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Notebook: Three records, Mitchell’s milestone and a daunting trend

Patrick Barron/Daily
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By Lev Facher, Daily Sports Writer
Published March 25, 2014

After plowing through first- and second-round opponents Stony Brook and Duquesne by margins of 22 and 16 points, respectively, the Michigan women’s basketball team travels south to face some stiffer opposition. The Wolverines’ road game against Bowling Green is a rematch of the teams’ season opener, which the Falcons won, 63-52.

The Wolverines broke two significant all-time records and came close to scratching a third in Monday’s victory. Most significant was the fact that the Wolverines have now won 20 or more games for a third consecutive season, a previously unprecedented feat.

Michigan also broke a record in the assist category — the Wolverines’ 512 combined assists on the season make for an program high.

On the individual side, Cyesha Goree’s double-double brought her into point-blank range for ownership of Michigan’s all-time single-season rebounding record of 311, set by Trish Andrews in 1993. Goree’s total currently sits at 309, making her all but a lock to set the record in the early going on Thursday evening.

Mitchell gets on the board: Progress has been slow but steady for sophomore forward Kelsey Mitchell, who spent the season’s first four months rehabbing a broken foot after missing her entire freshman year with a torn ACL.

Mitchell dressed for the first time in her career on Feb. 7 against Indiana, made her career debut against Indiana on Mar. 6 and finally scored her first points on a pair of free throws Monday night against Duquesne.

Mitchell had missed a layup just seconds before her trip to the free-throw line, deflating a Michigan bench that, fully aware of the moment’s significance, was poised to explode after what would have been her first career field goal. The celebration after Mitchell’s first free throw cleared the cylinder was boisterous, but still muted compared to what it would have been after the layup.

Though she grabbed the first two rebounds of her career in the blowout’s closing minutes, Mitchell is still in search of her first career field goal.

Something’s gotta give: Despite going just 8-8 in Big Ten play, the Wolverines have assembled a robust 9-2 record in away games this season, including a surprising 65-49 win at then-No. 22 Purdue on Jan. 15. Despite that trend, Michigan appears to be at a disadvantage — the Falcons are 15-0 at home, and haven’t lost a game at Stroh Center since, coincidentally, their third-round WNIT matchup against Drexel on Mar. 26, 2013.

The WNIT doesn’t explicitly announce seeds, but Michigan’s position at the top of one of four 16-team brackets makes it the de facto No. 1 seed. Host sites, however, are picked at the WNIT’s discretion, and the tournament gave the Falcons a key advantage by sending the game south of the Ohio state line.