The University of Miami women’s basketball team plays at home Thursday for the first time in 15 days and the only time in a span of 25 days. The Hurricanes hope to get back on track against Virginia Tech after losing three of their past four games, including two in a row on the road.
Miami beat the Hokies 62-45 earlier this month, and the Canes plan to impose their stingy defense again. The UM defense ranks in the top three in the Atlantic Coast Conference in points allowed (57.2) and steals (10.9).
The anchor of the defense, says UM coach Katie Meier, is Jassany Williams, a redshirt senior who transferred from Auburn in 2012. Williams is a 6-2 Davie native and was an all-state selection at Nova High. She chose Auburn over UM largely because she feared Meier would leave for another school. After two seasons, she sheepishly called Meier and asked if she’d still take her.
“I enjoyed my time at Auburn, no ill feelings,” Williams said. “But I wanted to go somewhere I was going to expand and develop as a player, and that’s what Coach Meier specializes in. She can take players to the next level.”
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Meier was delighted with Williams’ decision.
“I told her I regretted every second we didn’t get her,” Meier said. “I loved her as a person, loved how she plays, with ferocity and a protective nature that really fits our style. Her commitment to defense has infected the rest of the team. She’s so smart, so bright, a good citizen. You hate when those get away.”
Williams is averaging 5.2 points and 6.3 rebounds. She graduated last spring and is working on her master’s degree in Liberal Arts. In her free time, she cooks for her teammates. Her queso dip is a team favorite.
She also keeps up with her basketball-playing younger brothers – Shakka at Nova High and Davion at Hollywood Hills. Their father is 6-9, so basketball runs in the family. “I was taller than my kindergarten teacher,” Williams said. “I’ve been tall for a long time.”
She says UM is the perfect fit.
“Defense is all about heart, and it’s so hard to find a group of players with so much heart, willing to lay it all on the line,” she said. “This is a special team.”