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Even with accolades pouring in, Katie Meier said Canes won't get ahead of themselves

There has been so much to celebrate for the University of Miami women's basketball team lately it's been tough keeping track of all the accolades:

Katie Meier > There's the share of the Atlantic Coast Conference title the team won on Sunday (only the third time the program has won at least a piece of the conference regular season crown).

> The culmination of the second-best regular season (26-3) in school history. Only the 1992-93 team that went 30-2 and reached the Sweet 16 did better.

> Monday, the Canes climbed to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll -- the first time UM has first ventured into the nation's Top 10 rankings since 1992 (UM finished sixth in the final poll).

> And of course, there is the bye and No. 2-seed the team earned in this week's ACC Tournament.

Tuesday morning, the Canes received more good news when Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson, the ACC's top two scorers, were named to the All-ACC First Team and sophomore forward Morgan Stroman, the conference's leader in steals, received Third Team honors. UM was the only team with three players to receive All-ACC honors.

Before Johnson and Williams, the last time UM had two first-team all-conference players in the same season was in 1991-92 when Frances Savage and Vicki Plowden led the Canes to the Sweet 16 and a 30-2 record.

More accolades could come later this week when the ACC announces its Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.

Johnson, who is the only player in the ACC to rank in the Top 10 in scoring (second with 19.6 per game), rebounding (eighth with 7.8 per game), assists (ninth with 3.7 per game) and steals (second with 3.2 per game), is considered the favorite to win Player of the Year. If Meier doesn't win Coach of the Year, there might have to be a federal investigation.

So how are the Canes going to handle all this new found admiration and success? Meier said the same way they've handled all their other challenges -- by not getting ahead of themselves. National championship thoughts? Not even on the radar Meier said Tuesday.

"We have a game on Friday and we don't know who we'll play. That's a little unsettling for us. That's going to have our attention and that's what we're going to do," said Meier, whose team will face the winner between Boston College (18-11) and N.C. State (13-16) Friday night at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.

"Just like in our NIT run last year, we didn't print out a bracket and write our name right through the top. It happened because we took the first game against Florida Gulf Coast and went game by game. We're hungry enough and humble enough to not get caught up what possibly could be. We're just very concerned about what's in front of us."

Most people might point to the way UM finished last season -- making it all the way to the NIT final -- as the turning point for the program. Meier, however, says there was another point in her mind when she thought her team brought their level of play up.

"It's going to be an odd answer, but to me, the time they really amazed me was at Ole Miss," Meier said of her team's 82-46 blowout on Dec. 21. "Like every coach, I'm a bit neurotic. We were getting done with final exams and we all had to travel. So, that one game we had before they go home, it's very hard to get your team's attention because some of them are flying out that night. In warmups it was 'Well, what time is your flight.' So, the focus wasn't there. That's a question you have as a head coach. Can they mature? Can they handle it and go home and have a good Christmas? Or is it going to be one of those games you let it get away.

"We jumped out on Ole Miss 23-1 and I literally was stunned. Ole Miss was a solid team and an SEC Road game. And we just exploded on them and there was an excitement and enthusiasm. They proved to me they can be very business like and play with passion at the same time. That's when they had me. That's for sure."

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