When Michigan traveled to Purdue”s Mackey Arena on Dec. 30th, it knew it was in for a challenge. As Michigan struggled from the field, missing many lay-ups and short jump shots in the early part of the contest, Purdue jumped out to a 21-9 lead and never looked back en route to a 69-47 victory. But while the Wolverines had difficulty from the floor, the real challenge for the Wolverines was the loud enthusiastic crowd of 8,227 that was constantly on its feet cheering on the Boilermakers.
Although Michigan would declare the record crowd of 4,558 that showed up at Crisler on Wednesday night against Michigan State a success, Purdue averages well over 8,000 fans a game.
Because of their 11 NCAA Tournament appearances over the last 12 years, the Boilermakers and their fans have a rich tradition of supporting women”s college hoops.
An hour before game time, a large line formed outside of the athletic ticket office next to Mackey Arena as fans filled the arena”s lower bowl and a good part of the upper rafters. Right from the opening tip, the crowd was in the game giving Michigan an extra challenge they did not need. And even though the student pep band for the women”s team was on vacation, an alumni band entertained the crowd.
“I have always said that we have the best fans in college basketball,” Purdue senior guard Kelly Komara said.
Although it may provide an extra challenge, Michigan coach Sue Guevara says that the team does, in fact, enjoy going to West Lafayette. She says the way the crowd is really into the game is a challenge the squad likes.
“We do like coming to play (at Purdue),” said Guevara.
Goodlow gone for season: Since Michigan downed Notre Dame in Grand Rapids back in December, it has been coping without its senior tri-captain Raina Goodlow. And it is going to have to continue doing so for awhile longer.
Right before Michigan started its conference schedule, it was announced that Goodlow will miss the remainder of the season with an infection in her hip. When Goodlow started to miss action, it was believed that she was suffering from back spasms, so her status remained day-to-day. But after further inspection, the infection was discovered, sidelining her for the year.
Goodlow will use a medical redshirt so she will be able to return as a fifth-year senior next season. For now Michigan will continue to start Jen Smith at power forward.
Up to new heights: Before starting their Big Ten season with three quick losses, the Wolverines had vaulted to the No. 12 spot (the highest position every held by the program) in both the Associated Press and the Coaches Polls after a school record 10 straight wins.
While the Wolverines did receive votes in both polls toward the end of last season, the only other time the Wolverines actually appeared in the top 25 was during the last two weeks of the 1999-2000 season.