SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Miami arrives at the NCAA tournament with something to prove after a disappointing conference tourney. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they will have to prove themselves without one of their top players on the floor.
Third-seeded Miami plays No. 14 seed Idaho State in a Kingston Region first-round matchup Saturday in Spokane, Wash.
Miami (25-5), which was upset by Wake Forest in the ACC tournament, is led by guard Shenise Johnson, who averages 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
But senior guard Riquna Williams did not accompany the team to Spokane. Coach Katie Meier said Williams did not make the trip because of conduct detrimental to the team. Details were not immediately available. Williams averages 16 points per game and was an All-ACC first team selection this year.
Krystal Saunders will start in her place, Meier said.
"I am extremely confident in the Hurricane team that will take the floor in Spokane,'' Meier said.
The Hurricanes average 76.9 points per game, sixth best in the nation. Miami is a No. 3 seed for the second consecutive year. They lost to Oklahoma in the second round last year.
Idaho State (24-7), winner of the Big Sky tournament, is making its third appearance in the NCAA tournament and first since 2007. They have not won a game in the tournament.
The Bengals have four players who average double figures, led by Chelsea Pickering at 12 points per game.
"They are incredibly balanced,'' Meier said. "They have no selfish players.''
The Bengals also are relaxed, said coach Seton Sobolewski
"We let them be goofy and have a good time,'' he said. ''If I get really uptight with them, they are going to get tighter and not play as well.''
Idaho State didn't find out about Miami's decision on Williams until they arrived for practice, but the move won't make much difference to his plans, Sobolewski said.
"We are a little disappointed,'' he said. "We want to play people at their best.''
- Idaho State
- Riquna Williams