After a stellar freshman season and as the only Wolverines player who averaged over 10 points per game last season, Naz Hillmon is on the top of the scouting report of every one of the Michigan women’s basketball team’s opponents.
Jack Kingsley, Brendan Roose and Kent Schwartz contributed to this story.
Michigan finished last season fourth in the Big Ten and with a good chunk of teams competing for real estate at the top of the conference standings, life won’t be getting any easier. Here’s everything you need to know about the Big Ten’s top teams this year.
The Michigan women’s basketball team is coming off its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and for the second consecutive season, the Wolverines have undergone a significant amount of roster turnover. With Hallie Thome and Nicole Munger graduating and Deja Church transferring, Michigan has three starting spots to fill and 30.6 points per game to replace.
The Michigan women’s basketball team began its season on Wednesday with an exhibition against Northwood. With three of its main rotation players from last season not returning, it was an opportunity for the Wolverines’ younger players to earn minutes before the regular season.
Michigan’s three freshmen — guard Maddie Nolan, guard Michelle Sidor and center Izabel Varejao — all took advantage of their first in-game opportunity to impress the coaching staff.
With a full season under her belt, Dilk evaluated her weaker aspects and improved them. One area in particular is taking care of the ball. Dilk turned the ball over 3.4 times per game last season, higher than both she and Barnes Arico would like. Additionally, Dilk looked to improve her shooting (39.4 percent last season) and scoring (7.2 points per game) abilities during the offseason. With three other players averaging over 10 points per game and two other established scorers averaging over seven, she was not asked to be one of the Wolverines’ main scoring threats last season. But after losing three of their top four scorers from last season, Dilk will be relied upon as a distributor and a scorer.
Naz Hillmon’s freshman season was nothing short of impressive. The now-sophomore forward averaged 13.1 points and seven rebounds per game and shot 62.8 percent from the floor, all of which led the Michigan women’s basketball team. At Wednesday’s media day, Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico went so far as to say that Hillmon was the Wolverines’ MVP last season, on a team with the second all-time leading scorer in program history. What made her season even more impressive was that she did it while coming off the bench.
On two penalty corners, Kayla Reed was positioned in the same spot, right in front of the right post. Both times, it resulted in the junior midfielder finding the back of the net for two of the No. 9 Michigan women’s field hockey team’s (5-2) four goals in a 4-0 win over Kent State (4-5) on Sunday.