The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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AUGUST 2018 THE WOLVERINE 27 nationally, while she was also one of five finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, annually given to the nation's top female point guard. As a team, U-M made the NCAA Tournament, an elusive achievement on a road fraught with near misses. It marked the program's first NCAA bid since 2013. "Team-wise, it's just getting the program to a different level and be- ing able to compete with the top 20 teams in the country," she said. "That was my main goal when I came to the school, making it a national contender. That's the thing I'm most proud of." Individually, it's tough to ignore one's name on the top of an all-time scoring list. Rice himself didn't ignore it, and upon his return to Ann Arbor he took advantage of the chance to meet with Flaherty. They didn't square off in any three- point shootouts during the visit. But Michigan's greatest men's scorer (2,442 points) and the newly crowned queen of female scorers enjoyed com- paring notes. "I think Coach [John] Beilein had a lot to do with it and set it up," Fla- herty said. "Glen Rice wanted to come back and thought it would be a nice thing. That was just incredible. That was something I'll never forget. I was very grateful that he did that. "It's so hard to put into words, espe- cially when you see who your name is up there with. Getting to meet Glen Rice? That's amazing, just to be in the same category as him." Barnes Arico recalled Flaherty com- ing into her office that freshman year, convinced she'd flunked an exam. Again, it proved a case of overestimat- ing the mountain and underestimat- ing the climber. "She didn't fail the exam," Barnes Arico recalled. "I think she got a B. She finished graduating with all A's this past semester, and finished with over a 3.4 GPA. She's not only excellent on the basketball court, but excellent in the classroom and excellent in the community. "She's truly a special, special player in our program. We always talk about how it's four for 40. She is a Michigan woman for the rest of her life." She's also prepping for the possi- bility of life without basketball. Even with all of her success, Flaherty's Michigan career didn't play out seam- lessly. "I hurt my back last year, in the sum- mer," she said. "I had herniated discs in my back. This year when I played, I had to keep getting epidural injections in my back, just to play. Right now, basketball would only be an option if I had surgery. "I'm trying to figure that out, but right now, I'm trying to be set up for a career." Thanks to her academic dedication, she'll enjoy some attractive options. A psychology major at Michigan, she's shifted into some heavy-duty science classes now, taking prerequisites for eventually getting into school to be- come a physician's assistant if her bas- ketball days are indeed done. Either way, nobody's doubting her ability to take on the next hurdle this time around. "You're going to have good days and bad days," Flaherty assured. "You have to keep working hard and believe in yourself. Things will work out, as long as you put in the effort. Don't get discouraged, even when times are hard." She's also thankful when times are good. They've been that way over the course of four years at Michigan, in- volving what she describes as the best decision she's ever made. To be regarded as Michigan's best female athlete in 2017-18? That's not bad, either. "That's incredible," she said. "My dad and I were just talking about it. Michigan has so many All-Americans and NCAA champions. Like I said about the scoring, to be at the top of that list is so incredible." ❏ Filling Out The Top Five Female Athletes Katelynn Flaherty stood out among all woman Wolverines this season. Here are four more who warrant a mention in the top five for 2017-18. 2. Katie Trombetta, Field Hockey — Trombetta drew strong consideration for the top honor following a standout senior season. The Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association first-team All-American became the Big Ten Player of the Year and the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player. The outstanding defender anchored a crew that allowed 0.83 goals per game, which ranked second nationally. She also finished fourth on the squad with 19 points, including a team-high 11 assists. 3. Kate Fahey, Tennis — The junior earned 2018 Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors for women's tennis and became a unanimous All-Big Ten choice. She went 27-9 in singles this past season, 18-3 at the No. 1 singles spot in dual matches, and finished the season ranked No. 30 in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. 4. Siobhán Haughey, Swimming — The junior earned five Collegiate Swim- ming Coaches Association of America All-America citations — in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle, and the 200-yard, 400-yard and 800-yard freestyle relays. The Hong Kong native also added All-America honorable mentions in the 200- yard individual medley and the 400-yard medley relay. She finished as the national runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle, fourth in the 100-yard freestyle and ninth in the 200-yard individual medley, after winning the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley at the Big Ten Champion- ships. Haughey was also part of the league's top 400-yard freestyle relay. 5. Claire Borchers, Track & Field — Borchers accomplished plenty as a senior, earning first-team All-America honors with her career-best 9:48.33 in the steeple- chase to finish fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She won the event at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, while finishing fourth in the mile at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The Grand Haven, Mich., native was also part of the distance medley relay squad that took first at the conference meet during the indoor season, and she scored throughout the postseason for the cross country squad that finished ninth nationally. — John Borton Head coach Kim Barnes Arico on Flaherty "Here we are, four years later, and she's leaving as the leading scorer in program history, men or women. I tell her that, every day — she was good enough to play for us."

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