BY ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
Published November 16, 2009
Traditionally, the Michigan pep band blasts "The Victors" in Crisler Arena as cheerleaders stream out of the tunnel holding block 'M' flags, just ahead of the Michigan women's basketball team.
But yesterday, the fight song played as Michigan cheerleaders mistakenly led the blue-and-gold Marquette Golden Eagles out onto the floor.
The botched entrance proved an ominous sign for the Wolverines, as the offense slumped through a sluggish, 20-point first half. But Michigan (2-0) bounced back from a six-point halftime deficit to win 67-50.
In the first half, the Wolverines had 16 turnovers and shot 8-of-25 from the field against an aggressive Marquette (1-1) defense. That physicality prevented Michigan from moving the ball and getting open looks.
“It’s Marquette,” junior guard Veronica Hicks said. “They’re a big-name school just like us. They’re in the Big East. ... And this game was nothing like the first game we played against Ball State. We had a lot more energy coming out that game, more excitement, we were amped.”
Hicks, the only regular returning starter on a squad with six freshmen, gave the Wolverines momentum with a buzzer beater going into halftime.
Returning to the floor, the band, cheerleaders and team were on cue.
And as their entrance routine righted itself, so did Michigan’s shooting touch.
On Thursday against Ball State, Michigan shot just under 54 percent from downtown and scored more points (87) than they did in any game last season. Against Marquette, Michigan's stroke returned in the second half, as the team caught fire from the three-point line and hit just under 58 percent.
Sophomore forward Carmen Reynolds' third triple gave the Wolverines their first lead of the game with just under 11 minutes to go. Marquette regained the lead on the next possession before freshman guard Dayeesha Hollins responded with a three of her own to pull ahead again.
Michigan didn’t surrender the lead the rest of the game.
The Wolverines have now defeated two teams that played into the postseason last year. The wins are important for a program that won just 10 games last season and was picked to finish last in the Big Ten by both the media and coaches.
When asked if the team's early success is surprising, redshirt senior forward Ashley Jones didn't hesitate.
"No, not at all," she said. “I think that our team is really good and we’re going to make a lot of noise this year.”