Krista Phillips couldn’t help but tear up at the press conference after the Michigan women’s basketball team’s 50-45 loss to Michigan State last night at Crisler Arena.

It’s no wonder Phillips was upset after the game. In an anticipated immense struggle between Phillips and Spartan center Allyssa DeHaan, the senior finished with zero points. DeHaan had just four.

“I need (Phillips) to defend,” Borseth said. “She’s a big kid in the game. She didn’t have her best offensive night. We had good looks for her. We had to drive around two people, around our own men and Dehaan at the end. I hate to tell a kid not to shoot when she’s wide open, wide open.”

It was a key loss as the Wolverines’ season begins to wind down, considering they needed a win to boost their tournament hopes. The Spartans (7-6 Big Ten, 16-8 overall) have now won six straight against Michigan.

The contest started with Phillips getting three passes down low in the first five minutes. All three were attempted layups that she put up above DeHaan and all three rolled off of the rim. The missed layups were a clear sign of the Wolverines struggle to get something started.

But Phillips wasn’t the only one who struggled, as the Wolverines (6-8, 14-10) couldn’t put it together in the first half. They shot just 30 percent from the field, compared to the Spartans’ 42 percent. Besides freshman guard Dayeesha Hollins and junior guard Veronica Hicks, no other player scored more than three points.

“We had good looks, and we didn’t make them,” Borseth said. “We had really good looks, but we didn’t make them. Really good looks. And we didn’t make them. Why? We were wide open, wide-wide-wide open wide open. We didn’t make them.”

In the second half, it looked like Michigan’s offensive woes might have been outweighed by the conservative play of the Spartans. Early in the second stanza, Michigan tied it up at 25 the Spartans went on a 13-1 run to go up 38-26, just minutes after.

The Wolverines got back in it when Phillips snatched a pass then tossed it all the way downcourt to a wide-open Hicks who finished the layup to bring Michigan within five with less than two minutes remaining.

“We were just playing basketball, we were just trying to make plays,” Hicks said. “You’re not looking at the scoreboard, your looking who’s the next to score. (Phillips) then made a great pass down the court to me. And that play opened it up for me.”

Then, with less than 30 seconds left and Michigan down by five, Hollins drove in the lane, finished, and was fouled on the way up. But she missed the free throw, leaving Michigan down three.

“We missed the free throw, and then got the rebound,” Borseth said. “We threw that one away.”

But Michigan State knew all it had to do was inbound it. And the Spartans did just that, ending the game from the charity stripe.

It wasn’t the lack of desire and motivation that paralyzed the Wolverine offense, it was a lack of execution.

“Somebody wanted to make something happen,” Borseth said. “And they really wanted. I just looked at the tape of our second half offense pssh, psshhh … It was awful.”

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