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Miami's Shenise Johnson Named Team USA Finalist

May 17, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – University of Miami women’s basketball player, Shenise Johnson was one of 14 players that were named finalists for the USA Under-19 World Championship team. Twenty-seven women competed for the opportunity from May 14-17 to return to Colorado on July 9 to begin training for the World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand.

The team will trim the roster to 12 players before traveling overseas July 23 – Aug. 2. Johnson is the first Hurricane in program history that has been name a finalist for any USA Women’s Basketball Team.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for Shenise. All of us here at Miami and even the ACC are aware of her special talent, but it is a big honor to be recognized on the national stage,” said Miami head coach Katie Meier. I am certain her ability to share the basketball and be a great teammate are the qualities that separated her and will send her to the training camp in July.”

The athlete selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by NCAA representative Sue Donohoe (Vice President for Division I Women’s Basketball).

Included among the finalists are returning USA Basketball gold medalists Kelsey Bone (Dulles H.S. /Stafford, Texas); Sarah Boothe (Stanford / Gurnee, Ill.); Skylar Diggins (Washington H.S. / South Bend, Ind.); Kelly Faris (Heritage Christian H.S. / Plainfield, Ind.); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford / Cypress, Texas) and Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State / Dix Hills, N.Y.), who helped the U.S. secure its berth to the ’09 U19 Worlds by claiming gold at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Also included on the list of finalists are: LaSondra Barrett (Louisiana State / Jackson, Miss.); Layshia Clarendon (Cajon H.S. / San Bernadino, Calif.); Shenise Johnson (Miami, Fla. / Henrietta, N.Y.); C’eira Ricketts (Arkansas / Louisville, Ky.); Chay Shegog (North Carolina / Stafford, Va.); Taber Spani (Metro Academy / Lee’s Summit, Mo.); Destiny Williams (Benton Harbor H.S. / Benton Harbor, Mich.); and Shawnice Wilson (Pittsburgh / Pittsburgh, Pa.).

“I thought the trials went really well, each session got better and better,” said USA U19 National Team and University of Northern Illinois head coach Carol Owens. “I’m excited about our team. I think our strength will be our transition game, in particular our posts I think will be very good. We have some scorers obviously, I’m excited to get them in training camp to work on our defenses and get our offenses going. We don’t have a lot of time to put this team together but wehave a mature group and I think we’ll be ready to play.”

“The competition level was very high,” said Donohoe. “You had tremendous talent out on the floor. It was a fun trials to just sit and watch the quality play of these young women. If there was anything surprising at all it was the intensity level that these young women kept throughout the trials. Sometimes you come in and they go through a session or two and they start getting tired and that intensity level drops. What we saw during these trials was the intensity level seemed to pick up with each training session and that made our decision a little bit more difficult.Owens is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Amanda Butler of the University of Florida and Bill Fennelly of Iowa State University.

Johnson is coming off a stellar freshman campaign where she was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman Team as well as a conference honorable mention.

For the Hurricanes, Johnson was the team leader in most statistical categories, including scoring (12.8 ppg), free throw percentage (.825), rebounding (7.1 rpg), assists (4.1 apg), steals (2.7 spg) and blocks (1.0 bpg).

Among ACC players, the guard/forward ranked in the top-10 in assists (fourth), free throw percentage (second), steals (seventh) and assist/turnover ratio (1.3, fifth).

Johnson a 2008 McDonald’s All-American was invited to be the U-18 trials a year ago, but declined the invitation due to prior academic commitments.