Lady Vandals sets higher goals this basketball season

MIAMI — A season after finishing just one win short of the state playoffs, the Miami girls basketball team has its sights set on bigger and better things in 2017-18.

“Our goal and our expectation is to qualify for the playoffs,” said Miami coach Marc Marin. “We have a young and relatively inexperienced team, but the talent and the determination is there.”

In 2016-17, which was Marin’s first season at the helm, the Lady Vandals compiled an 8-9 overall record, including a 6-4 record in the 2A South Region. They lost three starters from that team and nine of 15 total players. The returning varsity performers are senior center Aimee Hockaday, junior guard Stella Lopez, junior center Alicia Barreto, junior guard Ariana Yniguez, sophomore guard Jessica Garcia and sophomore forward Madison Palmer.

Hockaday was Miami’s leading scorer and rebounder last season as she averaged 11.6 and 6.3 rebounds per game.

“We have a young team, but we have a lot of potential,” Hockaday said. “I think if the girls keep up the hard work and dedication, we could go so far.”

Meanwhile, last season as a freshman Garcia put up 5.4 points per game and earned honorable mention All-Region. Lopez contributed 5.2 points per game. 

“Jessica and Stella were both strong players for us last year,” Marin said. “Because of the players we have lost, their roles will be even bigger this season.”

Miami opens its season at home against Pima on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. The Lady Vandals will host Globe at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

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