IOWA CITY – Michigan coach Kevin Borseth thought it was obvious, but his team didn’t get the message.
Down by three with 30.8 seconds left in the game, Michigan needed to force a turnover or foul to stop the clock.
During the timeout, Borseth set up a play to trap Iowa and force a turnover but forgot to mention to foul if the trap failed.
“That’s the only thing we didn’t say in the huddle,” Borseth said. “Obviously you need to spell everything else.”
Seconds earlier, Michigan junior Jessica Minnfield drilled a 3-point basket, bringing the score to 64-61. Michigan called a 30-second timeout to set up its defense.
After the timeout, Iowa successfully inbounded the ball and proceeded to pass the ball around the floor as the Michigan defenders scrambled to recover from the failed trap.
“We said, ‘hang on, because they’re going to foul you hard,'” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “When we saw they weren’t going to foul us, we said, ‘spread the ball out and play keep-away.'”
When Iowa junior Wendy Ausdemore received the ball off the inbounds pass, she chose to pass the ball off, milking the clock rather than sealing the win with another score.
“That was tempting for her not to put that one down,” Bluder said. “That was smart. I was happy to see they saw they were playing against the clock and not against Michigan.”
Even when the ball was dished down low, the Wolverines failed to foul with two defenders near the ball.
“I don’t know why we didn’t foul,” Borseth said. “I would think you’d want to foul them. That would make sense.”
Even with Borseth screaming, “Why aren’t you fouling?” the Wolverines took until 1.2 seconds left in the game to commit a foul, when junior Melinda Queen pushed into Iowa’s Kristi Smith.
Smith stepped to the line and made both free throws, putting the game out of reach.
“The Big Ten Network probably thinks I’m an idiot and they’re right,” Borseth said.
Benson shines again:
For the second game in a row, Carly Benson led the Wolverines with 22 points. But Sunday was the first time this season Benson scored over 20 points in a losing effort.
“She makes things happen when she’s in there,” Borseth said. “She has a lot of confidence. But right now she’s probably boiling, and she should be.”
Benson turned in her best shooting performance of the season against the Hawkeyes. She shot 7-9 from the field, 3-3 from beyond the arc, and 5-5 from the free throw line.
Benson scored 15 of her points in the second half. From nailing a three-pointer on one possession and slashing to the hoop for a lay up on the next, she consistently kept the Wolverines close.
“Benson is an outstanding floor player that can come out and hit those threes,” Bluder said. “She’s a hard one to match up against.”
Daily Sports Writer