Miami Selected as 2011-12 Women's Basketball Preseason Favorite
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Miami women's basketball team has been predicted to finish atop of the 2011-12 ACC Women's Basketball standings for the first time since the Hurricanes joined the league in 2004. The predictions, announced Tuesday, were made by a vote of the Blue Ribbon Panel, consisting of national and local media, as well as school representatives.
The Hurricanes, who earned 30 of a possible 40 first-place votes, are coming off the ultimate turnaround in which the squad finished 12th in 2009-10 and then tied with Duke for the ACC regular season crown one year later. The 12 ACC wins last season were the most for the UM program in the league, while Miami also won 20 games for the 10th time in program history. This year the Canes return their complete starting five, including two of last year's All-ACC first-teamers in seniors Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams.
Following Miami to round out the top five of the preseason selections is Duke with 10 first-place votes, Maryland, Florida State, and Georgia Tech. North Carolina was picked to finish sixth, followed by NC State, Virginia, Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech.
The Preseason All-ACC Team is highlighted by the Miami senior guard tandem of Johnson and Williams. The two led the Canes to a 20-0 home record last season at the BankUnited Center. Johnson returns as the 2011-12 ACC Preseason Player of the Year. The senior was named the 2010-11 ACC Player of the Year, the first Hurricane player to win the award, and voted to last year's All-ACC First Team and All-ACC Defensive team. Johnson also earned spots on the Associated Press Third Team All-America, Full Court Press Second Team All-America, USBWA All-America and WBCA/State Farm All-America teams, as well as named a finalist for the John Wooden Award, given to the top player in women's college basketball.
Joining Johnson and Williams on the Preseason All-ACC team are Florida State senior forward Cierra Bravard, Maryland senior center Lynetta Kizer and Terrapin teammate Alyssa Thomas (sophomore forward).
The ACC Newcomer Watch list, which replaced the Preseason Rookie of the Year honor in 2010, highlights freshmen, true and redshirt, and transfers that are expected to make an immediate impact in the league. This year's Watch List includes Duke freshmen Elizabeth Williams (center) and Amber Henson (forward), Georgia Tech freshman guard Sydney Wallace, North Carolina freshman guard Brittany Roundtree and Clemson freshman guard/forward Natiece Ford. Duke's incoming class for this year marks the second-straight No. 1 recruiting class in the country for the Blue Devils.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Miami (30)
2. Duke (10)
4. Florida State
5. Georgia Tech
6. North Carolina
7. NC State
9. Boston College
10. Wake Forest
12. Virginia Tech
Preseason All-ACC Team
Cierra Bravard, Sr., F, Florida State
Shenise Johnson, Sr., G, Miami
Lynetta Kizer, Sr., C, Maryland
Alyssa Thomas, So., F, Maryland
Riquna Williams, Sr., G, Miami
Newcomer Watch List
Elizabeth Williams, Fr., C, Duke
Amber Henson, Fr., F, Duke
Sydney Wallace, Fr., G, Georgia Tech
Brittany Roundtree, Fr., G, North Carolina
Natiece Ford, Fr., G/F, Clemson
Preseason Player of the Year
Shenise Johnson, Sr., G, Miami
For more information on ACC Women's Basketball, visit theACC.com or follow the ACC on Twitter @accwbb.