The rivalry between the University of Miami and Florida State is always a special one, no matter the sport, which is why UM women’s basketball coach Katie Meier is so looking forward to Thursday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference home opener against the No. 18 Seminoles.
“As fierce of a rivalry as it is, I think Sue and I have so much respect for each other,” said Meier, referring to FSU coach Sue Semrau.
“We recruit against each other a ton. You see after the game, we’re hugging a kid, we got them or didn’t get them, but we knew them really well because we recruit the same way, both very personal with our players. It’s very healthy, fun to watch. You see kids who all played AAU together, could have been roommates, and now they’re playing against each other.”
One of those players is the Canes’ Adrienne Motley, a 5-9 freshman point guard from Newport News, Va. Motley was highly recruited coming out of high school, and FSU was one of her five finalists, along with Florida, Virginia Tech and Marshall.
She planned to visit FSU, and has high regard for its staff, but said she “fell in love” with UM first and canceled the trip. She was lured by Meier’s sincerity and energy, Miami’s weather, the small classrooms, and the state-of-the-art production equipment at the School of Communication. Motley worked at her high school TV station and is passionate about pursuing a career in television production.
She has come on strong in recent weeks, going 7 of 11 for 18 points against New Mexico and 8 of 13 for 17 points against Penn.
“I am finally understanding the offense, why we run things and how we run them, and that is allowing me to deliver the ball and also score,” she said.
Meier said she was impressed with Motley when she saw her playing for the highly-acclaimed Boo Williams AAU team.
“This little spunk of a kid was always competing and really excited for her team, and she’s still like that,” Meier said. “When I watch film of our team and she’s on the bench and someone does something good, she’s jumping up and down. I just love her passion for the game. And she’s got guts. She’ll take a game-winner.”
She will have her hands full against the aptly-named senior guard Cheetah Delgado, who is just nine assists away from cracking the Top 20 career assists list at FSU.
The Canes also will be challenged by senior forward Natasha Howard. She made a career-best 12 field goals in back-to-back games, going 12 of 14 against Tennessee-Martin and 12 of 15 at Pitt. She has five double-doubles this season, and 31 career double-doubles to tie former FSU star Sue Galkantas (1981-84) for the school record.
“She’s so productive, a really special athlete,” Meier said of Howard. “You’ve got to start your scouting report with her.”
Both coaches are very familiar with each other’s programs, but this year’s teams are a bit of a mystery because there are so many new players in key roles.
“This is the most unknown of our matchups in recent years,” Meier said. “I’m sure Sue is sitting in their war room with her staff saying, ‘This is kind of a new Miami team,’ and I’m saying the same [thing].”