If Michigan coach Kevin Borseth could play his starters all 40 minutes, he would. Or at least that’s what he said after his team’s win over Michigan State two weeks ago.
Three minutes into the first half against Indiana last night, assistant coach Dawn Plitzuweit subbed in freshman Veronica Hicks, who had played in just six games this season. Heading into last night’s contest, Hicks had the third-fewest minutes played on the team (2.7 per game).
Hicks’s impact was immediate, as she was on the receiving end of the night’s top play. After sophomore Krista Phillips received the ball down low, she quickly dished it to a cutting Hicks, who laid the ball in for her first points as a Wolverine.
“Dawn put her in there earlier than I thought she would,” Borseth said. “And I thought she did pretty well.”
The layup marked her only points of the night, but in 12 minutes of play, Hicks’s presence was definitely felt on the defensive end.
Michigan’s lone freshman forced two steals and picked up two defensive rebounds.
“She plays great defense,” junior Carly Benson said. “She’s so long and lanky, and she gets her hands on a lot of passes.”
Rebounding woes put on hold: Last night, for the first time since a 63-46 win over Iowa on Dec. 30, Michigan outrebounded its opponent.
More impressive than Michigan’s 36 rebounds was the fact that it held Indiana to 32 boards. The Hoosiers came into the game fourth in the Big Ten with 43.1 rpg.
“We knew they were a very good rebounding team, so we did some extra rebounding drills and made sure we boxed out and got in front of them,” Benson said.
Senior guard Janelle Cooper snatched eight rebounds, but 6-foot-6 Phillips led the way with 10 boards. Phillips was also 8-11 from the field, giving her 16 points and a double-double for a second straight game, despite facing a double team the entire game.
“I think Krista handled the double team very well,” Benson said. “We worked on that in practice all week.”
Borseth told Phillips that for Michigan to win, she needed to rebound and take care of the ball.
Phillips wasn’t as successful with the second task, adding six turnovers to her team-worst 62. But it was no surprise that she was able to out-muscle the Hoosiers for loose balls.