The Wolverine

May 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 41 of 67

42 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2022 BY ANTHONY BROOME N az Hillmon's iconic career in the Maize and Blue came to a close with a 62-50 loss to Louisville in the NCAA Tour- nament's Elite Eight on March 28. It ended the time of one of the best players in Michigan history in either the men's or women's basketball programs. Hillmon will forever be linked with helping push expectations to the next level. The 2020-21 season ended in the team's first trip to the Sweet 16. The Wolverines climbed one more rung up the ladder this past season with the first trip to the Elite Eight in program history. Hillmon averaged 21 points, 9.6 re- bounds and 2.1 assists per game this season and tallied 18 double-doubles. She had a pair of 30-point efforts this season and scored 50 in a win at Ohio State in 2020-21. "There are just too many [memories] to point out," Hillmon said after the loss to Louisville. "This is just a really spe- cial group. And not just the ones from this year but my four years here. Just a group of people who accepted me into their family, through all the trials and tribulations of freshman year. Every- body knows how that goes. "They just really supported me throughout this entire time here. I mean, there's too many to pick out, but there will be a lot of reflecting on the four years because they were something special." Hillmon's Michigan accolades put her in the conversation with some of the all-time greats. She is the first Wol- verine to earn All-America honors in women's program history, which she did in both 2021 and 2022. Hillmon is the only player – male or female – in the Michigan record books with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Head coach Kim Barnes Arico often pumped up her star player during her time in Ann Arbor, but it went beyond what she did on the basketball court. Hillmon was a leader in the community, and her impact on the program will be sorely missed. "We speak about it nonstop because it's on the court, but it's off the court as well," Barnes Arico said. "What she's done in the community, what she's done inside our athletic department, what she's done for the Big Ten — it's never- ending, the mark that she is leaving across the board." Plenty of legends and numbers hang in the rafters at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. None of them are 00, and none of them are Naz Hillmon. Barnes Arico is a vocal supporter of Hillmon's number being retired. Hill- mon wants everyone to know that would be a team accomplishment. A BASKETBALL 'DREAM' Naz Hillmon Pushes The Program Forward One Last Time Before Becoming The Highest-Drafted Wolverine Woman Coach Kim Barnes Arico has called for Hillmon's No. 00 jersey to be retired now that she has wrapped up her All- America career at Michigan. PHOTO BY SARAH VANMETRE/MICHIGAN ATHLETICS

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