Wolverines fall short to Purdue in overtime loss
With 0.03 seconds left on the clock, the score was tied at 72-72 in the annual “Pink Game” to honor breast cancer survivors.
The Michigan women’s basketball team had one last chance to take the victory against Purdue and expand on its six-game winning streak. The clock ticked down, as the Wolverines attempted an unsuccessful lob play to sophomore forward Kayla Robbins. But the referee stood with a fist in the air. A foul was called at the buzzer.
Crisler Center held its breath as the referees huddled together on the sideline to determine the outcome of the game.
The foul stood and Robbins walked up to the free-throw line. Crisler was silent again. The first shot bounced off the rim. Robbins had one more chance to secure the win.
She dribbled twice, bent her knees, and shot.
It didn’t go in. The game was going into overtime.
“A game doesn’t end up in the last play,” said junior forward Hallie Thome. “A lot leads to that so to put ourselves in that position, we definitely messed up.”
It was clear from the start this was going to be a tough game for the Wolverines when senior forward Jillian Dunston was thrown to the ground battling for the opening tip.
Soon after, junior guard Nicole Munger was sent flying into the photographers at the baseline at the eight minute mark.
Purdue opened the game at a fast pace and it took Michigan some time to adjust. The Boilermakers scored early and often and at seven minutes, the Wolverines called a timeout, as Purdue was up, 11-4.
Though the Boilermakers controlled the first quarter, the second was dominated by the Wolverines.
Led by aggressive play from Thome, Michigan battled it’s way to the lead and forced Purdue to call a timeout at 7:17, with the score at 31-26.
The Wolverines kept applying pressure though, finishing the first half with a 42-36 lead.
They did not let up in the third quarter either. Freshman forward Hailey Brown led Michigan in points at the end of the quarter with 18 and helped Michigan keep its lead, 66-54.
Though Purdue was down, it did not let up the aggression. It continued to fight and put on pressure until the very end.
And with 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the Boilermakers tied up the game and pushed it into overtime.
“They continued to score and we weren’t scoring so closing the gap was the only thing that was happening and we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Dunston said, “It’s harder to stop the other team’s momentum than it is to break a scoring drought.”
In overtime, every basket that Michigan scored was immediately answered by the Boilermakers resulting in a very tight game. Purdue eventually pulled ahead and the Wolverines were down by one with a chance to take the win, but fell just short.
Despite the loss, Michigan aims to learn from the game and prepare for the difficult schedule ahead of them.
“Every time you lose, it gives you an opportunity to improve and an opportunity to look at yourself, individually and collectively,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico.