Sometimes a team loses because it is clearly inferior to its opponent, but it sometimes goes down because of a lack of focus. That seemed to be the case for the Michigan women’s basketball team Tuesday night in its 61-60 loss to Drake. The goal for the young Wolverines will be to bounce back from the tough loss and rebound in tonight’s road game against Charlotte.
Michigan hopes to have a repeat performance of its last road game, a 57-51 win over UC-Santa Barbara, which had won 39 of its last 40 at home. Michigan was focused on the goal at hand and played an extremely disciplined game against the Gauchos. To beat the 49ers, the Wolverines will need to be a more focused group than they were on Tuesday.
“(The) upperclassmen as much as the young kids weren’t focused and didn’t have that edge,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said of the Drake loss. “We’ve been talking about that the last few days in practice because we didn’t feel like we had that intensity.”
Charlotte (5-0) presents a tough challenge for Michigan, as the 49ers have proven dominant in the early season, outscoring their opponents by almost 18 points per game. Charlotte’s balanced attack features five players averaging double figures in scoring. Heading this group is junior guard Sakellie Daniels, who has posted 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.
It is a rematch of last season’s game at Crisler Arena when Michigan earned a 72-65 win. Last year, former Michigan center Jennifer Smith led the charge for the Wolverines. This year, Michigan (2-2) will lean on senior forward Tabitha Pool, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, to earn a victory.
“Tab’s playing a lot of minutes,” Burnett said. “She’s hitting the big shots, she’s guarding the best player, she’s communicating — she’s doing it all.”
Pool will have help, as freshman Ta’Shia Walker continues to establish herself as a low-post presence. Walker is averaging 17.5 points per game, while adding 4.3 rebounds per game. But those two cannot do it all by themselves. Michigan must come out and play with the determination that has been seen in its two victories.
“This team has to have an edge,” Burnett said. “To this coaching staff, an edge is when our intensity is always there, effort is always there, and that we are always outworking people offensively and defensively.”
Saying Goodbye: Michigan women’s basketball assistant coach Janine Moore has decided to resign from her position due to undisclosed health reasons. She had been on temporary leave of absence, but has decided to make it permanent. Moore was in her second season on Burnett’s staff.
“I would like to sincerely thank Cheryl for the opportunity to be a part of her staff at Michigan,” Moore said in a release by the Michigan athletic department. “At this time, there are some health issues I am dealing with which require my full attention. I have enjoyed my time at Michigan and appreciate the support provided by the staff and administration.”