WEST LAFAYETTE — Before the start of the season, junior Courtney Boylan was expected to be the starting point guard for the Michigan women’s basketball team.
“We believe and feel strongly that she is going to be (the fifth starter),” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said at the Big Ten Media Day in October.
Borseth decided to go a different way, and Boylan was left as the third player coming off the bench, usually behind sophomores Kate Thompson and Sam Arnold.
But after starting guard Nya Jordan suffered a knee injury in last week’s win against then-No. 12 Ohio State, Boylan has once again been called upon to handle the starting point guard duties.
When Jordan was injured, Boylan was averaging just five points and 1.7 rebounds per game. But in just two games as a starter, Boylan has seen those numbers skyrocket.
In a 60-53 victory against No. 14 Iowa on Sunday, she poured in a team-high 18 points in 37 minutes of play, leading the Wolverines to their third-straight win over a ranked opponent. Boylan, 5-foot-7, was also second on the team in rebounding, with five, and added three steals.
“I thought she was the difference for us,” Borseth said after the Iowa game. “She really had an outstanding night.”
In Thursday’s game, she started right where she left off.
On Michigan’s first possession of the game, Boylan received the ball from the wing, took two strong dribbles toward the hoop and drilled a jumper from the elbow to give the Wolverines their first two points of the game, silencing a rowdy Purdue crowd.
And as time on the shot clock winded down at the end of the first half, Boylan hit another jumper to help give Michigan a seven-point lead and momentum heading into the second frame.
Despite the Wolverines’ loss in the 65-64 thriller, Boylan’s numbers were once again impressive. She ended the game with 11 points, three assists, and zero turnovers in just 21 minutes of play. She and sophomore Jenny Ryan were the only Michigan players without any turnovers.
“Courtney did a good job,” Borseth said Thursday. “She comes in and kind of offensively settles us a bit.”
And with Jordan out indefinitely, Boylan’s role will continue to become even more important for the Wolverines.
“It’s been fun,” Boylan said after the game against the Hawkeyes. “I’m just glad that I can help in any way that I can. Nya was a big part of our team. She brought a lot of energy and aggression to our team, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do in her absence.”