Third Round Victory over St. John’s
Michigan dominated Kim Barnes Arico’s former team, St. John’s, in a 60-40 victory in the third round of the WNIT. With personal stakes high for both teams, the Wolverines cracked the Red Storm’s dominant defense and won the rebounding battle 41 to 34. KBA challenged Michigan to put up 70 points against her former team, and although the Wolverines came up short of her scoring goal, the offensive performances of Hallie Thome (19 points) and Katelynn Flaherty (17 points) helped pushed the Wolverines past St. John’s.
Dominant Quarterfinal Win over Virginia Tech
With freshman guard Kysre Gondrezick “taking a leave of absence from the women’s basketball team for personal reasons”, the Wolverines continued to roll with an 80-62 victory over Virginia Tech. Having struggled offensively late in the season, Michigan finally regained their rhythm, shooting 51.6% from the field as a team. The Wolverines fed Thome (27 points) in the post all game while Flaherty (29 points) shot a red hot 53% from the field. The duo propelled the Wolverines past the Hokies who had just come off a 64-55 victory over Penn State (Michigan was unable to finish off PSU in its last regular season game). To top off the afternoon, Siera Thompson recorded five assists to set a new program record in career assists with 540.
Wolverines Reach WNIT Semifinals for Third Straight Year
Michigan will host Villanova on Wednesday night at 7 pm, marking its third straight appearance in the WNIT semifinals. In the 2014-15 season, Michigan lost in the semifinals to UCLA 69-65 (this year UCLA lost to UConn in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament) and last year they were defeated by Florida Gulf Coast 71-62. Going into Wednesday night’s game, Michigan does have an advantage it didn’t the last two years: the Wolverines will be able to play in front of the Maize and Blue faithful at Crisler. Home court advantage has proven to be important late in the WNIT. The advantage is especially relevant given that the Wolverines have dominated on their home court, with an outstanding 18-1 home record.
In order to reach the elusive WNIT finals, Michigan will have to beat Villanova (20-14). The Wildcats defeated Indiana (a team that Michigan has struggled against) 69-57 at Assembly Hall. Having lost 72-61 in an important game at Indiana late in the season, the Wolverines are relieved to be playing at home against the Wildcats.
Villanova averages 61.2 points per game and holds its opponents to 60.9 points per game. If the Wolverines want to keep marching, they must continue to look for Thome in the post. Additionally, Flaherty needs to be the confident scorer we saw against Virginia Tech and not slip into her more passive game that we saw towards the end of the regular season. As the only Big Ten team left in postseason play, Michigan still has a lot to play for as they continue to fight for a WNIT banner.