Notebook: Transfer fitting in, injury and preseason watchlists
With the addition of junior wing Leigha Brown to the Michigan women’s basketball team, the Wolverines hope to capitalize on her added depth this season. Brown transferred from Nebraska at the end of last season. She was the Huskers leading scorer, and will bring valuable upperclassmen experience to an underclassmen heavy team.
Leigha Brown fitting in right away
Brown was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA nearly three weeks ago. So far, Brown is handling the transition to Michigan seamlessly.
“Leigha Brown, who is a transfer, has been phenomenal,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “Just a player that can do a little bit of everything, could score the basketball but also has a knack for finding (junior forward Naz Hillmon).”
Adding Brown to the roster has given the Wolverines an added layer of depth at the wing position. With multiple players vying for playing time alongside the returning starters from last season, Brown figures to crack the rotation.
Emily Kiser facing injury
Earlier in practice this week Kiser, a junior forward, injured her ankle and has missed practice a couple of days according to Barnes Arico. Kiser proved to be a reliable bench player last season for Michigan. She often stepped up late in games when players were in foul trouble, or when the Wolverines were ravaged by injuries late in the season.
“Emily Kiser I could put in that mix (of improved players) but she's tweaked her ankle so she's been out of practice for a couple of days,” Barnes Arico said.
It’s an injury that could continue to bother Kiser throughout the season, and younger players need to be ready. If she’s unable to play in games, it will fall on younger players' shoulders to step up and fill her role as the first or second off the bench.
Hillmon headlines preseason watchlists
In the preseason, Hillmon has been placed on 187 different watchlists. They range from the Katrina McClain Award Watch List for top power forward in the country, the Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy Watch List for most outstanding women’s basketball player and the WBCA Wade Trophy Watch List for best college women’s basketball player and biggest role model on and off the court.
The recognition is a testament to Hillmon’s skill set on the court and value off it.
“(Naz) is so humble, she's so hard-working,” Barnes Arico said. “She's the kind of kid that wants to change the world. She cares about people and she's a great teammate, and as great of a basketball player she is, she's probably even a better person.”
Hillmon is Michigan’s best player and will be the focal point of the offense. During the offseason, she worked to improve her mid-range jump shot and make herself more versatile on both ends of the floor. She’ll continue to be an anchor in the post for the Wolverines guarding other teams’ post players and putting up shots from the paint.
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