Freshman play (fresh-man plae) n. 1. An error, mistake, or miscue that can be directly attributed to youthful inexperience.

J. Brady McCollough
Freshman Niki Reams (left) and sophomore Tabitha Pool (right) combined for 3-of-15 shooting last night.

Example: With 39 seconds remaining in the game, Michigan freshman point guard Mie Burlin hits a 3-pointer, cutting Wisconsin’s lead to 53-52. After being fouled, Wisconsin guard Shawna Nicols converts 1-of-2 free throws, giving Michigan the ball down by two with 36 seconds. Riding the exhilaration of her prior basket, Burlin jacks up an ill-advised three with 25 seconds left on the shot clock.

Yesterday, Burlin’s imprudent late-game attempt missed, ultimately killed off any hope of a late game comeback for the Michigan women’s basketball team and gave meaning to an age-old college basketball phrase.

“I think that (Burlin) probably got a little excited because she hit the three before,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “It wasn’t quite the shot we were looking for.”

The Wolverines (2-9 Big Ten, 11-11 overall) dropped their sixth straight Big Ten game to Wisconsin (5-7, 7-16), 58-52, in a heartbreaker.

After a defensive-minded first half, Michigan led Wisconsin 25-20 at the break. Having showed limited offensive prowess in the first half, the Badgers made some simple lockerroom adjustments.

“(At halftime), we talked about the fact that we were not being very aggressive offensively,” Wisconsin coach Jane Albright said. “And anytime you go into halftime, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out, (if) you haven’t taken a free throw, and you have very good officials, which we did tonight, that we’re not being aggressive.”

In the second half, the Badgers increased their offensive output and began to take control of the game. With 1:31 remaining, Wisconsin held a comfortable seven-point advantage (53-46), but the Wolverines wouldn’t quit.

Helped by the Badgers’ inability to make free throws, Michigan scored six unanswered points, setting up the aforementioned situation. After Burlin’s questionable shot selection, Wisconsin finally started to convert free throws and put the game in the books.

This six-game skid is Michigan’s worst losing streak since 1996. The Wolverines take on Michigan State at Crisler Arena on Sunday 2:15 p.m.

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