Gondrezick, Thome shine against American
The most recognizable face on the Michigan women’s basketball team is junior guard Katelynn Flaherty, its leading scorer with an average of 18.9 points per game.
Flaherty bounced back from an off night in the Wolverines’ previous game against Vermont by scoring 17 points in their 82-33 win over American (3-8) on Thursday.
But against the Eagles, Michigan (11-3) also proved that it is anything but a one-woman band. Two underclassmen, freshman guard Kysre Gondrezick and sophomore center Hallie Thome, stole the show Thursday.
Gondrezick led the Wolverines in points and assists with 19 and six, respectively. Her highlight, though, was a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter that put Michigan ahead 20-7.
On the heels of former sophomore guard Boogie Brozoski’s recent transfer out of the program, Gondrezick will be leaned on even more as the season progresses despite her youth.
“I know it’s a role I’m going to have to adapt to,” Gondrezick said about playing the point guard position. “I know with our lineup and the rotation we have in games down the stretch if (senior guard Siera Thompson) gets tired or in foul trouble, I’ll have to learn to adjust to the point guard position.
“Doing well today is a confidence booster moving forward into the Big Ten.”
Thome, for her part, seemed confident that Gondrezick would be able to take on the role despite her inexperience. Perhaps Thome was speaking from her own experience, as she made the Big Ten All-Freshman team last year.
“She plays at a different level,” Thome said. “She wants to make people better as a facilitator, so that’s definitely exciting to see. She’s a player that’s hard to guard because she can shoot the three and attack. She loves giving up the ball and making everyone better around her, so that’s definitely a player you want on your team.”
Yet she made sure to give Gondrezick a run for her money Thursday.
Following her double-double against Vermont last Saturday, Thome finished with 17 points and six rebounds against American. Thome’s inside presence contributed greatly to the Wolverines outscoring the Eagles, 48-14, in the paint and outrebounding them, 41-23.
“We were saying they were going to pack the paint, so we decided to see how they’d play it against us,” Thome said. “In the beginning we were able to get the easy buckets in the paint, which worked to benefit our shooters later on around the perimeter. We decided to play in and out.”
While upperclassmen leadership from the likes of Flaherty and Thompson will be important for Michigan moving forward, the emergence of young stars such as Gondrezick and Thome provides the Wolverines with extra weapons for this season and lays the groundwork for success for seasons to come.