Going into last night’s game, the Michigan women’s basketball team knew its hands would be full with 6-foot-2 Minnesota senior center Janel McCarville. But McCarville wasn’t the only threat to the Wolverines. The rest of the Gophers’ roster included eight players that stood 6-feet or taller, and it showed.
Minnesota had a 38-23 edge on the boards, dominating the glass on both ends of the floor in its 73-49 victory over the Wolverines.
“Their size factor was just incredible, I’ll put it that way,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said.
The Wolverines tried to keep up with Minnesota in the rebounding column, but the Gophers took control from the start, grabbing two offensive rebounds in the first two possessions. Minnesota converted those boards into four points and never looked back.
The Wolverines could not keep the Gophers off the offensive glass all night. Minnesota had numerous second-chance opportunities with its 12 offensive rebounds. Those extra possessions resulted in the high percentage shots for the Gophers, which led to 40 points in the paint.
“Coming into this game, we knew we should have outplayed them defensively because of our size and experience,” Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. “We controlled the boards and scored in the paint.”
Givin’ ‘em Helvey: Sometimes you can’t rely on averages.
Despite averaging just 5.1 points per game, Michigan sophomore Kelly Helvey netted 11 points against the Golden Gophers last night.
Helvey showed her characteristic spark, playing tenacious defense throughout the game. She ended up with a team-high four steals, matching her career-high.
Her play on the court did not go unnoticed. Burnett singled out Helvey’s play in her post-game interview at a time when it was difficult to highlight anyone’s individual performance.
Pool of tears: Last night, Michigan senior Tabitha Pool learned that all good things come to an end.
After 18 straight games of double-digit scoring efforts, Pool bucketed just eight points, ending her streak that was tops in the Big Ten.
Pool’s offensive efforts may not have been up to her usual standards, but Burnett felt that Pool helped out the team in other ways.
“Again, I felt that Tabitha played a brilliant ball game, (but) it doesn’t show in the statistics,” Burnett said. “They were just running somebody at her, and she was making great choices.”