By Quincy Hicks/Contributing Writer
Women’s basketball looks to get better in all areas this season
The first game of the women’s basketball season is upon us, and the Panthers are looking for their first win against the 25th ranked Miami Hurricanes.
FIU played Miami last year losing 77-69 and are now looking to avenge the loss.
The Hurricanes will open the 2018-19 season without their leading scorer and rebounder, Erykah Davenport, who graduated last season.
Davenport averaged 12.3 points-per-game last season along with 8.6 rebounds per-game and was the leader among a young Hurricanes squad.
Hurricanes head coach Katie Meiers is in her twelfth season as the team’s head coach and led her team to 20-11 record overall and a 10-6 in conference play last season.
As coach Meier starts a new season, she will likely look to sophomore Mykea Gray to take the reins offensively among a well-balanced scoring team. Gray, a freshman last season, averaged 11.7 points-per-game.
For FIU, the Panthers are only returning four players from last season.
Most of them being young returnees going into their sophomore year like guard TaMiracle Taylor, guard Cabria Lee and forward Shante Walker.
The Panthers lost their top four leading scorers, but second-year head coach Tiara Malcom is looking forward to the challenges ahead with this new squad.
Malcolm is excited about the new players coming into this season, bringing up names like Kylee O’Hara and Chelsea Guimaraes who will have immediate impact on the team this season.
O’Hara is a highly touted freshman from Canada that is a “jack of all trades” on the court. Malcom glowed when speaking about her and said, “She does many things well from rebounding, shooting and you can count on her to be where she needs to be defensively.”
Guimaraes is a redshirt senior that transferred from Georgia last season. However, couldn’t play due to NCAA transfer rules.
This year, she will be needed for leadership on such a young team.
Coach Malcom looks for Guimaraes to be “someone who can get easy baskets down low as well as being versatile on both ends of the floor.” With a 6-foot-3 frame, FIU will have a true presence at the center position.
“I don’t coach effort. You have to bring it every day, good or bad mood,” said Malcom. “But as long as the team brings it to practice every single day, we’re going to help you get better.”
The game against the University of Miami is on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.