Courtney Boylan was the only player in Crisler Arena yesterday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. — well, besides her rebounder.
It was before the Michigan women’s basketball team started practice, and the senior guard — the team’s leading scorer — was shooting 3-pointers and practicing various post moves.
“This is a pretty typical day for her,” said Michigan coach Kevin Borseth. “She’s in here everyday. I don’t want to say seven days a week, but she’s working on her game year round. She realizes she’s not very big so she’s got to take her advantage where she can.”
In last Friday’s season-opener against Florida, Boylan scored a team-high 21 points, which was also a career high. After her performance, she received her first Big Ten Player of the Week award, making her the first Michigan player to do so since graduated Veronica Hicks did last season.
“(Winning the award) was a nice honor,” Boylan said. “I really wasn’t expecting it at all, but it was a big win for the team so it was exciting. I’m not looking into it too much, just trying to help our team win.”
Last season, after junior Nya Jordan suffered a knee injury, Boylan was thrust into a starting role. Since Hicks was the go-to scorer for the Wolverines, Boylan mostly ran the point, which limited her scoring production.
At home against Florida Atlantic on Monday, Boylan’s offensive success continued. Though she wasn’t Michigan’s leading scorer — junior center Rachel Scheffer took that honor with 20 points — she was a close second with 18.
“I’ve seen her score on small kids, big kids, fading away and stepping through,” Borseth said. “She can do a lot of things with that ball, but most importantly she can handle it. And we need her to be able to do that.”
Boylan’s 70-percent mark from the field is 17 percent higher than the team average, a large margin for any player. Last season, she shot a mere 32 percent from the field and only averaged 6.8 points per game, which was a career high. But she was consistently taking 3-pointers, contributing to her low percentage.
Her high percentage this year has partially been because she hasn’t attempted a three-pointer in either game, instead mostly scoring near the basket. At 5-foot-7, she is the smallest player on the Wolverines’ roster. But, that has not stopped her from also averaging 4.5 rebounds per game — double her career average.
“As time goes on, it’s going to get a little bit more demanding for her as people figure out some of the things she’s good at,” Borseth said. “She’s like a bull in a china shop around that basket. She’s tough.”