The backcourt duo of Susana Jara and Alayne Ingram provide a potent one-two punch for the Michigan women”s basketball team, orchestrating its fast paced offense. Since starting both Jara and Ingram, the Wolverines are on a three -game winning streak, including Sunday”s defeat of defending national champion Notre Dame.
At the beginning of the season, coach Sue Guevara made a personnel switch, moving Alayne Ingram her most prolific backcourt scorer from shooting guard to the point. The senior captain was thrust into a role she has not played since high school.
Ingram enjoyed some success at the point, but produced nothing near what she had last season. Her role at the point suffered a blow when she was benched for the Wolverines” game against New Hampshire because she violated an unspecified team rule. This allowed Susana Jara, a walk-on for Michigan four years ago, to play as the starting point guard. She recorded four assists and five steals against the Wildcats.
When Ingram returned to the starting lineup against Syracuse, Jara again started at the point and Ingram started at shooting guard. Back in her former position, Ingram lit up the Orangewomen with five 3-pointers, and Jara once again ran the offense smoothly with six assists and just one turnover.
The Wolverines have found an effective strategy to incorporate Ingram as both shooting guard and point guard.
“(The Fighting Irish) were looking for me to shoot the ball because Susana Jara started out at the point and that”s how I get most of my shots,” Ingram said. “So when I took over the point they were really focused on me shooting.”
This system worked perfectly against Notre Dame on Sunday as Ingram burned the Fighting Irish with 22 points including three-of-five from behind the arc. Jara had a team-high five assists and committed turnovers against the Irish led an offense that shot 68 percent from the field in the first half. Ingram also ran the point effectively in the second half against Notre Dame.
“I like the way coach (Guevara) was starting me off at the two, letting me get going so I would be able to hit a couple of shots, and then putting me at the (point) to continue running the offense,” Ingram said.
Ingram is a triple threat for the Michigan offense when she does get going. Teams have to honor her outside shot, her ability to create on the dribble and her vision to get other players the ball. To Notre Dame”s dismay, Ingram was able to do all three.
“We had to stop (Ingram) from the 3-point line,” said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. “She was really the primary person we were going to guard from the 3-point line. She had some nice drives and I thought she played really well.”
Since Jara and Ingram have been playing together, the two have combined for 24 assists and just 12 turnovers. The backcourt duo led Michigan to double digit blowouts last weekend.