The Wolverine

February 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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52 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2021 BY CLAYTON SAYFIE M ichigan's 69-40 blowout win over Wisconsin Jan. 14 fur- thered what was the best start in program history, with the club im- proving to 10-0. That was also the Wolverines' fifth win in as many Big Ten games, which was their all-time best beginning to conference play. The previous premier starts were when U-M went 7-0 in 1999-2000, 2011-12 and 2015-16. On top of that, the 10 wins in a row marks U-M's longest win streak ever. That stretch included victories over Central Michigan, Oakland, Notre Dame, Wright State, Butler, Wiscon- sin, Northwestern, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin. Eight of the 10 wins came by dou- ble figures, underscoring that U-M came out of the gate hot and solidi- fied itself as one of the Big Ten's best clubs. The average margin of tri- umph in those tilts was 24.8. NAZ HILLMON SCORES SCHOOL-RECORD 50 POINTS IN U-M'S FIRST LOSS Junior forward Naz Hillmon had a special performance in Michigan's first loss of the season at Ohio State Jan. 21, breaking the program's single-game scoring record with 50 points, the most points by a men's or women's player in U-M history and the first 50-point game. Her 20 made field goals also set a new school re- cord, while she grabbed 16 boards to notch her eighth double-double of the season. "Naz had an incredible individ- ual performance," head coach Kim Barnes Arico said following the game. "I've coached some really great players in my time, and no, I've never seen a performance like that. "I mean, she was pretty good against Nebraska when she had 35 [points] and 22 [rebounds], and I think most people thought, 'Man, that will never happen again.' "How is that ever going to hap- pen again when she's circled on the top of everybody's scouting report? They double-team her, triple-team, do whatever [they] have to do, and she still managed to do that. She was in that kind of refuse-to-lose mental- ity, and what a special night from an incredible player." Hillmon was shining when it mat- tered most, too. The Wolverines were down 66-54 at the end of the third quarter and trailed by 14 points at one point in the stanza, but Hillmon led the comeback charge, scoring 31 second-half points to help U-M to a 69-67 lead with 3:07 to play in regula- tion. However, U-M ended up falling by a final score of 81-77. "We didn't come out with the win, and that's definitely something that we strive to do every time we step foot on the floor," Hillmon said in the postgame. "But I will just have to give credit to my teammates and my coaches. They saw that I was heating up, somewhat on fire, and they really got me the ball down the stretch. "They just really opened up things for me, running play after play, giv- ing me touches up and down the floor, whether that was in transition or in our half court. They just be- lieved in me to make those shots." ❏ MICHIGAN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL U-M Gets Off To Best Start In Program History, Ties For Longest Win Streak 2020-21 U-M WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 25 Central Michigan W, 93-75 Nov. 27 at Oakland W, 95-62 Dec. 3 at Notre Dame W, 76-66 Dec. 6 Wright State W, 82-59 Dec. 9 Butler W, 93-54 Dec. 19 at Illinois* Postponed Dec. 23 Penn State* Postponed Dec. 31 Wisconsin* W, 92-49 Jan. 3 at Northwestern* W, 84-63 Jan. 7 Nebraska* W, 64-62 Jan. 10 Illinois* W, 70-50 Jan. 14 at Wisconsin* W, 69-40 Jan. 18 Michigan State* Postponed Jan. 21 at Ohio State* L, 81-77 Jan. 24 Purdue* Postponed Jan. 26 at Michigan State* Postponed Jan. 28 Michigan State* Postponed Feb. 1 at Rutgers* Postponed Feb. 4 Minnesota* Postponed Feb. 7 Maryland* Postponed Feb. 11 at Purdue* TBA Feb. 18 at Indiana* TBA Feb. 21 Ohio State* (ESPN2) 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Iowa* TBA Feb. 28 at Minnesota* TBA Mar. 5/6 Northwestern* TBA Mar. 9-13 Big Ten Tournament^ * Big Ten game; ^ at Indianapolis Hillmon set a single-game school record by scoring 50 points against Ohio State Jan. 21. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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