YPSILANTI, Mich. — When an eagle seeks out its prey, it’s stealthy and quick to attack, leaving its victim defenseless.

And that’s exactly how Eastern Michigan’s star senior guard took down the Michigan women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon.

“It was the Tavelyn James show,” said Michigan coach Kevin Borseth. “(She) single-handedly beat us, that’s the bottom line. She’s an absolute nightmare to guard. Our kids didn’t realize how good she was.”

The third-best scoring defense in the Big Ten had no answer for James, who tallied 38 points for the Eagles on her way to becoming the all-time leading scorer in Eastern Michigan history. Nineteen of those 38 came in the first 10 minutes of the first half to give the Eagles (6-3) a commanding 27-13 lead. She also was a threat from behind the arc, making 5-of-13 three-point shots.

And the Wolverines (9-2) just couldn’t respond, falling 77-64.

None of Michigan’s players ever got into a rhythm. Senior forward Carmen Reynolds, who is 23 points away from breaking 1,000 for her career, went 0-for-2 from the floor. Junior guard Jenny Ryan struggled as well, shooting 4-for-10, and fouled out of the game with less than a minute to go.

Though shooting was rough, Michigan somehow found ways to score. Four of its players broke into double figures, with junior forward Rachel Sheffer leading the team with 16 points and six rebounds.

Besides failing to stop James offensively, Michigan couldn’t break the Eagles’ tough defense. They played a high 2-3 zone that kept senior guard Courtney Boylan contained above the 3-point line, which Eastern Michigan coach AnnMarie Gilbert noted was their primary goal.

Feeding the ball in the paint was also difficult at the beginning for the Wolverines, but eventually they found a way to get inside and score 44 points in the paint.

“Their pressure was unbelievable at the top, but once we broke it, we got layup after layup,” Sheffer said. “It was just getting the ball down, finding people, and finishing.”

Rebounds were a huge factor in the game. The Eagles outrebounded the Wolverines, 37-26, despite a significant height advantage for Michigan. Borseth noted that when his team focused its defense on James, the rest of Eastern Michigan’s players were left open for rebounds and second-chance points.

“Offensive rebounds and turnovers, that’s how they won the game,” Sheffer said. “All year, emphasis has been on offensive rebounding, and it’s just coming together as a team and being consistent with (rebounding).”

The Eagles were also a quick team, and Michigan had trouble stopping them in transition. The Wolverines committed 18 turnovers, which resulted in 30 points for Eastern Michigan, and 15 were off fast breaks.

“If we don’t take care of the ball, we’re not a good team,” Boylan said. When (we) take care of the ball, (we) get more possessions, and (we’re) able to get more shots at the basket. And we definitely needed to do a better job of that today.”

This is the Wolverines’ second-straight loss to Eastern Michigan, as the Eagles knocked off heavily-favored Michigan in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament last year to end its season.

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