Michigan coach Sue Guevara said the difference in Tabitha Pool”s play in Sunday”s two halves was like night and day.
“We just need it to be day from the beginning,” Guevara added.
For one half against Detroit Mercy, the freshman was lost in the dark.
She turned the ball over four times in five minutes and her only contribution was a rebound. She looked confused and timid on the floor.
But midway through the second half, Pool happily shook her head after hitting a 3-pointer and dribbling between her legs.
After Michigan fell behind 37-36 with 10:30 left in the second half, Pool scored 11 of the team”s next 17 points to stretch the lead to 53-43 and put the game out of reach.
The sun had risen on her game and she was lighting up the Titans.
“Free throws and Tabitha”s three-minute stretch where she hit four buckets straight, that is what hurt us,” Detroit guard Molly Peterman said.
Worn-out Wolverines: Pool”s fresh legs off the bench were even more critical because of Michigan”s physical condition in the second half. Guevara said guard Alayne Ingram was playing on a “bum ankle” and was drained after playing 37 minutes two nights earlier against Louisiana Tech.
Center LeeAnn Bies needed Pool”s help more than anyone. She took a physical pounding from the Lady Techsters and got hacked throughout yesterday”s game.
“She”s tired,” Guevara said. “She got the snot kicked out of her at Louisiana Tech. She got beat up today.”
Spanish-speaking surprise: It is no wonder Susana Jara was last year”s Michigan Practice Player of the Year she”s never satisfied.
With Ingram at less than 100 percent, Jara saw 12 minutes of action at the point after averaging only four minutes a game last season. Although she didn”t score in the game, Guevara was impressed by the play of the senior from Ecuador.
“She is steady,” Guevara said. “She knows the offenses, she knows how to run them, she knows how to get people the ball. She deserves a nod because she did a really nice job.”
Jara was the only player without a turnover and played strong defense. But she wasn”t particularly impressed with her performance, despite the praise from her coach.
“I need to make more things happen,” Jara said. “I didn”t make a lot of turnovers but I didn”t make any points. I need to produce more.”
And her defense?
“I really need to improve more on that, too,” Jara said.