The Wolverine

November 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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48 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2021 2021-22 BASKETBALL PREVIEW BY CLAYTON SAYFIE C oming off the best campaign in program history, which included a 16-6 record and the team's first-ever trip to the Sweet 16, Michigan women's basketball is looking to achieve even more in 2021-22. Tenth-year head coach Kim Barnes Arico has a veteran squad that brings back three starters and five seniors, and she's confident her group can see immense success once again. Having coached for more than two decades, however, she also knows improvement isn't always a given. "You want to bottle [what we had last year], because every year is different and there are no guarantees that this year is going to be the same," Barnes Arico said. "We'll work for that, for sure, but every- thing that we had to go through and all of those little hurdles and obstacles that we had to overcome really brought us closer together, and we were ready for the mo- ment when the moment came." The Maize and Blue are headlined by senior forward Naz Hillmon, the first All- American in program history and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, who averaged 23.9 points and 11.4 rebounds per contest last season. While the perception may be that Hill- mon has mastered the game of college basketball and doesn't have anything left to prove before heading off to the WNBA, that's not the case. The 6-2 star is work- ing to hone in on what she already does well, and expand what she can do even further. "One of the greatest things about Naz is her ability to continue to improve, and that is something that she puts a tremen- dous amount of focus into," Barnes Arico said. While she's attempted only one three- point shot in her career, Hillmon has been working on her outside stroke, in addition to her ball handling, in an attempt to be- come even more of a complete player. "She's already unguardable, so I think that'll only bring her game to a new level," senior guard Leigha Brown said. "There is always more I can do," Hill- mon added, noting that she's not going to impatiently unveil anything new until she's confident she can do it at a high level in games. Barnes Arico also revealed that she has "challenged" Hillmon to be more of a leader. Brown, who averaged 18.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per tilt last sea- son, is another one of the top players in the conference and will have an even big- ger role in her second season in Ann Arbor after transferring from Nebraska. Famously, Hillmon got choked up at her Senior forward Naz Hillmon is not only the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, but last year she also became the first player in program history to be named an All-American, earning first-team hon- ors from Sports Illustrated, The Athletic and the United States Basketball Writers Association. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN BUILDING FROM A HIGH POINT Following The Best Season In Program History, Women's Basketball Is Reaching For New Heights In 2021-22 2021-22 Women's Basketball Schedule Date Opponent Time (TV) Nov. 9 IUPUI 7 p.m. (BTN+) Nov. 13 St. Francis Brooklyn 2 p.m. (BTN+) Nov. 16 UMass Lowell 6 p.m. (BTN+) Nov. 20 at Central Michigan 1 p.m. Nov. 22 Oakland 7 p.m. (BTN+) Nov. 26 vs. Oregon State* 6:45 p.m. Nov. 27 vs. Mississippi State* 4:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Louisville^ 7 p.m. Dec. 5 Akron 2 p.m. (BTN+) Dec. 9 at Wisconsin 9 p.m. (BTN) Dec. 12 Minnesota 2 p.m. (BTN+) Dec. 19 Baylor# 1 p.m. (ESPN) Dec. 22 Eastern Michigan 1 p.m. (BTN+) Dec. 31 Ohio State 12 p.m. (BTN) Jan. 4 at Nebraska 9 p.m. (BTN) Jan. 9 Rutgers 2 p.m. (BTN+) Jan. 13 at Penn State TBA (BTN+) Jan. 16 at Maryland 5 p.m. (ESPN2) Jan. 20 Wisconsin 7 p.m. (BTN+) Jan. 24 Purdue 6 p.m. (BTN) Jan. 27 at Ohio State 6 p.m. (BTN) Jan. 31 Indiana 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Feb. 3 at Illinois TBA (BTN+) Feb. 6 Iowa 2/7:30 p.m. (TBA) Feb. 10 at Michigan State 6:30 p.m. (BTN) Feb. 13 at Northwestern TBA (BTN+) Feb. 20 Maryland 3 p.m. (BTN) Feb. 24 Michigan State 6 p.m. (BTN) Feb. 27 at Iowa 4 p.m. (ESPN2) * at Daytona Beach Invitational; ^ Big Ten/ACC Challenge; # Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Showcase in Uncasville, Conn.; BTN — Big Ten Network; BTN+ — Big Ten Network Plus

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