Women's Basketball

Senior guard Akienreh Johnson scored a career-high 24 points with 11 rebounds Sunday against Rutgers.

When senior forward Kayla Robbins went down with a season-ending ACL injury last week, it was clear who the Michigan women’s basketball team needed to step up — Akienreh Johnson.

Sophomore forward Naz Hillmon notched a double-double in the Wolverines' 71-57 win over Rutgers on Sunday.

The Michigan women’s basketball team (13-6 overall, 4-4 Big Ten) had lost three of its last four contests, and Sunday was its first full game without senior forward Kayla Robbins, who tore her ACL a week prior. Even more, it was going up against a Rutgers team (15-4, 5-3) that sat just outside the top 25.
Yet the Wolverines seemed unfazed — even without Robbins. They hit tough shots. They forced turnovers. And they dealt the Scarlet Knights their fourth loss, burying them, 71-57.

Presented by The Michigan Daily’s sports section, a rotating cast of writers discusses Michigan sports.

Following the Michigan women’s basketball team’s three losses in its last four games, senior sports editor Ben Katz sits down with beat writers Jack Kingsley, Kent Schwartz and Brendan Roose to discuss what’s going wrong with the Wolverines.

Senior guard Akienreh Johnson said Michigan needs to tweak its defensive gameplan.

The Wolverines’ inability to defend the three has been central to their struggles recently. They’ve lost three of their last four games, and with three of the Big Ten’s top teams — Rutgers, Northwestern and Iowa — up next on the schedule, they desperately need to resolve this problem to bounce back.
If it was only one game, you could say that Michigan was just unlucky, but poor 3-point defense has become a theme over its last several losses. And with senior forward Kayla Robbins — one of the Wolverines’ best defenders — out for the season with a torn ACL, life will only get harder if Michigan can’t adjust.

Sophomore guard Danielle Rauch played 32 minutes off the bench Sunday against Nebraska, after having played no more than nine minutes in a Big Ten game previously.

Barnes Arico’s choice to fill Robbins’ role was sophomore guard Danielle Rauch. Rauch — typically the backup point guard to sophomore Amy Dilk — hadn’t played more than nine minutes in a Big Ten game. Sunday, she was called upon for 32. And she made the most of them.

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And then, on that same possession, she found herself open behind the defense, a clear look at the basket. The ball flew over the defender and Robbins caught it. She landed awkwardly though, her right knee buckling and a shout ringing out.
Just like that, the Michigan women’s basketball team lost its best defender, its second-leading scorer and one of its most capable rebounders. Her ACL torn, the senior’s breakout season was finished. Her career, over.

Kayla Robbins is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

The Michigan women’s basketball team has lost a key player in senior forward Kayla Robbins, who announced via Twitter on Tuesday that she tore her ACL in Sunday’s game at Nebraska.

Hailey Brown made two clutch threes before fouling out against Nebraska on Sunday.

Nolan gathered it under the basket, though, sprinting to the corner and sent one last prayer up as the buzzer sounded.

It wasn’t answered, and the Wolverines (12-6 overall, 3-4 Big Ten) fell to Nebraska (14-4, 4-3) on Sunday, 74-71.

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After Sunday’s blowout loss to Maryland, the Michigan women’s basketball team needed to bounce back strong. Thursday night against Wisconsin, the Wolverines did just that.

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By many standards, the Michigan women’s basketball team has had a rough few weeks.