| MESSAGE BOARD
REGION: West SEED: 5
COACH: Ferne Labati CONFERENCE: ACC
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
Don't think this sophomore is going to be rattled easily. In fact, coming through in the clutch seems to be in Jones' DNA. Just one year after becoming the first freshman to lead the Big East in scoring, she became the first Miami player to be named All-Big East first team since 1998-99. Jones, a 5-foot-9 guard/forward, averages 16.8 points per game and shoots an impressive 50 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free-throw line, is the main reason Miami is in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since 1992-93.
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
Miami is yet another team in women's hoops with a balanced scoring attack, as four of the starting five average double-digit point totals, while the entire frontline accounts for 86 percent of the team's offensive production.
Ferne Labati's Hurricanes got off to their best start in school history with 12 consecutive wins before falling to Villanova. Besides a strong scoring front, the winning movement was created largely because of Miami's ability to disrupt the flow of offense. Throughout the season, the 'Canes have used their athletic defensive face to force challengers into roughly 23 turnovers while generating an impressive 13 steals per contest. They have held many teams below their typical scoring average and, in most cases, came away with victory.
With so many vibrant scorers on the roster, it's no shock that Miami is one of the best passing teams in the country. The top playmaker is junior guard Yolanda McCormick. She does a nice job setting up her comrades for success, averaging five assists per outing.
But in all truth, it's not that difficult when you have players such as sophomore guard/forward Tamara James. A season ago, James was only the first freshman in Big East history to lead the league in scoring, averaging 21 points per match. Now, a year matured, James is tallying 17 points on a more complete Miami basketball team.
Senior forward Chanivia Broussard has become the most improved Hurricane this season. She has seen constant, with drastic increases throughout her four-year career in field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and overall scoring. The team's best rebounder is senior Shaquana Wilkins. She also has the most accurate touch around the hoop and, amazingly enough, is one post player who has never fouled out of a single game for the Hurricanes.
After losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago, Miami has made great strides to this point. The 'Canes must have continued scoring balance, and they must impose their quickness and athleticism defensively to advance this year. Having won games against quality opponents such as Florida, Vanderbilt and Boston College, they should be ready for the next challenge.