UM Women's Basketball: Season in Review
March 10, 2009
By Alex Oppenheimer
The Miami Hurricanes Women’s Basketball team had their season cut short with an early exit from the conference tournament to ACC rival Boston College. However, the 2008-2009 season was nothing to forget about. New leaders and skills emerged with the Hurricanes young underclassmen experiencing their first collegiate season.
Freshmen Shenise Johnson, better known by her teammates as “Moe Moe”, was just one of those exceptional discoveries for the young squad. Johnson, who grew up in Henrietta, N.Y. and played basketball at Rush-Henrietta High School, was selected as a McDonald’s All-American as well as “New York Miss Basketball” in 2007. Amongst her other individual and team accomplishments are her team’s three straight state championships and being the current record holder for single game points and rebounds at Rush-Henrietta.
Johnson continued her success and leadership for the Hurricanes in a tough ACC competition with the likes of Duke, Maryland, and North Carolina. “It was a huge challenge. The transition going from high school to ACC basketball, one of the best conferences in the nation, is like nothing else”, said Johnson. Miami, who finished with a record of 13-17 (2-12), will part with just three seniors from the team.
With solid players like LaToya Cunningham and Lamese James playing in their last season for Miami, Johnson is sure to become an even more prominent factor this next season. She was recently named to the ACC All-Freshman team after leading the Hurricanes in multiple categories including points (12.8 ppg), rebounds (7.1 rpg), assists (4.1 apg), free throw percentage (.825), steals (2.7 spg), and blocks (1.0 bpg). “Being named to the team, I felt like I deserved it, but feel like I could’ve done much better. As a team, we can only get better. We are getting experience now and can show the new recruits what we learned. Our record didn’t show how talented we really are, so it’s only up from here”, added Johnson.
Another standout newcomer to the team was Riquna Williams. Williams grew up in Pahokee, Fla. and played high school basketball at Pahokee High School, where she holds the single game scoring record and was named First Team All-State as a senior. As a freshman at Miami, Williams primarily came off the bench but played significant minutes. Fourth-year head coach Katie Meier, a graduate of Duke University, tirelessly puts her effort into her team and to help build a winning tradition at Miami.
“Coach Meier helped with my leadership skills and being more vocal. I never used to talk on the court, but now I’m more open. I’m trying to be a team leader and lighten the mood and keep up the team spirit”, said Williams. Coach Meier also makes it a point to break in her younger players and help them adapt to a newer and bigger stage. Johnson and Williams, amongst other underclassmen such as junior Charmaine Clark, sophomore Epiphany Woodson, and fellow freshman Sylvia Bullock, will be looked at to step up and lead a hungry Hurricanes basketball team in the fall.
Miami brought in a talented recruiting class to play for the Hurricanes next season. Top-10 recruit Morgan Stroman (Hopkins, S.C.) highlights the class, along with Hannah Shaw (Nottingham, England), who played for England’s’ U-18 National team, and Amisha Wilson (New Haven, Conn.), who led Career High School to a Class LL state championship in 2007-2008. “I don’t know the recruits well yet, but I plan to get to know them because I know they can absolutely make this program better”, said Williams.
Although Miami had hoped for greater achievements this year including a postseason berth to the NCAA Tournament, anticipation has reached new heights for next season. This past year’s team displayed a wealth of talent and promising skills, and Miami looks to make a new mark on the ACC and the rest of their competition come the 2009-2010 season.