In their first game at Crisler Arena in more than a month, the Wolverines appeared to take the comforts of home for granted.
Riding a five-game win streak into last night’s game against Northwestern, the Michigan women’s basketball team’s 63-59 loss to the Wildcats (2-0 Big Ten, 11-3 overall) marked a number of firsts.
The loss is the Wolverines’ first at home and their first in the Big Ten. It also served as the first true test of whether the team is capable of fighting similar adversity to last year, when the Wolverines had a similar hot start before collapsing in conference play.
A lack of execution plagued Michigan’s offensive attack throughout the night, as the team put up the its second-lowest point total of the season coupled with their worst shooting night (33 percent).
But despite their struggles, the Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten, 9-3 overall) roared back largely due to junior guard Veronica Hicks’s three triples in the game’s final three minutes. Her effort helped to cut a 12-point deficit inside four minutes to only three.
“We took a game that we were out of, and made a game out of it,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “But I’ll tell you what, we have to play forty minutes of that style in order to create something. Because right now our offense can’t create for itself, the defense has to create.”
Hicks scored 12 of her game-high 23 points down the stretch and was the lone bright spot offensively for the Wolverines.
Michigan just couldn’t do enough defensively to make up for its offensive woes.
With an upcoming showdown against in-state rival No. 16 Michigan State on Thursday and No. 6 Ohio State three days later, the Wolverines won’t have much time to reflect on the loss to Northwestern (11-2, 2-0).
“We definitely have to put it behind us,” Hicks said. “If we still have Northwestern in our heads, MSU is going to come right along and take it to us. And that’s something we’re not going to let happen.”
Until the Wolverines prove themselves against Big Ten competition, doubts will continue to linger regarding whether last season’s in-conference collapse will repeat itself.
“We want to think about last year because it’s something we don’t want to repeat,” Hicks said. “Saying that it didn’t happen would be a lie, and we’re not going to lie to ourselves.”
“We know that people expect us to be No. 11,” she said. “… And it’s our biggest thing to shut those people up.”