The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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64 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2017 BY LELAND MITCHINSON F or Michigan women's bas- ketball star Hallie Thome, the success she has experienced so early in her career has come from having teammates that put her in good situations and coaches that always support her. Though the 6-5 center downplays her role in it — and the hard work she puts in — a freshman doesn't finish second in the country in field goal percentage (63.1) and receive the accolades that go along with that without earning it. "I think Hallie is a perfectionist, and she wants to be great," head coach Kim Barnes Arico said. "When she committed, she told us, 'I want to be the best player out there, and I will do everything to reach my goals.' "She's an extremely hard worker, she spends a tremendous amount of extra time [preparing]; she's always in there getting extra workouts." After a season and a half in Ann Arbor, Thome is well on her way to the greatness she desires. On top of her impressive shooting percentage, she became just the second player in school history to score 500 points as a freshman. She also earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team and All-Big Ten honorable mention honors in her first season. This year, Thome has picked up where she left off. She led the team in rebounding (7.7 per game) and ranked second in scoring (15.2) after 19 games while improving her shooting per- centage to 62.8, which ranked ninth nationally. Wisconsin found out the hard way just how offensively potent Thome has become on Jan. 1, when she put up 37 points in a 73-56 Michi- gan win — the third most in a single game in team history. She also pulled down 14 rebounds in that contest. Thome comes from a tall family and is clearly naturally gifted at basketball, but had it not been for her brother she may never have pursued the sport. "I was always tall," Thome said. "I was actually six-foot in sixth grade, so I'm used to being tall and I love it; I wouldn't change it for anything. "I played volleyball for a while, and then I did swimming because my dad swam in college. I think, as I continued to grow — and it's really not a com- mon thing for girls, my parents always stressed that — I always looked up to my brother Jack. [Basketball] is always something he's always played, so as soon he put the ball in his hands I said, 'I want to do that.' I've always aspired to be a lot like him in how he plays." Jack currently plays basketball at Marietta College, and Hallie shared the court with her fraternal twin, Hannah, in high school in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Hannah now plays at the University of Ohio — though at six-foot, she doesn't have Hallie's height — and their two teams faced off earlier this season, with Michigan coming out with a 69-46 victory. What should be concerning for ev- eryone on the Wolverines' schedule the next two and a half years is that Thome still has room to improve. She some- times struggles on the defensive end and can get herself into foul trouble, while she is also prone to letting stron- ger players move her out of position. However, she is continually improving those facets of her game, rounding her- self out to become a complete player. Thome was a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection, in addition to being named honorable mention All-Big Ten, and has continued to improve in her second season. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS   OLYMPIC SPORTS BIG IMPACT Sophomore Center Hallie Thome Is Building Off Her Strong Debut

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