After the Michigan women’s basketball team’s 67-48 home loss to the unranked University of Detroit, Michigan coach Kevin Borseth was left searching for answers.
Why did the Wolverines seem to play so sluggishly against the Titans? What would Michigan have to do to get the offense get back on track?
“I don’t know,” Borseth said after Saturday’s loss, Michigan’s worst of the year. “We’re not trying to play sluggish. We’re trying to play hard.”
The Wolverines (6-5) will have to find answers quickly if they want to have any chance of beating No. 24 Boston College on Wednesday.
The undefeated Eagles (11-0) come to Crisler Arena with the nation’s best field goal percentage (51 percent); they also lead the country in points scored (90) and assists (21) per game.
Michigan, in comparison, averages just 66 points per game and has scored 90 points just once this year in a 91-58 victory over Wake Forest earlier this month.
Few teams have even been able to compete with Boston College so far this year, as it has won every game by at least nine points.
The Eagles’ lone close game came in a 113-104 overtime victory over Big Ten opponent Penn State. Boston Colleges’ 113 points were the most points scored in the program history.
The Eagles’ high-powered offense is led by 6-foot-6 senior center Carolyn Swords, who averages 19 points and nine rebounds per game. Swords leads the nation in field goal percentage at 75 percent — nearly 10 percentage points higher than second-place Carolyn Davis of Kansas.
Accompanying Swords in the post is 6-foot-4 senior Stephanie Murphy, who averages 17 points and eight rebounds per game.
All five of Boston College’s starters average over 10 points per game, and senior guard Jaclyn Thoman’s 53-percent success rate from behind the arc is best in the nation.
And Michigan, which averages just 31 rebounds per game compared to Boston College’s 44, will have to find a way to at least compete against the Eagles on the boards.
Sophomore guard Jenny Ryan leads the Wolverines with five rebounds per game, and she will no doubt need help from her teammates on the glass.
It’s likely that 6-foot-1 sophomore Rachel Sheffer will take on Swords in the middle, and 6-foot junior Carmen Reynolds will battle Murphy in the post.
“Rebounding just comes down to being physical and being scrappy,” Reynolds said earlier this year at Michigan Media Day. “It’s all about team rebounding and team defense.”
Michigan will also need production from 6-foot-3 sophomore forwards Sam Arnold and Kate Thompson off the bench. The Wolverines are 6-1 when the bench scores more than 10 points in a game.
After the Wolverines’ loss against Detroit, with the team left searching for answers, it won’t be easy for Michigan to figure it out against the Eagles.