Shooting 18-for-22 from the free throw line in a game is something most coaches would die for. But during yesterday’s 72-20 loss to Penn State, the Michigan women’s basketball team found out that 81 percent isn’t always enough.
“I know we shot 81 percent for the game from the free throw line,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “But we had some big, big misses, and you’ve got to make free throws.”
Two key misses were from senior captain LeeAnn Bies, a 79-percent free throw shooter on the season. Bies failed to connect on the front end of two one-and-one situations in the second half.
On the other hand, freshman Niki Reams was clutch. Despite earlier misses, she remained calm with the game on the line, connecting on two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to pull the score even at 70. Reams was 8-for-8 from the line for the game.
Off and running: During the first half of yesterday’s game, the Wolverines’ offense clicked in ways rarely seen this season. Michigan opened up a 2-0 lead on its second possession on a jumper from Jennifer Smith. Following a steal by Rachael Carney, senior Raina Goodlow connected from inside the paint.
Several minutes later, Michigan opened up a 17-11 lead with 13:09 left to play in the first half.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of executing our offense,” Guevara said. “I thought we were able to get the ball inside out, against their man (defense).”
The Michigan offense peaked with 11:07 left in the first half, when a 3-pointer by Smith gave the team an 11-point lead, 22-11.
If at first you don’t succeed: A key for Penn State in the second half was its second-chance points. The Lady Lions fought for seven points from offensive boards compared to just one for the Wolverines.
“I thought in the second half Penn State did a pretty good job of rebounding their missed shots,” Guevara said. “They had some big offensive rebounds.”
Despite being outrebounded 29-27 for the game, Penn State had six offensive rebounds in the second half, compared to Michigan’s tally of just three.
Balancing act: Despite coming up short in the end, six Wolverines finished in double figures in the points column for the first time all season – the previous high number of double-digit scorers was four. Carney came up just short of double figures with seven points of her own.
“It was balanced scoring, but there wasn’t enough of it,” Guevara said.