Miami Hurricanes women basketball coach Katie Meier signed three freshmen for this upcoming season, but none made ESPN’s top-100 list of the nation’s top recruits.
That does not, however, mean that this is a bad Canes class. Two of the recruits — 6-3 forward Emese Hof and 5-8 point guard Laura Cornelius — led their native Holland to a bronze medal in the U20 European Championships this past summer in Spain.
Holland had never previously medaled at a European Championships, regardless of age and gender, and both Canes recruits were starters on that team.
Hof led the championships in shooting percentage (55) and finished fourth in points (14.8) and fifth in rebounds (7.9) and blocks (1.4).
Cornelius ranked eighth in three-point percentage (42.9) and ninth in assists (2.9).
The Canes hope the Dutch duo has longer-term success than their last European import, Laura Quevedo, who started 13 games for Miami last season before returning to Spain.
Hof and Cornelius join a Canes team led by first-team All-ACC guard Adrienne Motley, a junior. Another junior guard, Jessica Thomas, is coming off a breakthrough season in which she led the Canes in assists and three-pointers and finished second to Motley in scoring.
Senior Michelle Woods will likely be the third starting guard, and 6-1 junior forward Keyona Hayes, who missed last season due to injury, is a good bet to reclaim a starting job inside. Hayes put up impressive numbers during Miami’s recent trip to Holland, and she averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds as a sophomore.
Woods averaged 8.5 points last season, starting 15 games and scoring in double figures 13 times.
A fifth starter — perhaps one of the two freshmen from Holland — still must be found for a Canes team that will face tough challenges in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
A number of ACC teams loaded up on guards in this year’s recruiting class.
▪ Louisville signed Asia Durr, the No. 1 point guard in the country. Durr is one of three five-star guards the Cardinals signed this year.
▪ Duke went one better and signed four five-star guards, including Angela Salvadores of Spain, ranked the fifth-best player overall on ESPN’s list, and Kyra Lambert, ranked ninth. Duke also came to West Palm Beach and signed five-star guard Crystal Primm.
▪ Notre Dame was not left behind in the guards “arms race,” signing two of the top 15 players on ESPN’s list, Arike Ogunbowale and Ali Patberg. They also signed Marina Mabrey to make it three recruits, three guards, three five-star prospects.
▪ North Carolina also ventured into Florida to sign a five-star guard, Orlando Lake Highland Prep’s Destinee Walker, who is ranked the nation’s 17th-best prospect. In total, North Carolina signed three five-star players, two of them guards.
▪ North Carolina State and Syracuse are not among the elite teams in the ACC, but both programs appear ready to make a charge. NC State signed six players, including two guards and three prospects ranked in the top 100; and Syracuse signed five players, including three in the top 100.
▪ Three other ACC schools — Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest — also signed a top-100 player.