After four road games to start the season, the Michigan women”s basketball team finally played its home opener last night. The defenses dictated the pace at the beginning of the game. But Marquette could not control the high-powered offense of the 16th-ranked Wolverines for the full 40 minutes, falling 65-49.
After a close first half, the Wolverines ran away from the Golden Eagles early in the second half behind the play of Alayne Ingram. On the Wolverines first possession of the second half, Ingram tied the school record for career 3-pointers, hitting her 134th bomb from the corner with just seconds remaining on the shot clock.
Immediately following her record-tying basket, Ingram intercepted an errant Marquette pass and was fouled as she drove to the basket. Ingram”s inspired play kicked off a 20-4 run by the Wolverines to start the second half. Michigan”s offensive prowess continued throughout the second half, and Marquette was unable to find any answers. Ingram single-handedly seized the momentum for the Wolverines at the beginning of the second half, and they never relinquished it.
“I thought it was really important for me to get everybody going so we can play with some excitement, some intensity,” Ingram said.
After Ingram”s heroics, Michigan”s three big post players Jennifer Smith, LeeAnn Bies and Raina Goodlow took over the game. Their play in the paint was instrumental in securing the Wolverines” victory.
While Michigan (4-1) was able to score almost at will against the Golden Eagles in the second half, this was not the case early on in the game. Neither team had success offensively in the first half. Zone defenses by each team dictated a slow-paced first half. Both teams struggled from the floor and could not get off good shots.
Marquette (2-3) tried to break down the Michigan zone with outside shooting, but the Golden Eagles failed to convert a single 3-pointer on their nine attempts. Despite out-shooting Marquette, who shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half, the Wolverines were not able to pull away from the Golden Eagles, as the teams went into the lockerroom with Michigan leading 25-24. While the defense for the Wolverines was solid, the offense was not clicking.
“Defensively, we did a good job,” coach Sue Guevara said. “If we can just put our offense and our defense all together, then I”ll be an even happier camper.”
Playing through an injury suffered in practice, Goodlow was the Wolverines” brightest star on offense in the first half, recording eight of Michigan”s 25 points.
“A lot of my play comes from the high post, and because they were doubling down on them (Bies and Smith) in the low post and they were guarding penetration pretty well, it was just my time to step up, ” Goodlow said.
And step up she did. Goodlow was tied with Marquette”s Rachel Klug for a game-high 15 points and shot a team-high 70 percent from the floor. Smith and Goodlow played an excellent high-low game in the paint to the dismay of the Golden Eagles.
Guevara stressed the importance of the post game at halftime.
“We said this game is going to be won in the post, offensively and defensively,” Guevara said.