The Wolverine

February 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  women's basketball Wolverines Closing The Gap Against MSU T here has always been some discrepancy between the Michigan and Michigan State women's basketball programs. The Spartans have three Big Ten regular-season championships, the most recent of which came in 2011, and a conference tournament title. The Wolverines have none. The Spartans have earned 13 NCAA Tournament berths, including five straight, and advanced to the 2005 national championship game. The Wolverines have made it to just six NCAA Tournaments, never advancing past the second round. And the Spartans have dominated the Wolverines over the years, building an all-time series record of 63-16. "When I was first hired here, I spoke a lot about Michigan State being such a great program," second-year Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico said. "They have had so much tradition in women's basketball. That's what we're striving to be, and every day we're getting closer and closer." The Wolverines have always played second fiddle to Michigan State in women's basketball, but under Barnes Arico's watch, that is changing rapidly. Michigan notched a programdefining win over the Spartans in Crisler Arena last season, coming from behind to pull out a 70-69 vic- Michigan dropped a hard-fought 79-72 decision to Michigan State Jan. 12, but head coach Kim Barnes Arico (far right) had her team tied with the Spartans atop the Big Ten standings heading into late January. photo courtesy michigan athletic media relations tory. Before the win, the Wolverines had lost 12 straight and 20 of the last 21 to their in-state rival. Michigan State escaped Crisler Arena with a 79-72 victory Jan. 12, but the message is clear: the Wolverines aren't scared of the Spartans. As of Jan. 20, the two teams were tied atop the conference standings with 4-1 records in conference play, and Michigan nearly pulled out the win over Michigan State before a late-game run put the Spartans ahead for good. "Michigan State women's basket-

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