From 2010 to this past November, Miami Hurricanes’ women’s basketball coach Katie Meier signed seven players who ranked among the nation’s top 70 prospects.
That’s the good news for the No. 24 Hurricanes. The bad news is that the program lost two transcendent talents last year in Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams, along with starter Sylvia Bullock. This spring, the Canes will lose three more starters to graduation: Stefanie Yderstrom, Morgan Stroman and Pepper Wilson.
Meier has managed to keep the program in the Top 25 rankings, in part, by signing top-70 talent such as guards Michelle Woods and Suriya McGuire in 2010/2011 and 6-5 center Macy Keen, 5-9 guard Caprice Dennis and 6-1 forward Keyona Hayes last year.
UM has signed four prospects for the Class of 2013 and have room to add one more player in April. Here is a closer look at the four who already have signed:
• Adrienne Motley, a 5-9 point guard from Newport News, Va., is ranked the 27th best prospect in the nation by ESPN. She averaged 24 points last season. “Motley is a slashing guard,” Meier said. “She had one of the best summers of anyone in the country last year.”
• Nigia (pronounced Nie-GIA) Greene, a 5-10 wing guard from Atlanta, averaged 19 points last season. She is ranked the 41st best prospect in the nation by ESPN but likely would have been higher on the list had it not been for a summer knee injury.
“She would have been top-25, no question,” Meier said. “She attacks the rim and is good in the open court. More than likely she will be a lockdown wing defender.”
• Jessica Thomas, a 5-6 point guard from Gainesville, is the sister of Lamar Thomas, a former Canes wide receiver. She was not ranked among ESPN’s top 100 but impressed Meier during a camp in which Thomas outplayed several highly ranked recruits.
“Lamar’s been telling me about her for years,” Meier said. “And when I saw her at the camp, I just couldn’t forget about her. She is little, and you can find some issues with that, but I never doubted her ability. She plays up-tempo and scores a ton of points.”
• Jassany Williams is a 6-2 forward who transferred from Auburn and will be eligible as a junior next season. Shortly after joining the Canes for her redshirt season, Williams tore her Achilles tendon but should be back practicing by April.
She started 18 games in two years with Auburn and had a career-high seven blocks against Duke last season.
Meier said she offered Williams a scholarship a couple of years ago while she was playing high school ball locally at Nova.
“I was dying to have her,” Meier said. “I did everything I possibly could.”
After there was a coaching change at Auburn, Williams reached out to Meier, who said she needed just “three seconds” to decide to add her to the Canes.
And even though the injury was a bit of a setback, Meier said Williams has “crushed her grades” and taken a similar step forward in learning the Canes’ system.
“She comes to every film session,” Meier said. “She has worked on her jumper and can defend every position. She is kind of like [Bullock] with a little more offense.”