LeeAnn Bies has been the spark for the Michigan women”s basketball team all season, and her importance could not have been more evident this weekend in Seattle.

Bies drained two free throws with ten seconds left on Sunday to give the Wolverines a 71-70 victory over Washington and a sweep in the Big Ten-Pac-10 Challenge. Michigan opened the weekend by defeating Washington State 81-59 on Friday night.

“Bies rose to the occasion,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said.

After an Andrea Lalum 3-pointer put the Wolverines down by one with under a minute to go, Michigan ran a set play with 13 seconds remaining as Lalum fouled Bies as she took a shot at the top of the key. Bies took advantage at the charity stripe to give the Wolverines the lead.

Then Michigan was able to survive as Loree Payne missed a 12-footer and a Kellie O”Neill missed a follow-up shot in the game”s final four seconds extending the Wolverines” winning streak to seven games the third longest in school history and giving Guevara her 100th career victory.

The matchup was a constant struggle as there were eight ties and 15 lead changes. But Washington held the advantage for the majority of the first half, leading by as much as eight when Payne hit a three with six minutes remaining in the period. But the Huskies missed six 3-point attempts in the second half”s first three minutes giving Michigan an opportunity to get back into the contest.

The Wolverines seemed to have taken control after the team went on an 8-2 run at the midway point in the second half until Bies picked up two fouls within six seconds of each other. This forced Guevara to replace Bies with freshman Katrina Mason putting two freshmen on the floor in a critical juncture in the contest.

“Talk about a tough situation for a freshman,” Guevara said. “(But) she gave us the two minutes that we needed.”

After the substitution, the Huskies went on a 10-0 run to take a 65-60 lead. But Bies took over when she reentered the game by scoring six points within a two-minute span. This helped the Wolverines retake the lead before the antics of the final 60 seconds.

Michigan dominated inside throughout. The Wolverines pulled down 50 rebounds compared to the Huskies” 35, keeping the Huskies away from the interior and forcing them to the outside.

“At the beginning of the season, we knew our bread and butter was going to be our inside play,” Guevara said.

After seeing Washington in person on Friday, Guevara and her staff knew that they were going to shoot the three early and often. Washington took even more shots from downtown than expected. Out of Washington”s 71 field goal attempts, they took a team record 36 shots from beyond the arc with Payne taking 15 of those, and making seven 3-point field goals.

“They love to shoot the three,” Guevara said.

The tilt was the third straight Michigan had to play without senior captain Raina Goodlow. Goodlow did not make the trip to Seattle because of an infection in her hip. Her status remains day-to-day. The team also was without senior forward Heather Oesterle.

In the challenge opener against Washington State, the Cougars took advantage of a lethargic Michigan squad in the first half they went on a 16-7 run late in the first to take a 38-29 lead over the Wolverines at the break.

Michigan responded with a full court press, helping the Wolverines go on a 17-0 run to take the lead for good as Michigan outscored the Cougars 57-21 in the second half.

“I wanted us to start faster,” Guevara said. “(But) we were able to get quick steals and get layups (because of the press.)”

Michigan”s press turned the Cougars upside down. After shooting well over 50 percent in the first, Washington State would miss their first 14 shots of the second period and shot only 11-percent for the entire half.

“We wanted to pick up the pace,” Guevara said.

Tabitha Pool”s career-high 13 rebounds and six assists and LeeAnn Bies” 18 points and eight rebounds led Michigan.

Michigan heads straight back on the road to play Toledo on Wednesday night.

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