Coming off a loss to the high-scoring No. 6 Maryland Terrapins, the Michigan women’s basketball team took on its second real challenge of the season.
This time, it came in the form of the 3-pointer.
Iowa State took 36 shots from behind the arc — converting 10 of them into 30 of their 49 points — and the Wolverines had a hard time defending it, but went on to win 56-49.
The Cyclones came out of halftime firing, beginning the second half on an 8-0 run. Six of their seven shots to open up the half were 3 pointers, and Iowa State didn’t stop there. It went on to make four more from behind the arc in the second half, each time an uncontested shot.
“That’s what they do,” said junior guard Jenny Ryan. “They put up 30 threes a game, and that’s an unbelievable number. They have great screeners who get their girls open, and they’ll execute.”
The Wolverines also took their fair share of threes, shooting 8-for-18 from beyond the arc. Ryan and junior guard Kate Thompson each hit two 3-pointers, and senior forward Carmen Reynolds and junior forward Sam Arnold hit key 3-pointers late in the second half to give Michigan the lead.
Although the Wolverines are known as a 3-point shooting team, they instead focused this season on establishing a presence in the paint. When that didn’t work against the Cyclones, they were forced to shoot from the outside.
“We tried to get in there,” said Michigan coach Kevin Borseth. “They’re so tough around that basket, that’s what their defense is centered around. And our kids hit shots when they had to.”
The Wolverines made key shots down the stretch to seal the win, but shots were hard to come by. Often times, Michigan had to launch bad shots to beat the shot clock. Borseth credits Iowa State’s defense for slowing down Michigan’s post players.
“We couldn’t find anything,” Borseth said. “They’re really hard to get shots off on. They do not let you get inside. They rally really well around the basket. It’s something we have to learn from. We have to go back and reevaluate that stuff.”
Turnovers also plagued the Wolverines, as they committed 13 turnovers. Many of them resulted from Michigan trying to penetrate Iowa State’s staunch defense inside.
“Both of our teams are pretty defensive-minded,” senior guard Courtney Boylan said. “If you noticed, they never came out and really pressured us. They kind of stood back at the three point line. That made it a little harder when we penetrated, and I know I turned it over a good number of times. I’ve got to be more careful with that, and the rest of our team as well.”
The Wolverines are looking to fix their mistakes when they take on two other tough teams on the road later this week, playing Detroit on Thursday and Eastern Michigan on Sunday.