The Michigan women”s basketball team may have had all the odds against it last night in Iowa City, but it certainly did not play like it.
The Wolverines turned the ball over just 11 times, and the inside-outside tandem of Alayne Ingram and LeeAnn Bies scored more than 40 points to give the Wolverines a 91-80 victory over Iowa.
Even though the Hawkeyes had a spot in the NCAA Tournament hanging in the balance, Michigan finally played like the team that was 10-1 during nonconference play, as it picked up its first road win of the Big Ten season.
“This was the team that played in November and December,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said.
With the game tied at 77, Alyane Ingram, who finished with 24 points, took control. Ingram hit shots from all over the floor as she led the Wolverines on a 14-3 run to close the contest.
“She hit two 3s at two very critical times,” Guevara said.
Despite having their entire starting frontcourt in foul trouble for most of the game, the Wolverines countered every Iowa run.
The Hawkeyes missed many easy layup opportunities early, and Michigan took advantage. Even with center Jennifer Smith on the bench for the majority of the half, the Wolverines ran out to a 36-25 lead, forcing Iowa to commit 12 first-half turnovers. But then the Hawkeyes stormed back to cut the lead to four before the break. They started to hit their shots and Smith, LeeAnn Bies and Heather Oesterle all went into the lockerroom with three fouls.
But instead of fizzling away in the second half like it has throughout the Big Ten season, Michigan countered with a quick 8-0 run to open the second half and grabbed a 53-41 lead.
The Hawkeyes came back to tie the game, as Beatrice Bullock drove the lane several times drawing fouls and taking Smith out of the contest with 8:41 remaining.
Iowa led by as many as seven points in the second half. Jennifer Lillis, who led the Hawkeyes with 23 points, drew Heather Oesterle”s fifth foul with 5:16 remaining. This left LeeAnn Bies, Michigan”s only formidable post presence in the contest, with four fouls. But once again the Wolverines fought back as Stephanie Gandy stepped up her play, finishing with 18 points.
“When we were down, I did not see that defeated look,” Guevara said.
The game was tight until Ingram, who poured in 18 points in the second half, took over. The Wolverines put the game out of reach from the charity stripe. Michigan shot 84 percent from the free-throw line for the game.
The Wolverines, who last week thought they were going to be unable to accomplish any of their goals this season, now look at their remaining games in a new light.
“I”m hoping that we can build on this one game at a time,” Guevara said.