After the only exhibition for the Michigan women”s basketball team, a 89-75 win over RTU Klondaika, players and coaches critiqued their performance: C-plus.
The 17th-ranked Wolverines now have only four more days to find their “A” game before they go on the road to play No. 6 Louisiana Tech in the season opener Friday.
Guevara was happy with the 48-31 halftime lead. It was the second half that disappointed her. Klondaika opened the second half with a 10-5 run and eventually closed to within nine with 11:24 left in the game.
The Latvians couldn”t cut into the deficit any further because of Michigan”s presence in the paint. The weaker Latvian players were out-rebounded 45-35 and were unable to contain center Jennifer Smith, who scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half. Smith also hurt Klondaika on the glass, grabbing five rebounds, four on the offensive end.
Louisiana Tech “is going to be a lot different for me because the post players are a lot bigger and a lot stronger,” Smith said. “But it did prepare (us) defensively, (playing) weak side and help side. Defensively it probably helped more than offensively.”
The Latvians helped show Michigan how much they need to improve its defense for Louisiana Tech. Klondaika shot 52.5 percent from the field for the game and 56.3 percent in the second half.
“We didn”t do a bad job (defensively) in the first half. In the second half, it was a complete meltdown,” Guevara said.
This week”s practices will feature the “shell drill,” designed to stop penetration through the defense. “They are going to love the shell drill come Monday through Thursday,” Guevara said.
The exhibition was a showcase for two highly anticipated events. Senior Alayne Ingram played point guard after three years as the shooting guard, and freshman Tabitha Pool debut in maize and blue.
Ingram played a team-high 34 minutes and scored a team-high 24 points, half on three-pointers. But Smith was especially happy with Ingram”s four assists.
“She had some sweet passes. She sees you wherever and whenever,” Smith said.
Her coach was impressed by how easy Ingram made the transition to point guard.
“I thought she did a very nice job of running the team,” Guevara said. “I didn”t think there was any question as to who the leader was out on that floor. And that”s the kind of thing we need from Alayne.”
As part of this leadership role, Ingram directed highly touted freshman Tabitha Pool on the floor as she has done in practice to get Pool situated with the Wolverines” system.
“I just keep talking to Tab, making sure she knows where to be at. She gets a little mad at me when I yell at her but I say, “I just want you to do it right because in the heat of the battle it is going to be a lot worse,” ” Ingram said.
Pool entered the game midway through the first half and played well. She recorded nine points, four boards and a block on a 6-foot-6 Latvian player to put aside any doubts about her knee after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament last season.
“I was pleased with the way she came off the bench. You never know how kids are going to respond,” Guevara said. “She is Miss Michigan basketball and all of a sudden she is coming off the bench and she is not the go-to (player). I thought she blended in very well. I thought she was aggressive.”