Michigan set to rebound against Seton Hall

Patrick Barron/Daily
Buy this photo

By Alexa Dettelbach, Daily Sports Writer
Published November 18, 2012

There is no time to rest for the Michigan women’s basketball team. But maybe that’s a good thing.

The Wolverines (2-1) are coming off an ugly 59-40 loss to Utah (3-0). In a game in which very little went right, Michigan has little time to think about its first loss of the season.

“I think our schedule really doesn’t allow us to linger on the loss,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “We have to turn around right away and play. Our concern right now is to learn from the game and to try to improve upon what we have to improve on.”

The Wolverines have no choice but to improve after their lackluster showing in Salt Lake City. They face Seton Hall (2-1) on Monday to open up a potentially lethal five-game home stand that includes games against No. 3 Duke and Florida.

Facing the Pirates feels new for Michigan, however, it is anything but that for Barnes Arico. Coming from St. John’s, she has frequently coached against Seton Hall.

“Seton Hall and I have a lot of history,” Barnes Arico said. “At least it’s nice to go into a game against an opponent that I (have) a little background information on.”

The Wolverines need any edge they can get as senior guard Jenny Ryan still recovers from a shoulder injury she sustained in practice last week.

“(Ryan) hasn’t really practiced in the last couple of days and obviously she’s central to this team and it hurts us not to have her out there,” Barnes Arico said.

Through Michigan’s first three games, Ryan has averaged 11.3 points per game, but her offensive leadership extends past her scoring presence. The Wolverine’s young and unsettled at point guard, Ryan has proved critical in the development of freshman Madison Ristovski and sophomore Brenae Harris.

“Madison and Brenae are still a work in progress and not having (Ryan for the entire Utah game) hurt us a little bit,” Barnes Arico said.

Without Ryan, senior center Rachel Sheffer and forward Kate Thompson have to help carry the offensive load. Sheffer leads the team with 16.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Both seniors will have to step up to combat Seton Hall’s strong scoring presence. Led by senior guard Brittany Morris, who averages 16.7 points per game, Michigan will have its hands full.

Morris has scored in double digits in every game this season. In addition, Seton Hall has a strong defensive presence in senior forward Alexandra Maseko, who averages 5.7 rebounds per game.

The Pirates are also coming off their first loss of the season — an ugly 54-38 defeat at Temple. To find success against Seton Hall, the Wolverines have to continue working on offensive rebounding. In three games Michigan only has 21 offensive rebounds, its lowest total since 2008.

“Rebounding remains a critical focus,” Barnes Arico said. “We have to improve on it and we have to focus. For the kids the focus has to be on winning and all about Seton Hall.”