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Wolverines prepare for home finale

Alex Galel/Daily
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By Alexa Dettelbach, Daily Sports Editor
Published February 20, 2014

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Michigan women’s basketball team.

Wednesday night’s 70-58 win over Indiana in Bloomington proved not all was lost for the Wolverines (8-6 Big Ten, 17-10 overall).

After jumping out to an unexpectedly impressive 13-5 start, Michigan dropped five of seven, struggling with defense and failing to connect on long-range jumpers that had guided it to the top of the Big Ten.

But the Wolverines have managed to bounce back by stringing two wins together for the first time since Jan. 18 with two more games to play before the Big Ten Tournament.

And first up, Michigan has its last home game of the season Saturday, facing Iowa (8-5, 20-7) in a matinée. It’s the team’s first matchup with the Hawkeyes this season.

Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they haven’t had the same success at home as they have on the road. Posting a measly 6-7 record compared to their more impressive 9-1-road record.

But Michigan has one last chance to right the ship at Crisler Center and send its seniors out in fashion for the team’s senior day.

To do so, the Wolverines will need to slow down a hot-handed Iowa team. The Hawkeyes have notched impressive wins over then-ranked No. 14 Dayton in November, then-No. 22 Syracuse in December and then-No. 9 Penn State at Happy Valley in February.

Iowa’s success has stemmed from its offense where it sits first in the conference scoring offense and second in field goal percentage, and five players averaging double digits to thank for it. Leading their streaking offense is guard Samantha Logic and center Bethany Doolittle, who average 14.3 points and 14.1 points, respectively. Logic also averages a conference-best 7.5 assists per game.

The Hawkeyes sit in third place in the conference and will fight to get into the top two in order to earn two byes in the conference tournament in two weeks.

If Michigan continues to commit defensive lapses, like it has recently during its five losses, it will struggle against Iowa. Most notably it’s the Wolverines’ second-half slips that led to their demise. But against the Hoosiers, it was Michigan’s 44-point second half, after being down by six at halftime that gave it the win.

The Wolverines will have to try and replicate that new-found second-half success against the red-hot Hawkeyes — who average 79.4 points per game. In doing so, junior forward Cyesha Goree will need to continue offensive ways as of late, after scoring 40 points in her last two games.

Freshman point guard Siera Thompson has been a sensation from beyond the arc for most of the season and the Wolverines will rely on her finding a groove on the court early and often.

Note: Junior forward Nicole Elmblad was named to the Capital One Academic All-America second team Thursday. As a biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience major the captain sports a 3.95 GPA. She is only the second Wolverine in program history to earn Academic All-American honors.