The Wolverine

March 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2024 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 75 BY ANTHONY BROOME M ichigan got another up-close and personal look at Iowa star Caitlin Clark in a 106-89 loss to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Feb. 15. Needing only eight points to break Kelsey Plum's all- time women's basketball career scor- ing record, the phenom finished with a career-high 49 points in the victory. Clark scored eight of Iowa's first 10 points and hit one of her patented three-pointers from the logo to break the record, followed by a timeout and lengthy ovation from the crowd. Michigan would have traded anything for a victory against the nation's No. 4 team, but Clark's stardom is some- thing that was respected coming into the game. "She's done so much for our sport, and for the women's side of it," junior guard Jordan Hobbs said a few days before the contest, via The Michigan Daily. "It's just incredible, I have nothing but respect for her. And I'm just excited. I hope she does it against us. I hope we can witness that. And we'll be on the wrong side of the video, but it'll be cool." The Wolverines were fighting for their postseason lives but knew that they were in for a coronation in Iowa City, and understood the big-picture impact of Clark breaking the record. "I've obviously known Caitlin Clark since she's been a little kid," Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said in prep- aration for the game. "I had a chance to recruit her, get to know her family and kind of watch her develop through the years. And she's just a phenome- nal, phenomenal player that has helped change the women's game and helped bring an enormous amount of light and respect and viewers to the women's game. "I'm just super thrilled for her and what she's been able to accomplish and how instrumental she's been in trans- forming women's college basketball." The Wolverines' record stood at 16- 11 overall (7-8 Big Ten) through games of Feb. 18, with three regular-season contests remaining before the Big Ten Tournament commences in Minneapo- lis from March 6-10. WOLVERINES REPRESENTED BY TWO MCDONALD'S ALL-AMERICANS Next season, Michigan will bring in Syla Swords and Olivia Olson — the two highest-ranked signees in program his- tory at No. 11 and No. 15, respectively — after signing with the program in November. Before their arrival in Ann Arbor, they will both represent U-M as McDonald's All-American Game selec- tions. The 2024 McDonald's All-American Game will take place at the Toyota Cen- ter in Houston on April 2 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Swords, who hails from Sudbury, On- tario, averaged 14.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game to help Long Island Lutheran High to the 2023 Class AA New York State Federation Tournament of Champions title. "Swords is one of the top all-around complete guards in the country," ESPN's Shane Laflin said. "She is tough as nails, serious competitor between the lines, but a caring and diligent leader off the court. Swords finishes strong at the rim, has a consistent pull-up jumper, and is lethal from the three. She has quite a bit of international competition under her belt, participating on several levels of the Canadian National Team in her career thus far. She is a savvy defender, often shutting down the primary scor- ers of opponents with her intensity and anticipation. Her energy and positiv- ity are contagious and she will head to Michigan and head coach Kim Barnes Arico next year — soon to be a fan favor- ite in Ann Arbor with her style of play." Olson, a star at Benilde St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park, Minn., averaged 25.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in her junior season en route to winning the Class 3A state champion- ship in 2023. "Olson is an all-around skilled bas- ketball player that will be able to play multiple positions at the next level," Laflin said. "She is a big wing with point guard eyes and a knock down 3. Her game has evolved from primary ballhandler to what can be described as a versatile point-forward application now. She can take advantage of her skills in post-up or pinch post touches as well as lead and facilitate the offense. Michi- gan is bringing in a big and important 2024 class and she is a vital part of it for Kim Barnes Arico." ❑ ❱  WOMEN'S BASKETBALL U-M Part Of Historic Women's Hoops Moment Michigan celebrated its women's basketball alumni weekend at Crisler Center Feb. 17-18. Unfortunately, the current Wolverines' comeback attempt fell short and they dropped a close one to Michigan State, 70-66. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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