The Wolverine

December 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL U-M Signs Four Recruits In Early Signing Period is off to a strong start — both on the court and the recruiting trail. During the early signing period, F irst-year Michigan women's bas- ketball coach Kim Barnes Arico BY ANDY REID four players inked National Letters of Intent to play for the Wolverines in 2013-14: Carlyle (Ill.) High guard Paige Rakers, Gardena (Calif.) Serra High point guard Siera Thompson, Phoenix St. Mary's High point guard Danielle Williams and Gastonia (N.C.) High guard Shannon Smith, a transfer from North Carolina. Although the recruiting class lacks and ranked No. 68 nationally by HoopGurlz, the fifth-highest rated player committed to a Big Ten team. As a junior last season, she averaged 11.0 points, 5.8 assists. 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. She also plays for the Cal Sparks, a high-pro- file AAU team in California. "She is a really tough, strong point size — Rakers is the tallest of the bunch at 5-11 — it makes up for it in sheer talent. Thompson is a four-star prospect guard who can handle the ball and score while also defending at the highest level," Barnes Arico said. "I think her experience, growing up and playing against some of the best competition in the country in Califor- nia, has really prepared her to help us here at Michigan." Williams, also a four-star pros- pect, is ranked No. 97 nationally by HoopGurlz. Her high school team, head coach Kim Barnes Arico entered her first season with optimism. But with several young- sters — such as freshman point guard Madison Ristovski — expected to be big contributors, there were a lot of question marks. The Wolver- ines traveled to Cincinnati for the second game of the year and their first real test. After allowing the Musketeers to jump out to an early 7-3 lead, Michigan found its footing and escaped with a win. Senior center Rachel Sheffer led the way with a game-high 18 points, and senior guard Kate Thompson had a hot hand, hitting 4 of 7 shots from beyond the three-point arc and fin- ishing with 12 points. Worst Loss — 59-40 at Utah: There wasn't Record: 5-1 Best Win — 62-53 at Xavier: New Michigan St. Mary's, went 30-0 last season, won the Nike Tournament Of Cham- pions and was named the ESPN/USA Today national champion. "I have had the opportunity to watch Danielle play since she was in the seventh grade," Barnes Arico said. "I have watched her progress and develop. She has done nothing her whole life but win at everything she does. She is a leader and best in the classroom and on the basketball court. "She is going to come in and do whatever you ask from her. She will give 100 percent to our program." Rakers led Carlyle last season with 19.4 points per game on 44-percent shooting. Smith was named 2010 North Carolina Miss Basketball after averaging 23 points and seven assists per game. She took a medical red- shirt for the Tar Heels in 2010-11 and decided to transfer after last season. She is currently playing for Trinity Valley Community College in Pales- tine, Texas, and will have two years of eligibility with the Wolverines. ❑ Women's Basketball Rewind: Nov. 2-27 the Big Ten). She also leads the team in rebound- ing (7.0 per game), with one double-double on the year (16 points and 13 rebounds in a 70-62 triumph over Detroit). Sheffer has also shone better court vision than a year ago, boasting a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. On The Rise — Sophomore guard Brenae Harris: Last year, Harris played just 191 minutes. After a promising offseason that caught Barnes Arico's eye, Harris started in each of the Wolver- ines' first six games, playing 26.8 minutes per contest. She is shooting 42.3 percent from the floor, adding a crucial 5.3 points per game for a team that is still searching for more diversity in its offensive game. Notable Stat: The Wolverines have hit 41 of 98 guard Jenny Ryan and Thompson are also off to solid starts, Sheffer has been the backbone of the team's success. She leads the team in scoring (16.0 points per game, which ranks ninth in much of a debate here, because the Wolverines have dropped just one game thus far. In truth, it wasn't a terrible loss — and definitely a learning experience for this young Michigan team. The Utes are 5-0 on the year and showed up in the "others receiving votes" category of the Associated Press poll Nov. 26. Utah has won all of its games by an average margin of 17.0 points per game, and the Wolverines are the lone team to hold the Utes to less than 60 points this year. Sheffer was the only Michigan player to score in double digits, totaling 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting. MVP — Senior center Rachel Sheffer: Although senior Senior center Rachel Sheffer led U-M in scoring (16.0 points per game) and rebounding (7.0 per game) during its 5-1 start. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Dating back to the 2004-05 season, the Wolverines have lost three consecutive games to Washtenaw County' basketball team. The low point came in the 2011 WNIT, when Eastern Michigan ousted Michigan in the first round by a score of 67-59. With a chance to exact revenge on the Eagles in a regular- season game last season, the Wolverines suffered a 77-64 loss. Although the Eagles are 1-4 so far this year, they have built a Upcoming Game To Watch — at Eastern Michigan, Dec. 11: s other women's shots from behind the arc (41.8 percent) to rank ninth nationally in three-point shooting. Thomp- son has led the way, draining 52.5 percent (22 of 42) of her threes and ranking fourth nationally in three-point shots made per game (3.7). winning culture, going 69-31 in the last three seasons with at least 22 wins every year. — Andy Reid DECEMBER 2012 THE WOLVERINE 77

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