Despite defeating Detroit 67-52 last Sunday, the No. 19 Michigan women”s basketball team was faced with a major concern. The Wolverines shot just 36.7 percent from the floor as the offense struggled to find a rhythm all afternoon.
Just a week later, that problem appears to be solved.
Yesterday, Michigan (3-1) scorched the nets for a 62-percent performance from the field that included an 8-for-12 mark on 3-pointers. The hot-shooting enabled the Wolverines to grab a road win at Syracuse (3-1), 84-76, to complete a two-win weekend that also included an 81-61 victory over New Hampshire (2-2) on Friday.
“I”m very happy to be 2-0 on the road,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “And I”m even happier to be coming home to play Thursday (against Marquette) in Crisler Arena.”
Four Michigan players scored in double figures against the Orangewomen, led by Alayne Ingram”s 25 points. Ingram was forced to sit out the Wolverines” game on Friday for violating a team rule, but the senior guard returned with a vengeance.
Ingram was 5-for-7 from 3-point range and scored Michigan”s first eight points of the second half.
After starting the first two games of the season at point guard, Ingram was moved back to her normal shooting guard position enabling Susana Jara to take control of the point. Jara had six assists and eight points against Syracuse.
“I was extremely pleased with the play of Susana Jara I thought she was pretty steady both games,” Guevara said. “I would say right now Susana is going to be starting at the point for us because it affords me two point guards on the floor the other one being Alayne.”
Michigan jumped out quickly on Syracuse with an impressive first half, rolling to a 47-31 lead at halftime.
The lead was just 21-19 with 9:44 remaining in the half, but Jara making her second consecutive start at point guard hit a 3-pointer to spark an 18-3 Michigan run. That stretch put Michigan ahead by 15, and the Orangewomen were not able to close the gap before the half.
Syracuse tried to come from behind as the second half began and pulled within seven with 14:35 left in the game.
But that was as close as the Orangewomen would get. Ingram scored 12 points from that juncture, including a 3-pointer with 4:56 to go that put the Wolverines ahead 74-62 and squashed any chance Syracuse had at a late rally.
As opposed to Michigan”s first two games last weekend when LeeAnn Bies was the main offensive weapon, averaging 23.5 points per game, the Wolverines were able to establish a balanced attack against the Orangewomen.
Sophomore Stephanie Gandy had 14 points off the bench, while Bies had 12 and Jennifer Smith added 10.
As has become the norm this year, Michigan capitalized on impressive free-throw shooting. The Wolverines shot 93.3 percent from the line against Syracuse.
“I think we are very confident going to the free- throw line, we have good shooters,” Guevara said. “We are doing a nice job focusing on the free shot.”
On Friday, the Wolverines opened their weekend by avoiding New Hampshire”s upset attempt.
Tabitha Pool scored 21 points and Raina Goodlow pitched in 15 as the Wolverines exploded for a 41-19 scoring advantage in the second half to pull away.
Michigan turned the ball over 25 times against both Louisiana Tech and Detroit to start the year. But against New Hampshire, that number was cut to 19 and against Syracuse, the Wolverines committed just 15 turnovers.
The decrease in mistakes is something that Guevara is excited to see.
“I don”t want to see the same kind of turnovers people putting the ball down when they don”t need to,” Guevara said. “Fifteen turnovers is reasonable considering how much we run.”