However, with the impending graduation of the Wolverines’ two co-captains, seniors Hallie Thome and Nicole Munger — two other program legends who played alongside Flaherty the prior three seasons —the same questions are, once again, arising.
On Sunday afternoon, the Michigan women’s basketball team saw its season end when it bowed out of the NCAA Tournament following a 70-51 loss to top-seeded Louisville. While it may be hard to see it now, this year’s tournament run may have laid the bricks that will eventually serve as the program’s foundation.
And yet, despite its prep, Michigan was blitzed out of the gate. National Player of the Year candidate Asia Durr scored 12 quick points, and the Wolverines found themselves in a 19-4 hole before the game’s first media timeout. With each basket, the Cardinals’ lead — and cheers — only grew.
On Sunday afternoon, the Michigan women’s basketball team will take the floor as heavy underdogs against the Albany region’s top seed in Louisville, which has the luxury of hosting the game on its home floor.
While many might be quick to count the Wolverines out against one of the nation’s top teams, it’s a role that the team has learned to embrace over the course of the season.
Those plays may not have resulted in anything other a few extra bruises for Munger but they did set the tone early for the Michigan women’s basketball team in its dominant performance against the Wildcats.
In the Michigan women’s basketball team’s (22-11) 84-54 win over Kansas State, that statement couldn’t have been more true, as it used two lengthy scoring spurts and stingy defense to defeat the Wildcats (21-12) and set up a date with top-seeded Lousiville on Sunday.
If the Wolverines intend to progress into the round of 32, they must capitalize on their size advantage against Kansas State.
“We know that’s one of our keys tomorrow,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “Obviously rebounding but also establishing our posts. Hallie Thome is tremendous inside. Hailey Brown, Kayla Robbins, Naz Hillmon — those are difference makers for us and that’s a place where we have to go early in the ball game.”