Women's Basketball

Sophomore forward Naz Hillmon and the Michigan women’s basketball team fought back throughout, but ultimately lost, 81-73, to No. 23 Northwestern on Thursday night.

The Michigan women’s basketball team found itself in the hole for most of the game Thursday night, behind Northwestern by five or six points. At times, it poked its head up and reminded the Wildcats it was there, but they always had an answer — a big three or a quick layup — and in the end, it didn’t matter. Northwestern (18-3 overall, 8-2 Big Ten) kept itself ahead of the Wolverines (13-7, 4-5), winning, 81-73.

Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico faces a tough task in Northwestern.

Throughout the season, the Michigan women’s basketball team has been plagued by one issue: turnovers. Last Sunday, against Rutgers, it survived the first half unscathed, taking care of the ball and instead forcing the Scarlet Knights into turnovers.

Senior guard Akienreh Johnson has had to step up on and off the court, especially since senior forward Kayla Robbins is out with a torn ACL.

On Sunday, the Michigan women’s basketball team desperately needed a win against Rutgers to get its season back on track. Putting up a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds, senior guard Akienreh Johnson stepped up with her first career double-double to help the Wolverines win, 71-57.


Senior forward Kayla Robbins’ injury has left an opening for Izabel Varejão to step up. In Sunday’s game against Rutgers, she emerged as an offensive and defensive threat in a three-big lineup.

Senior guard Akienreh Johnson scored a career-high 24 points with 11 rebounds Sunday against Rutgers.

When senior forward Kayla Robbins went down with a season-ending ACL injury last week, it was clear who the Michigan women’s basketball team needed to step up — Akienreh Johnson.

Sophomore forward Naz Hillmon notched a double-double in the Wolverines' 71-57 win over Rutgers on Sunday.

The Michigan women’s basketball team (13-6 overall, 4-4 Big Ten) had lost three of its last four contests, and Sunday was its first full game without senior forward Kayla Robbins, who tore her ACL a week prior. Even more, it was going up against a Rutgers team (15-4, 5-3) that sat just outside the top 25.
Yet the Wolverines seemed unfazed — even without Robbins. They hit tough shots. They forced turnovers. And they dealt the Scarlet Knights their fourth loss, burying them, 71-57.

Senior guard Akienreh Johnson said Michigan needs to tweak its defensive gameplan.

The Wolverines’ inability to defend the three has been central to their struggles recently. They’ve lost three of their last four games, and with three of the Big Ten’s top teams — Rutgers, Northwestern and Iowa — up next on the schedule, they desperately need to resolve this problem to bounce back.
If it was only one game, you could say that Michigan was just unlucky, but poor 3-point defense has become a theme over its last several losses. And with senior forward Kayla Robbins — one of the Wolverines’ best defenders — out for the season with a torn ACL, life will only get harder if Michigan can’t adjust.


And then, on that same possession, she found herself open behind the defense, a clear look at the basket. The ball flew over the defender and Robbins caught it. She landed awkwardly though, her right knee buckling and a shout ringing out.
Just like that, the Michigan women’s basketball team lost its best defender, its second-leading scorer and one of its most capable rebounders. Her ACL torn, the senior’s breakout season was finished. Her career, over.

Kayla Robbins is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

The Michigan women’s basketball team has lost a key player in senior forward Kayla Robbins, who announced via Twitter on Tuesday that she tore her ACL in Sunday’s game at Nebraska.

Hailey Brown made two clutch threes before fouling out against Nebraska on Sunday.

Nolan gathered it under the basket, though, sprinting to the corner and sent one last prayer up as the buzzer sounded.

It wasn’t answered, and the Wolverines (12-6 overall, 3-4 Big Ten) fell to Nebraska (14-4, 4-3) on Sunday, 74-71.