12-game winning streak en route to their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Heading the UM backcourt in 2004-05 will be senior point guard Yalonda McCormick. McCormick’s resume includes 60 consecutive starts at point dating back to her sophomore campaign in 2001-02 in which she started all 31 games for Miami and was the only player to start all 29 games for the Hurricanes a year ago.

Last season McCormick led the Hurricanes with 5.4 assists per game and 3.2 steals per game and finished the season third on the team in scoring, averaging 12.2 points per game on her way to being named an All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention selection.

Fellow classmate Melissa Knight joins McCormick in the backcourt for her senior season. Knight started in 28-of-29 games for the Hurricanes in 2003-04, averaging 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Junior Tatjana Marincic will also vie for time on the UM perimeter following her sophomore season in which she saw more time than any Hurricane non-starter, averaging 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 25 games.

After seeing action in 18 games as a defensive role player, senior Fallon Phanord should also make a contribution to this year’s team after averaging 0.8 rebounds and 0.6 points in 6.2 minutes per game last season.


Senior guard Yalonda McCormick

Following her sophomore season in which she missed the first seven games after hyper extending her knee, Katie Hayek returns for her junior season after averaging 1.0 points per game in 14 games in 2003-04.

Also adding depth to the UM backcourt will be sophomore Sandra Jansson.

Junior forward Tamara James, a 2004 All-BIG EAST First Team selection, returns as Miami’s only starter in the paint from a year ago. The All-American candidate led the Hurricanes in scoring in 2003-04, averaging 16.6 points per contest on her way to becoming the 17th player and fourth sophomore in school history to reach 1,000 points on her career.

Not only an inside threat, averaging 4.6 rebounds per game last year, James also adds to the Hurricanes perimeter after leading UM in three-point percentage (.379) last season, connecting on 39-of-103 from behind the line.

Sophomore Imani Dhahabu will be relied upon to replace the departure of Miami’s top two rebounders from last season – Shaquana Wilkins and Chanivia Broussard. Dhahabu played in more games than any other freshman last season, averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in 21 appearances.

Miami also brings back sophomore Amy Audibert, who posted 1.0 points and 0.5 rebounds per game in just 5.3 minutes per game last season.

The Hurricanes will welcome five newcomers in 2004-05 in Marianne Curtis, Albrey Grimsley, Lamese James, JoJuana Jones and Alexandria Fernander.

Curtis, a 5-8 guard out of Palmetto High School, adds to the Hurricanes’ outside threat. The Miami native was a two-time All-Dade selection, averaging 21.4 points last season at Palmetto.

Grimsley, a 5-9 guard out of St. Lucie West Centennial High School, was a Class 4A all-state selection as a sophomore and junior, Grimsley averaged 13.1 points and 4.8 assists last season. She was the No. 31-ranked guard in the nation by the All-Star Girls Report.

James, a 6-0 guard/forward out of The Patterson School, was the Florida 5-A Player of the Year last season at South Broward High School. As a senior at South Broward, she averaged a double-double with 16.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game and was named to the All-Broward Class 6A-4A Girls’ Basketball Team.

Jones, a 6-1 forward out of Menchville High School, should bolster the Hurricanes interior in 2004-05 after averaging almost 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Monarchs last season. She was the No. 26-ranked forward in the nation by the All-Star Girls Report.

Fernander, a transfer from Miami-Dade Community College, could make an immediate impact in the paint for Miami as well. The 6-2, Nassau, Bahamas native comes to Miami following a two-year stint at Miami-Dade in which she averaged 8.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

The Hurricanes open the 2004-05 campaign with a pair of exhibition games Nov. 3 and Nov. 13 at the Convocation Center before hosting Gardner Webb in the regular-season opener Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.

Season tickets start as low as $75. For ticket information please call the Hurricane Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-CANES or visit hurricanesports.com.