After the BankUnited Center opened in 2003 and the women’s basketball team moved over from the Knight Sports Complex, the girls played in front of a sea of empty seats even though attendance remained relatively the same.
A few years ago, a gigantic black curtain was installed to hide many of those empty seats and provide a more intimate feel.
Photographically speaking, that curtain is a gem, as players “pop” off the clear background, as if in a studio, at the top of my images with a dozen or so mainly-filled rows of seats filling the lower half.
As much as I love that curtain, I’d also love to see it raised.
The 2012 Hurricanes Women’s Basketball team is currently 22-3 and ranked #6 in the country. They have won 11 consecutive games and 38 consecutive games at home. They are anchored by three seniors, two of whom are locks to enter the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in the future.
It’s a shame most of you have missed seeing them at least once during their careers.
I know the tired old argument that women’s sports are not as exciting as men’s sports, to which my reply is, “You haven’t seen this team play.” I knew it two years ago when I went to Berkeley, California, to shoot them in the WNIT final, and I know it even more so today.
The good news is you have two final chances to see Shenise, Riquna and Sylvia play. This Sunday, the ‘Canes take on our beloved rival FSU at 3:30pm. Advance tickets are as low as $1 or $5 at the door, and proceeds will go to the Play 4 Kay organization.
On Sunday, February 26th, the ‘Canes will play Boston College at 1pm and admission is FREE. It’s also Senior Day, and Shenise, Riquna and Sylvia will be honored before the game.
The women’s attendance record at the BankUnited Center is 4973, and UM officials want that number surpassed on Sunday.
So as the ‘Canes “Strive For Five,” I say “Raise The Curtain.”
And if you sit on the South side behind the benches, you’ll replace the curtain in my images. Nothing would make me happier.
The Miami Hurricanes Women’s Basketball team is creating excitement not seen in a generation.
Nineteen years ago, the ‘Canes sandwiched 30 consecutive wins between an opening night overtime loss at FSU and a loss to Vanderbilt in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. The 2010-11 version has a chance to be just as special.
Sunday, the #16 Hurricanes were tested by #25 Georgia Tech, trailing for much of the game against the larger Yellow Jackets. The ‘Canes’ aggressiveness forced 28 Yellow Jackets’ fouls, resulting in four of the five Georgia Tech starters fouling out. Once the opponent’s size was sitting on the bench, the game was in hand.
The win was the ‘Canes’ 21st straight at home, and pushed UM’s record this season to 20-2.
Games like Sunday’s against Georgia Tech are games the ‘Canes need to win to receive a high seed come tournament time in March.
While the next test is a road matchup with #3 Duke, this team needs and deserves your support, regardless of the outcome on Thursday in Durham.
This time you don’t have to go to a glorified high school gym to see them. Despite the curtains ringing three sides of the BankUnited Center, the games have an electric air about them.
In the opening round of the WNIT Tournament last year the ‘Canes hosted Florida Gulf Coast in front of 636 fans, many of them Eagles fans from across Alligator Alley. The place resembled an echo chamber at times. Last Sunday, 1227 noisy cheering fans were at the BUC. There’s plenty of room for more. At $5 a ticket, it’s by far the best entertainment value in town.
Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson will be in the UM Sports Hall of Fame someday. Each has surpassed 1000 career points and are #1 and #2 in scoring in the ACC this season. Morgan Stroman has led the ‘Canes in rebounding 10 times this season and has seven double-doubles. Stefanie Yderstrom has connected on 31 three-pointers this season, including twice Sunday in overtime. This success should carry over into next season as there is not one senior on the roster.
While I’m a fan of the big black curtains, photographically speaking, I’d rather they lift them in order to seat more of you. For a little more than the price of a value meal, you can be entertained for two hours and see some Hurricanes student-athletes who will be talked about for generations.
Publications Coordinator Etta Schaller of the Hurricanes Media Relations department has created dozens of computer wallpaper graphics for your downloading pleasure over at Hurricanesports.com. Images include our work from the Coach Golden press conference and men’s & women’s basketball photo day and game action through this season. You may access the wallpaper section of Hurricanesports.com directly by clicking here.
Both the men’s and women’s basketball season openers take place tomorrow at the BankUnited Center. The women tip off at noon and the men at 7:30pm. The women are led by juniors Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams (below) and the men by sixth year senior Adrian Thomas (above).
The Hurricanes disdain runner-up trophies.
At least that’s how the story goes over the years. A College World Series runner-up trophy held a door open for Jim Morris’ interview at UM before being hired back in 1994. A Fiesta Bowl runner-up trophy held a door open in the SID office back in 2003.
Don’t tell it to Charmaine Clark, who was holding the WNIT runner-up trophy like a teddy bear while touring San Francisco after Saturday’s 73-61 loss to the University of California in the WNIT Championship Game.
Even the 1991-92 team, the greatest team in Miami Women’s Basketball history, who bookended the season with losses around 30 straight wins, didn’t win five straight in the postseason.
The ‘Canes made their run after losing 6 of 7 games at the end of the season, including a “one and done” appearance at the ACC Conference Tournament. This team could have called it a season in the WNIT opener against Florida Gulf Coast, a team with a 24-7 record. Instead they took down the Eagles, then the Gators, Aggies, Friars, and Wolverines.
By the time they arrived in Berekely, they were gassed, having spent time in Chicago awaiting their final destination, then having to travel west and play in about 24 hours time. They shot 13% (2 of 15) from the floor to open the game.
The Hurricanes return with all but two players from this year’s team, and with the experience of having played in do or die games and championship pressure and disappointment. This runner-up trophy is a stepping stone instead of a door-stop.
Miami’s Charmaine Clark tries to block the shot from Ta’Wuana “Tweet” Cook of North Carolina A&T during the ‘Canes 84-77 victory over the Aggies at the BankUnited Center tonight. The ‘Canes advance to play at Providence Sunday at 2pm.
Clark scored 14 points, dished out a game-high seven assists and grabbed six rebounds.
The Hurricanes defeated the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 70-57 in the first round of the WNIT last night at the BankUnited Center. The ‘Canes advance to the 2nd round and will face the Florida Gators at home Sunday at 2pm.
Charmaine Clark is shown above scoring two of her 13 points, and she added five rebounds for Miami. Shenise Johnson led the ‘Canes with 20 points.
The Hurricanes (17-13) will host their first WNIT game since the 2005-06 season when they take on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (24-6) tonight at 7 pm at the BankUnited Center in the first ever meeting of the two Florida schools.
For seniors Charmaine Clark and Diane Barnes (above), it’s another chance to play at home.
The winner moves on to face either Florida or South Florida in the second round.
Read the Hurricanes press release here.
Johnson, named to the first team, scored 18.6 points per game and led the `Canes with 7.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
Williams, named to the second team, was the ACC’s second leading scorer this season with 19.5 points per game and set a new school single season record for three pointers with 83.
Riquna Williams scored five of her 27 points in OT. She also set a new school single season record for three point shots by making five in the game, giving her 83 so far this season.
Shenise Johnson scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds as Miami snapped a three game losing streak with an 80-69 victory over the #9 North Carolina Tar Heels last night at the BankUnited Center. Johnson also had six assists and tied a career high with eight steals.
Miami won its second game of the season over a ranked team. The Hurricanes defeated then #13 Florida State on January 10th. Miami also ended Maryland’s 48 game home winning streak on January 21st.
Behind Riquna Williams’ two three-pointers in the final minute, including the game-winner with 2.4 seconds left, and Shenise Johnson’s 17 points, the Hurricanes snapped the Maryland Terrapins’ 48 game home winning streak 80-77 on Thursday. The streak was the second longest active home winning streak in the nation, behind only Connecticut’s current 58 game streak.
Morgan Stroman added 15 points for the ‘Canes, while ACC scoring leader Riquna Williams was held to 10 points on 4 of 23 shooting from the floor. Diane Barnes (above) added 5 boards and 8 points.
Stroman currently leads all ACC rookies in steals, averaging 2.0 per game, and ranks third among active league newcomers in rebounding with 6.4 per game.
Against FSU, Stroman scored 14 points, her fifth double-figure scoring effort of the season. In addition, the 2009 McDonald’s All-American added five rebounds, three steals, and went six-for-seven at the free-throw line. All five of her rebounds came on the offensive end, extending possessions for #25 ranked Miami.
The ‘Canes (13-2) earned their first win over a top-15 team since beating #10 Purdue on December 19, 1991.
The ‘Canes (12-2) are led by sophomore guard Riquna Williams, who is averaging 22.1 points per game, and sophomore forward Shenise Johnson, who is averaging 18.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
While I prefer to stay as low to the ground as possible while shooting sports, sometimes other perspectives make for interesting images. When the Hurricanes played in Miami Arena, the catwalks above the floor perfectly aligned with the baskets, so mounting a remote camera above the rim was possible.
When the BankUnited Center opened in 2003, the catwalks were configured differently than the old arena, thus eliminating the direct overhead view. Last season I mounted a camera over the Hurricanes bench and captured a strategy session during a timeout.
Senior Diane Barnes grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and also scored 12 points, recording her second double-double of the season, helping the ‘Canes women’s basketball team to an 88-46 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at the BankUnited Center last night.
Hurricanes sophomore Shenise Johnson poses in her Team USA uniform at the BankUnited Center on Tuesday. Shenise was a member of the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship squad that brought home the gold from Thailand in August.