The Michigan women’s basketball team’s win over Seton Hall yesterday moved its record to 4-0 and marked its best start since 2003.
The Wolverines’ 51-47 victory over the Pirates is also Michigan coach Kevin Borseth’s best start in his five years at Michigan.
“I think that getting in the gym has been important (for the fast start),” said redshirt sophomore forward Kendra Seto. “The seniors like Courtney (Boylan) and Carmen (Reynolds) have taken leadership roles and us younger players have been working really hard defensively.”
Leading the way for Michigan on Sunday was junior center Rachel Scheffer with 18 points. Senior guard Courtney Boylan added 11 points and junior guard Kate Thompson scored nine points and added a block.
But Thompson’s block was a big one.
With 12 seconds left in the game and Michigan up by just two points, Seton Hall guard Jasmine Crew drove and shot a layup. Thompson blocked it and the Wolverines re-gained possession. Then Scheffer added two more free throws to seal the victory.
“I remember the last two defensive possessions we had a real sense of urgency,” Borseth said. “I don’t remember exactly what it was but down the stretch the kids did a good job of covering up.”
Though Michigan pulled out the victory, it wasn’t flawless. After shooting a dismal 33 percent against Utah last Thursday, the Wolverines had similar woes yesterday, shooting just 27 percent from the field and 14 percent from behind the arc.
“I think that we got our shots, but we just weren’t hitting them,” Scheffer said. “I’m not sure the reason, but offensively we got what we wanted to get.”
Added Borseth: “We’ve been playing against some pretty good defensive teams so maybe that has something to do with it too.”
Michigan did go 22-for-28 from the free-throw line, which included free throws down the stretch to ensure the victory. The Wolverines had so many attempts partly because they reached the bonus early in both halves.
They outscored Seton Hall 22-6 in free throws and Scheffer scored 12 or her 18 points from the charity stripe — missing only two attempts. Boylan had similar success, going six-for-eight from the line.
As the first half wound down, the Wolverines trailed by nine. But as the half wound down, they went on a 16-3 run to take the lead, 27-23, entering halftime. They were able to carry that momentum into the second half.
“We started really slow,” Borseth said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. We couldn’t throw it in the ocean. But then we changed up the defense a little bit and went on a run.”
When Michigan went 4-0 in 2003, it slumped late in the season and ended the season with a disappointing 14-17 record. It’s hoping it will be different this year.
“I think continuing to work hard and just be focused (will be important) and to keep the mindset that we want to do well,” Seto said.