By Alexa Dettelbach, Daily Sports Writer
Published November 8, 2012
The Michigan women’s basketball team came out firing on all cylinders last week in its only exhibition game of the season, a 106-35 win over Slippery Rock.
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First-year head coach Kim Barnes Arico hopes to see a similar showing from her team when it kicks off the regular season against Detroit on Friday night. Despite a dominant Wolverine offense that shot 61 percent from the field against Slippery Rock, Michigan will need to do more than just that, beat the Titans.
The strength of Detroit’s team lies in its rebounding. In their final exhibition game, the Titans outrebounded their opponent, Marygrove, 59-23, with 27 of the rebounds coming on the offensive end. Michigan will have to take care of the boards, especially since it only had 14 offensive rebounds against Slippery Rock.
“The strength of their team is the weakness of our team,” Barnes Arico said. “(Detroit’s success at offensive rebounding) means they are rebounding the ball until they score a majority of the time. Offensive rebounding has been a point of emphasis and focus all week.
“Trying to get some of their rebounding machines out of the game and maybe (getting) them into a little bit of foul trouble would be helpful (for) us. ... It’s going to be interesting to see how we can counter that.”
The Wolverines also know they have to watch out for sophomore forward Shareta Brown, who scored 29 points on 13-of-18 shooting in the Titans’ second exhibition game. Last year, Brown was an offensive powerhouse, averaging 18 points per game on 56-percent shooting while adding nine rebounds per game.
Detroit is not the same team Michigan defeated 61-51 last year. The Titans brought in freshman guard Rosanna Reynolds, who finished Detroit’s second exhibition game with 17 points, a game-high eight assists and five rebounds. But the Wolverines are not the same team either. After scoring in the triple digits last week for the first time since 1998, Barnes Arico is ready to build off the offensive performance with a dynamic lineup of her own.
“I think we have a solid four who we’re definitely going with,” Barnes Arico said. “In our scrimmage, we went with (freshman) Madison Ristovski (at point guard) and in our exhibition we went with (sophomore) Brenae Harris, so I think that spot is open to whoever has a good week in practice and whoever steps up.”
Barnes Arico will look to her two returning starters — senior guard Jenny Ryan and senior center Rachel Sheffer — to guide the team in its first game. Senior guard Kate Thompson and sophomore guard Nicole Elmblad round out Michigan’s starters.
The Titans won’t allow the veterans of the Wolverines to run away with this game so easily. Detroit begins its regular season with high expectations. Projected to finish first in the Horizon League, the Titans are sure to come out fast.
“We have to attack them early,” Barnes Arico said. “We have to make sure we’re boxing out and rebounding, and we have to make sure we come out fast.”