With 15.2 seconds left in the first half, Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett looked to her newly expanded bench to put someone in the game to protect Ashley Jones, who already had two fouls.
Before Friday’s game, Burnett would’ve had trouble finding someone to fill in because Kelly Helvey, Ta’Shia Walker and Katie Dierdorf all suffered season-ending injuries, cutting the active roster to seven players.
But the assistance of three volleyball players and two walk-ons expanded the roster to 12.
On Friday, Burnett called on sophomore Lyndsay Miller, who holds the volleyball program’s record for most blocks in a season, to spell Jones.
“I was pretty nervous,” said Miller, who was named to Michigan’s All-State basketball team in high school. “We just went to practice (Thursday), so we weren’t sure what we were doing. We didn’t know the offense. We knew a little bit of what to do when we’re warming up.”
Wearing a No. 52 jersey without a name on the back, Miller entered the lineup to cheers from the more than 3,000 spectators.
“It’s funny because you know they have athletic talent, but you never think (that they would be on the basketball team),” said junior volleyball player Danielle Pflum, who was in attendance to support her teammates.
After freshman Stephany Skrba converted a free-throw attempt to make it a two-point game, Miller guarded forward Alice Jamen. Miller played off her opponent to assist with help-side defense as Ohio State brought the ball up the court.
After Ohio State’s Brandie Hoskins was whistled for traveling, Jessica Minnfield set up for a last-second shot, but she lost the ball out of bounds as the first half ended.
Miller’s 15.2 seconds to close out the first half was the only time that any of the five new players received.
Although she did not play any basketball this year before going to practice on Thursday, Miller and the other two volleyball players on the basketball team – middle blocker Megan Bowman and setter Mara Martin – had successful high school careers. According to volleyball coach Mark Rosen, Miller could have pursued a collegiate basketball career if she hadn’t chosen volleyball.
The most competitive basketball that the trio has played since high school was intramural basketball, where they finished second last year.
Who’s who of the who’s that: In addition to the three volleyball players added, two walk-ons were added to the roster prior to Friday night’s game. One of them was Renee Dean, who served as a team manager before she donned a uniform. The other walk-on was Lindsay Sklar. The Franklin native was on the team roster last year and earned University Athletic Academic Achievement honors but did not play.
Benson re-emerges: It took just 11 minutes before Carly Benson scored her 10th point of the game on a floater in the post. It was the first time the freshman hit double figures in points since her 12-point performance in a Dec. 13 victory over Fordham. Benson finished Friday’s game with 12 points in just 17 minutes of play. Eight of her points came in the first six minutes, when Michigan led by four.
Double duty’s been done before: The last Michigan athlete to compete on both the basketball and volleyball teams was Anne Poglits. Poglits lettered in volleyball from 1996-99 and in basketball in 1996-97.