Nigia Greene’s right knee has been the source of much consternation and exultation.
Lately, it’s been more of the latter, and the Miami Hurricanes hope it stays that way on Monday night when the women’s basketball team opens its ACC road schedule with a game at Pittsburgh (9-4, 0-0).
Miami, which is expected to drop from its No. 11 ranking after losing at home to No. 7 Florida State on Thursday, is 11-2 and 0-1.
Greene, a 5-10 senior shooting guard, has had three of her past five seasons interrupted by knee surgery. After getting injured again last season, Canes coach Katie Meier had a talk with her.
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“I said, ‘Gia, I love you — you have done everything Miami has asked of you,’ ” Meier said. “Whether or not you want to come back and try to play again, you will still have your scholarship so you can finish your degree.”
Greene, who missed her entire junior season at Atlanta’s St. Francis High and all of her first year at Miami, appreciated Meier’s words.
But there was no way she was quitting.
It’s a good thing for Miami that she’s so resilient because after producing little during her first three years, Greene has emerged as one of Miami’s best shooters and a leader off the bench.
While averaging just 18 minutes a game, Greene is shooting a team-best 42.6 percent on three-pointers (20 of 47). Her scoring average is 6.6 points.
Greene said the thought of quitting “did run through my mind” last season when she missed 17 games.
“But I never seriously considered it,” Greene said. “How can I leave when [Meier] opened the door for me? It’s about loyalty. [Meier] brought me here for a reason, and I’m here to fulfill that reason.”
Right now, that reason, primarily, is to hit three-pointers off the bench.
“She’s such a good story,” Meier said. “I remember being sad, just as a human being, last season when she hurt her knee, thinking, ‘How is this kid going to come back from this?’ ”
Greene was one of three terrific guards Meier signed as part of the 2013 recruiting class. Adrienne Motley, from Virginia, was ranked No. 27 by espnw.com, Greene was No. 41, and Jessica Thomas, from Gainesville, was not in the top 100 but has already started 80 games at Miami.
But Greene got injured in practice before she got a chance to play even one game during her first year in Miami.
Despite the injuries, Greene has shown she’s made out of tough rubber instead of breakable glass, Meier said, and now she’s finally producing.
“I’m blessed,” said Greene, who is majoring in electronic media with a minor in advertising. “I’m going to be able to graduate college with no debt and have ‘Miami’ on my diploma. It’s a blessing.”
The Bucs’ men’s basketball team, 9-1 and ranked 10th in the nation in NCAA Division II, is getting a boost from newcomer Sawyer Glick, a 6-4 sophomore guard from Indiana.
Despite starting just one game, Glick is the team’s third-leading scorer (13.1). He is shooting 91.7 percent on free throws and 49.2 percent on three-pointers (32 of 65).