It wasn’t a typical win for the Michigan women’s basketball team on Wednesday night. The Wolverines’ two leading scorers on the season were both held to single digits, though an unlikely hero in senior forward Sam Arnold came off the bench to lead Michigan’s offense to victory.
After a sluggish start to the game, the Wolverines used a 15-2 run between the first and second halves to edge out Indiana, 65-48. Michigan (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) rode its unbeaten December record into the new year to capture coach Kim Barnes Arico’s first win in the Big Ten.
Arnold, who aptly filled in for the Wolverines’ struggling stars, recorded a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, crushing her average of 4.3 points per game. Arnold also contributed two blocks in just her third double-digit scoring game this season.
Senior forward Nya Jordan, who completed her first double-double of the season, added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan, who is primarily known for her rebounding and defensive skills, pleasantly surprised the Michigan offense with her second consecutive double-digit scoring performance.
The Wolverines nearly made history against the Hoosiers as senior guard Jenny Ryan looked to record the first triple-double in school history. Ryan finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and a season-high nine assists.
Though it wasn’t prepared for the offensive performances of Arnold and Jordan, Indiana effectively contained Michigan’s leading senior scorers, forward Rachel Sheffer and guard Kate Thompson. With the Wolverine’s senior class contributing 79 percent of the team’s offense, Sheffer and Thompson have averaged 12.5 and 16.4 points per game, respectively. Against the Hoosiers, Sheffer scored nine points while Thompson contributed a mere eight points.
Michigan was tenacious on defense, holding their sixth straight opponent under 50 points. Senior forward Aulani Sinclair, who averaged 20.2 points coming into the game, was held to six points on 2-of-7 shooting. Indiana’s other star, senior guard Jasmine McGhee, led the Hoosiers in scoring with 10 points.
The Wolverines weren’t mistake free, but they did overcome what have become their two biggest weaknesses — rebounds and turnovers. Michigan out-rebounded Indiana, 36-27, and they capitalized 23 points off 17 Hoosier turnovers.
While the Wolverines can’t be content with their two star players struggling in their first Big Ten game of the season, they can be assured that they have the necessary support in Arnold and Jordan if needed to fill in on an off night.