Michigan women”s basketball coach Sue Guevara hopes that three experienced players over 6-foot-2 in height will translate into a Big Ten championship this season.

Paul Wong
The Michigan basketball team looks to dominate in the post this year as they return three key inside players this season, including Senior Raina Goodlow.<br><br>MARJORIE MARSHALL/Daily

“We stress the fact that the ball has to go inside,” Guevara said. “(LeeAnn) Bies, Jen (Smith) and Raina (Goodlow) all shot over 50 percent last season. The ball needs to get into the paint so we can be able to score.”

The triple threat of Bies, Smith and Goodlow is the reason many preseason polls are predicting that Michigan will go farther this season than its second-round NCAA Tournament finish last season.

Each of the three post players has a very distinct style that creates scoring opportunities for herself and each other. On most teams, any one member of Michigan”s post trio would have to do the brunt of the work alone.

Bies is the Wolverines” anchor at low post. She prefers to muscle up close to the basket and use her size to her advantage. Smith complements Bies at the high post.

“Jen would be better suited at the high post, she has a nice outside jumper and can drive,” Bies said. “I”m more comfortable posting up down low with my back to the basket.”

Goodlow rounds out this dynamic trio by alternating between the high post and wing. At 6-foot-2 in height, her agility and grace when driving to the basket surprise most defenders.

Goodlow”s perimeter skills allow for an outlet when the player at low post is double-teamed.

“I”ve been working on catching and squaring up ready to shoot or pass,” Goodlow said. “That way I can be a threat as soon as I get the ball.

“Teams are automatically going to double team the posts. We have to be ready to shoot and knock them down.”

The three post players may have had a field-goal percentage close to 50 percent last year, but the other misses resulted in rebound opportunities. Michigan was not strong enough off the glass, ending up sixth in rebounding in the conference at the end of last season. That ranking was one that stood out as disappointing to the entire team.

“With the size we have, there is no way we should be sixth in the Big Ten,” Guevara said.

While creating better scoring opportunities was the foremost goal for Smith, Goodlow and Bies over the summer, they are now focusing more on their individual rebounding efforts.

“Rebounding is a conscious effort of crashing the boards every single time,” Goodlow said.

At the open practice held Friday afternoon in Crisler Arena, the first 20 minutes were spent on rebounding. Michigan ran through drills on weak side rebounding and boxing out.

The talent of the Wolverines” post players will be noted in scouting reports throughout the Big Ten. To open up opportunities for the post players, the guards must become a shooting threat from the perimeter.

Stephanie Gandy, a sophomore with a good amount of experience from court-time as a freshman last season, will be the featured shooting guard for the Wolverines this season.

“We have a new look to our perimeter game, everyone is getting stronger,” Gandy said. “For me personally, I look to take the open shot more often to become a threat when the other team double-teams in the post.”

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