For a Miami Rain Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League franchise returning to its hard-hat principles, it’s only fitting they will play their home games at the Miami Job Corps Center in Miami Gardens this season.
Fourth-year coach Lester Patterson has been preaching toughness and defense in camp following an unceremonious ending to an undefeated regular season.
“This year’s team will have a lot more toughness,’’ Patterson said. “We were missing that toughness factor last season. I feel this team right now is a little bit hungrier to make amends for what we didn’t accomplish last season.”
In a nightmare finish, the Miami Rain fell 86-71 to No. 10 seed St. Louis Surge in the WBCBL National Tournament quarterfinals at Shula’s Athletic Club in Miami Lakes. Following that game, Patterson lamented his team’s lack of toughness and season-high 16 turnovers.
Patterson will see how this revamped roster with seven new faces measures up in the toughness department when they host the Georgia-Lina Hurricanes in their season opener Saturday.
“It is very important for us to get off to a strong start based on how we ended the season last season,’’ Patterson said. “Especially against a quality team with four or five Division 1 players coming in here.”
Georgia-Lina kicks off a 11-game regular season schedule for the Rain, which will host the Suncoast regional championships July 20-21.
If the Rain advance, they would earn a berth in the National Tournament that will be hosted by the St. Louis Surge. That tournament will take place August 3-4.
The Rain benefit by returning five veterans in Christina Rozier (12 ppg), Charmaine Clark (11 ppg), and defensive specialist Arlande Cherizone. Jamie Kinner and Telisha Quarles are also familiar with Patterson’s system.
Patterson believes the addition of Cherelle George, Shanel Williams and 6-3 center Diamond Ashmore provides an automatic upgrade over last season’s roster.
The Rain lacked a consistent inside offensive presence last season and Patterson expects Ashmore to remedy that shortcoming.
“This is a whole new team,’’ Patterson said. “It wasn’t a good ending for our returnees and the newcomers are excited about showcasing what they can bring to this team.”