The Michigan women’s basketball team nearly made believers out of everyone at Crisler Arena Friday night against Notre Dame.

But yesterday, when the team got a second shot to make a statement on its home court, the Wolverines made it clear they aren’t anyone’s pushover anymore.

Just two days after Michigan self-destructed in what could have been the program’s biggest win in more than two years, the Wolverines bounced back to beat a previously 7-1 Miami team, 60-55.

“This is a great tribute to (the players), coming off a tough loss,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said. “I’ve talked about them for years, about how resilient they are . and being able to shrug off whatever disappointments we’ve had.”

Just nine games into the year, Michigan has already matched last season’s win total.

The Wolverines’ defensive attack held Miami’s two leading scorers – Renee Taylor (20.5 points per game) and Maurita Taylor (15 per game) – in check. The duo shot just 6-for-21 and combined for just 23 points.

The Wolverines’ (6-3) solid perimeter defense often forced the Hurricanes (7-2) to take bad shots inside.

“Our reaction was to put our head down and go to the rim,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “(Michigan) is not the team to do that against. As a team we had been getting away with that, and I knew (the Wolverines) wouldn’t allow us to get away with that.”

The Wolverines got away with a few problems of their own in the victory.

Michigan was holding a small lead when post players Krista Phillips, Stephany Skrba and LeQuisha Whitfield all had to sit because of foul trouble early in the second half.

The trio, which combines for 25 points and 15 rebounds a game, left a hole both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

The Wolverines went almost seven minutes without a point after Phillips took a seat with three fouls. It was then that the Hurricanes took advantage of Michigan’s lack of height in the paint. Miami hit four straight inside buckets to go on a 13-4 run and open a 40-33 lead over the Wolverines with just more than 11 minutes left.

But then the Michigan bench took over.

With the Hurricanes up five, Wolverine reserves camew through in yet another game, hitting five of Michigan’s next seven baskets. Melinda Queen, Kalyn McPherson, Katie Dierdorf and Carly Benson all made big contributions off the bench to propel Michigan to a 51-47 lead with just less than six minutes remaining.

As different players subbed in and out, the one constant was starting point guard Jessica Minnfield, who played all 40 minutes of the game. Her hard play didn’t go unnoticed by her teammates.

“She’s tough,” junior co-captain Janelle Cooper said. “We’re looking at her and saying, ‘Well, Jess is being tough, so I might as well be tough with her.’ “

Minnfield’s toughness showed with five minutes to go in the game when she outhustled two Hurricane players for a loose ball and then found Cooper streaking down the court for a lay-in to extend Michigan’s lead to 55-49.

Despite 5-for-12 shooting from the free-throw line in the game’s final two minutes, the Wolverines scored just enough to secure the victory. The poor free-throw shooting in the game’s late stages were frighteningly similar to Friday, when the team blew a late lead against the Irish and shot 4-for-9 at the charity stripe to end the contest.

But there would be no disappointment for the Wolverines this time.

Michigan, 3-0 on the road this season, can continue its unbeaten streak away from home at Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday. With a victory, the Wolverines would eclipse last year’s win total.

Even after coming away with a win against a tough opponent, Burnett said the team must continue to look ahead to the RedHawks (4-4) rather than celebrate the big victory.

“The only thing that is important for us at this point is the next practice, and in this case, the next opponent,” Burnett said.

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