The Wolverine

January 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 65 of 83

  women's basketball In a 55-43 win at Eastern Michigan, Eagles head coach Tory Verdi was very vocal when the Wolverines had the ball. If Thompson snuck free behind the arc, Verdi would start pointing and yelling, "She's the shooter! She's the shooter!" While the Eagles crashed down on Thompson, it opened other shots for the other Wolverines. Seven other players have hit at least one three-point shot this season, and four other shooters were hitting at least 42 percent of their three-point attempts. Through Dec. 16, senior guard Jenny Ryan had hit 14 of 32 attempts, senior center Rachel Sheffer had hit 8 of 19 attempts, sophomore guard Brenae Harris had hit 4 of 7 attempts and senior forward Sam Arnold had hit 1 of 2 attempts. Although sophomore guard Nicole Elmblad was struggling from downtown — hitting 1 of 21 three-point attempts — the Wolverines still had solid numbers. While Elmblad fought through her slump, the rest of the Wolverines had hit 44.4 percent of their three-pointers (71 of 160 attempts). Sam Arnold Helps Add Depth Inside Last season, senior forward Sam Arnold was a bit player for the Wol- Arnold came off the bench in the first 11 games and averaged 11.2 minutes and 4.0 points per contest. photo by per kjeldsen verines, notching 5.0 points in just 13.1 minutes per game. With a string of injuries sidelining several players — including potential backup center Val Driscoll — this season, Arnold knew she had to step up. The Wolverines do not have great depth inside, and size will be an is- sue all season. Just two players who have logged significant minutes this year are taller than 6-2 (the 6-4 Arnold and 6-4 senior guard Kate Thompson). Starting center Rachel Sheffer stands just 6-1. But Arnold's solid minutes so far have helped alleviate both problems. "I think she is our best player when teams zone us," Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico said. "Both in the Eastern Michigan and Illinois State games, they played zone. She does a really nice job of being able to face up in the zone and being able to seal in the zone. "There were a lot of times when we flashed and went high-low with her and she finished some easy baskets. She also made some great passes from the high post. I think she really does a great job when teams play us in a zone. She almost has to be out there on the court when teams play us like that." Sheffer has been solid through 11 games, averaging 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds on 30.6 minutes per game. But Arnold's emergence inside takes some of the pressure off Sheffer — which will be a hug help when the Wolverines see taller, more physical teams in the Big Ten. Arnold was averaging 4.0 points on 11.2 minutes per game through the first 11 games. ❑ Great Game Performances Michigan 55, Penn State 41, Jan. 7, 2007 The Michigan women's basketball team has turned the tide in recent years, going to its first NCAA Tournament in a decade last season and starting 2012-13 with a 9-2 record, but in the mid-to-late 2000s the program had hit a rough patch. Heading into the 2006-07 season, the Wolverines had lost a staggering 25 consecutive regular-season games against Big Ten competition, including an 0-16 mark against conference foes during the previous campaign. After three straight losses to start the conference slate — 79-35 at Purdue, 71-58 at Indiana and 70-51 versus Illinois — the Wolverines had extended their regular-season losing streak to Big Ten competition to 28 games. It stands as the third-longest such streak for any team in Big Ten history. The following game, the Wolverines hosted Penn State, a team they had lost to in eight consecutive games. But that's where the streak finally came to an end. Michigan used a physical, aggressive defensive game plan to thwart the Nittany Lions' attack, winning 55-41. "I haven't won a Big Ten game in over a year and a half," senior Kelly Helvey said after the game. "I just felt good to be out there." 66  the wolverine    January 2013 Although the Wolverines struggled offensively in the first half — shooting just 9 of 31 from the field — the defensive pressure took Penn State out of its game, too. Penn State was held to 9-of-27 shooting, including 0 of 4 from threepoint range. Michigan did enough to take a 26-22 lead into halftime. "A lot of times, Penn State doesn't like pressure," Helvey said. "They don't like physical contact. We're a physical team, and if we just keep in people's britches we'll win games." In the second half, the Wolverines received a muchneeded offensive boost from junior forward Ta'Shia Walker, who came off the bench to score 15 points, 13 of which came in the second stanza. While the Nittany Lions continually struggled to get their inside game going, Walker's offensive spark helped Michigan stave off a comeback attempt. "We just had some blue collar, good work going on out there," Michigan head coach Cheryl Burnett said. "We defended well early, and that hasn't always been the case. When you defend well you gain a lot of confidence."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - January 2013