The No. 23 Michigan women’s basketball team will look to bounce back on Thursday when it takes on Indiana (1-4 Big Ten, 10-8 overall). Coming off a 10-point loss to Penn State on Monday, which snapped a program-best 10-game winning streak and four-game winning streak in Big Ten play, the Wolverines will seek to start anew against the Hoosiers.
Despite an all-time losing record against Indiana, the Wolverines (4-1, 15-3) have won the last five matchups, including a 65-48 victory just three weeks ago. Michigan was led by senior guard Jenny Ryan, who nearly recorded a triple-double with 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Besides Ryan’s fantastic play, the Wolverines received key production from several other players. Senior forward Sam Arnold had a career-high 17 points to lead the team, while senior forward Nya Jordan contributed a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds to help Michigan outrebound Indiana, 36-27. In addition, senior forwards Rachel Sheffer and Kate Thompson added nine and eight points, respectively, for the Wolverines.
For Michigan to have success in Bloomington this time, such scoring depth might be necessary. The Wolverines shot a season-low 28 percent from the field against Penn State, with just one double-digit scorer in Sheffer, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
While Sheffer played well in the post, Michigan’s scoring leader, Thompson, was held to just nine points. She struggled to 3-of-16 shooting with 14 attempts from beyond the arc.
Though seven made 3-pointers – a feat Thompson accomplished two games back – might not be needed for the team to beat Indiana, a game more reminiscent of her averages for the season will likely be needed for Michigan to be successful.
“The big picture is we’re having an awesome year right now,” Sheffer said. “We had great bounce-backs on our last two losses. That’s what we’re focused on right now, bouncing back from (the Penn State) loss.”
For the Hoosiers, the game represents a chance to snap their three-game losing streak and produce momentum going into their next conference game at Northwestern – the lone team it has beat in the Big Ten this season.
If the Wolverines want to stop Indiana, the key will be limiting the production of its premier scorer Aulani Sinclair, who leads the team in points with 18.1 per game and, like Sheffer, scored the 1,000th point of her career in her team’s last game.
Besides Sinclair, the only other Hoosier averaging over 10 points a game is guard Jasmine McGhee, who comes in averaging 12.3 points per contest to go with a team-leading 6.4 rebounds.
McGhee was the lone double-digit scorer for Indiana against Michigan last time around, and has carried the slack for the Hoosiers in recent games, scoring in double figures in six of Indiana’s last seven contests.
While Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico is satisfied with her team’s record up to this point, she still is keeping a level head about this game and the remaining road games on the Wolverines’ schedule.
“If you told me when I was hired that we would be 15-3 right now, I would say ‘woo,’ ” Barnes Arico said. “I would take that, but as a coach, all I’m worried about is beating Indiana and trying to get better because when you go on the road in the Big Ten, anything can happen.”