The Wolverine

January 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  women's basketball Michigan Is Shooting The Lights Out T he Michigan women's basketball team is off to a hot start, posting a 9-2 record in the first 11 games of head coach Kim Barnes Arico's tenure at U-M. One of the biggest areas of improvement so far has been shooting from behind the arc, where Michigan is excelling. The Wolverines stood No. 1 in the Big Ten in three-point field goals made per game, hitting 6.5 per game through Dec. 17. They also were second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, hitting them at a 39.8 percent clip (72 of 181 through 11 games). In 32 games last season, Michigan hit 198 three-point attempts. Although the Wolverines are on pace to hit just 11 more three-point attempts this year (projected through 32 games, the Wolverines are on pace to notch 209 this year), they are shooting much more efficiently this season. In 2011-12, Michigan was seventh in the conference in three-point shooting percentage, hitting just 31.7 percent (198 of 625). At the rate the Wolverines are shooting this year, they would hit 209 of 526 three-point shots through a 32-game schedule. Senior guard Kate Thompson has proved to be a dangerous option from behind the arc. "I think she is one of the best shooters in the country," Barnes Arico said. "We've done a good job shooting outside, and it all starts with her." Thompson was 41 of 86 from threepoint range through 11 games and ranked fifth nationally in three-pointers made per contest (3.7). Thompson has been a reliable shooter in years past — hitting 88  of  232 three-pointers in her first three years — but she has broken out this season by hitting 47.7 percent of her long-range shots. "I think we really focused on shooting this offseason," Thompson said. "We had a 10,000 Shot Club, where we counted up all the shots we put up by ourselves. "By the end of the summer, ev- Senior guard Kate Thompson was 41  of  86 (47.7 percent) from three-point range through 11 contests and ranked fifth nationally in three-pointers made per game (3.7). photo by per kjeldsen eryone was in the 10,000 Shot Club. [Freshman point guard] Madison Ristovski was the first one to reach 10,000 shots. She worked very hard at it all summer." And those shots will definitely help the rest of the team, while opponents continue to key on Thompson from the outside. Women's Basketball Rewind: Nov. 27-Dec. 17 Overall Record: 9-2 Record From Nov. 27-Dec. 17: 4-1 Best Win — 59-53 vs. Florida: Florida (8-3) is having a strong season, especially offensively where it's averaging 73.0 points per game and has topped the 80-point plateau four times. But the Wolverines completely stifled the Gators attack, holding them to a season-low 53 points in a six-point win at Crisler Arena Dec. 1. Florida jumped out to a 32‑27 lead at halftime, but Michigan held the Gators to just 21 points after the break. Senior guard Kate Thompson led the way with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Worst Loss — 71-54 vs. Duke: In the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Wolverines drew a difficult matchup. As of Dec. 17, the Blue Devils stood undefeated and ranked No. 4 in the country. The closest anyone had come to beating Duke so far this season was No. 9 Cal — and even that game was a 14-point win for the Blue Devils (77-63). Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico was obviously disappointed after the loss, but was also encouraged by some of the things she saw from her team. Senior guard Jenny Ryan continued her offensive improvement, leading the Wolverines with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. MVP — Senior Guard Kate Thompson: The Wolverines came into the season with a big question mark: who was going to be the consistent scorer? Thompson has answered that call in a big way. Thompson, who notched her first-career double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds) in a 60‑41 win over Western Michigan, was the Wolverines' leading scorer through Dec. 16, putting up 15.8 points per game. She was shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 47.7 percent from three-point range. Thompson was tied for fifth in the country for three-point shots made per game (3.7). Notable Stat: After giving up 71 points in a loss to Duke, the Wolverines really clamped down defensively. In four wins over Florida, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, the Wolverines did not surrender more than 53 points or a shooting accuracy better than 33.3 percent. The Gators, Cardinals, Eagles and Broncos combined to shoot 70 of 229 (30.6 percent) from the field against Michigan. Upcoming Game To Watch — at Iowa, Jan. 6: Barnes Arico's first Big Ten road test will be a doozy. The Hawkeyes are off to a strong start, posting an 8-3 record through Dec. 16. Iowa has played a difficult schedule, upsetting then-No. 12 West Virginia 79-70 Nov. 25 and then-No. 22 Iowa State 50‑42 Dec. 6. But the Hawkeyes may come into the game with tired legs; they play No. 18 Texas and No. 20 Ohio State in the two games before Michigan comes to Iowa City. — Andy Reid January 2013    the wolverine  65

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