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February 08, 2013 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-08

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8 - Friday, February 8, 2013 S

The Michigan Daily -- michigandailycom

Michigan edges
gritty Illinois

Daily Sports Writer
The maize, blue (and pink)
fought hard on Thursday night for
both a cause and the season.
In its second "pink-out" game
in four days, the Michigan wom-
en's basketball team learned from
its first one, a 61-46 loss to Michi-
gan State ILINOIS 69
on Monday, MICHIGAN 72
and edged
out Illinois,
72-69, in front of a crowd dressed
to support breast cancer aware-
On Thursday night, the Wol-
verines knocked off the Fighting
Illini (6-4 Big Ten, 13-9 overall)
in a tight battle that ended Michi-
gan's three-game losing streak.
In an offensive game where nei-
ther team had a lead greater than
seven, the defense took a backseat
to hotshooting on both sides.
Sheffer was the only Wolverine
to score in the first 8:07 of play, but
her nine points during that span
kept Michigan (6-4, 17-6) within
striking distance.
Once the rest of the Wolver-
ines got going, almost everyone
found their shot, and six of the
eight players that saw playing
time in the first half scored. Led
by Sheffer - who scored 15 of her
21 points in the first half - Michi-
gan was able to pull away and end
its losing streak. The center also
added seven rebounds and four
Meanwhile, the Fighting Illini
found offense in all forms in the
early goings of the game. Dur-
ing that same 8:07 span, four of
the five Illinois starters scored.
The Fighting Illini are second in
scoring in Big Ten play, but were
unable to close the game out at the
After going into halftime with
just a four-point lead, the Wolver-
ines hadtwo early turnovers in
the second half that allowed the
Fighting Illini to tie the game at
Illinois found itself in deep foul
trouble soon after, and was forced
to sit senior forward Karisma
Penn, who led the team with 12
points in the first half.
"(Fouls) were the difference in
the game," said Michigan coach
Kim Barnes Arico. "Karisma Penn
was hurtingus in the first half and
we weren't able to stop her on the
block, so her picking up her third
foul in the first half and then get-
ting into (more) foul trouble in the
second half was a reallybigkeyfor
"Without her, (senior forward)
Nya (Jordan) was really able to
push to the basket. That really
helped us."
Michigan took advantage by
stretching its lead to six, and after
a scoring drought for both teams
that lasted almost four minutes,
senior guard Jenny Ryan broke
the silence by splitting the Illinois
defense for a layup.
From there, it appeared the
Wolverines were going to run
away with the game, but the
Fighting Illini fought back with
3:49 remaining and grabbed their
first lead since 6:21 left in the first
half. After a quick timeout, senior
forward Kate Thompson picked a
great time to shoot out of her five-
game slump, hitting back-to-back

3-pointers that gave Michigan the
lead for good. Thompson's five
3-pointers brought her season
total to 85, which is tied for the
school record.
Despite Illinois getting within
one with 1:20 remaining, the Wol-
verines were able to convert at the
line, finishing 17-for-21. A quick
basket from Jordan with 24.4 sec-
onds left sealed the win.
"Closing the game out, Jenny's
free throws were huge for us," said
Thompson. "They were really key
for us to win the game."
The Wolverines shot 51.1 per-
cent from the field, including
shooting 46.4 percent in the first
half, but allowed Illinois to stay in
the game in the first half with its
51.7-percent shooting. However,
Michigan did a better job in the
second half and limited the Fight-
ing Illini to 39.7-percent shooting
on the night.
In addition to Sheffer's huge
offensive night, the Wolverines
found help from Jordan, who
ended the night with 13 points,

and nine rebounds. Thompsonhad "I know we had a ton of turn-
15 points, but went 5-for-15 from overs, but I thought we did a
the line. Ryan, who had injured really good job handling the pies-
her leg against Michigan State, sure. We had 17 assists, we moved
had 13 points and seven assists but the basketball really well, and
turned the ball over eight times. we made free throws down the
The game might not have been stretch and people made key plays
so close had the Wolverines not whenthey had to."
turned the ball over so much. This was the Wolverines' big-
Michigan continued to struggle gest win of the season and without
with turnovers, committing 12 in it, they would've fallen to the bot-
the first half and 23 overall, well tom six of the Big Ten standings.
above its average of 14.3 per game. Instead, they find themselves
"They're really a good team," within striking distance of the
Barnes Arico said. "They pressure conference title, tied for fourth.
a lot (and) we knew we were going "This was a huge bounce back
to have our hands full with that, win for us," Thompson said. "We
but I thought we did a pretty good needed this. It gave. us a lot of
job. confidence."

Senior forward Rachel Sheffer (44) scored Michigan's first nine points of the game and finished with a team-high 21.
Cancer survivors inspire Blue

Daily Sports Writer
After losing in East Lansing in
front of a raucous crowd of 8,812
on Monday in Michigan State's,
pink night, the Michigan wom-
en's basketball team held its own
"Pink Game" on Thursday. With
breast-cancer survivors on hand,
the Wolverines looked to recover
from their season-high three-
game losing streak and begin a
fresh start for the rest of the sea-
son against Illinois (6-4 Big Ten,
13-9 overall)..
And with the inspiring mes-
sages and stories from a group
of women in attendance, that's
exactly what Michigan (6-4,17-6)
did, beating the Fighting Illini,
The Wolverines wore maize
jerseys with pink trimming to
go along with pink shoes, and a
different breast-cancer survivor
introduced each starter before
she took the floor.
But that wasn't the first inter-
action the players had with this
strong group of cancer survivors.
"A couple weeks ago, we had
those women that announced the
(lineup) tonight come and have
dinner with us," said Michigan
coach Kim Barnes Arico. "They
spoke to our team about their
stories: how long they've been
a survivor, how they battled
through their cancer (and) how

they found out about their cancer. After a series of misses, it
I think it really hithome with our wasn't clear if, the Wolverines
team." would attempt to go to Thomp-
Before each game that Michi- son to help them win, butshe was
gan plays, it likes to instill three able to deliever.
goals into the players' minds to "(Freshman guard) Madison
prepare them for the challenge (Ristovski) found me at the end of
ahead. Tonight, the group of the game," Thompson said. "She
women on hand was the last of gave me some really great passes.
the three goals, but clearly the My teammates having confidence
most inspiring. in me and knowing I can shoot,
For a team having lost four out that really helps."
of its last five games, it was exact- While Thompson's late
ly what the Wolverines needed. 3-pointers' allowed Michigan
Senior forward Rachel Shef- to find the lead, it was a Jordan
fer, who was held to 12 points on layup late in the game that sealed
5-of-15 shooting against the Spar- it for the Wolverines. Holding
tans, led the Wolverines with 15 onto athree-pointleadinthe final
points in the first half and 21 in minutes, Jordan was able to col-
the game to go along with seven lect her second offensive rebound
rebounds. Michiganplays a"Pink and ninth overall rebound of the
Game" each season, but Thursday game before banking in a shot to
was one of the best memories and make it a five-point lead with 29
experiences she's had in one. seconds left.
"I think being able to connect Perhaps it was just the ebb
more than we have in the past is and flow of the game that helped
really awesome," Sheffer said. carry the Wolverines to victory
While Sheffer propelled Mich- tonight, but with a special group
igan by scoring the team's first of women in attendance, maybe it
nine points, it was the play of was more than that.
senior forwards Nya Jordan and "To hear those stories, they
Kate Thompson that helped the realized, 'Hey, it could hap-
Wolverines clinch the game. pen to anyone of us at any given
After comingoffa poor stretch time' and I think it was just a
of games, Thompson seemed to bit of a wake-up call, and also a
find her shot again in the most great connection for our kids to
critical part of the game, hitting bond with that group of women,"
two 3-pointers in the final four Barnes Arico said. "I think our
minutes to give Michigan the kids did a really great job of play-
lead it had briefly lost. ing inspired for them tonight"

Senior guard Jenny Ryan scared 13 points, hut attn had eight turnoners.

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