STATE COLLEGE — Coming off its worst loss of the season at
Minnesota last Sunday, the Penn State women’s basketball team
had seven days worth of frustration to take out on Michigan.
Conversely, the Wolverines had just two days of rest following
their loss to Michigan State last Thursday, in which Michigan blew
a 17-point lead at home.
“We had just played Michigan State — a great game at
home, we should have won,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
said. “It is very difficult sometimes for a young program to
emotionally emerge the next game against a very good team like Penn
Michigan (4-9, 11-15) and Penn State were teams at opposing ends
of an emotional spectrum, and they played like opposites.
With the extra time off, Penn State was able to refuel before
its push towards a Big Ten Championship.
“I think it helped us refocus,” Penn State’s
Jess Strom said about the team’s time off. “We had more
time to think about what we were doing. I think we might have
wanted to play this game (last) Thursday.”
Michigan might have wished they could have played the Nittany
Lions next Thursday instead of yesterday.
The Wolverines have dropped six of their past seven game, and
are 2-4 on the road in the Big Ten, losing by an average of 22
“We’ve got some things to work out and we’ve
got to step it up,” sophomore Niki Reams said.
“It’s getting toward the end of the season. We need to
move on and let this game go.”
Burnett admitted the team struggled in practice after the loss
to Michigan State.
“There’s no question we were flat in a lot of ways
today,” Burnett said. “The last two days of practice
for us have been horrible.”
Freshman Kelly Helvey, who played a season-high 37 minutes
against the Spartans, admitted she was fatigued following that
“I had never played that many minutes before,”
Helvey said. “My legs were shot, but I came out (today) and
tried my hardest.”
Not many of the other Wolverines seemed to feel that the
backlash of the Michigan State game had anything to do with
yesterday’s less-than-stellar loss at Penn State.
“I think this game was completely different from the
(Michigan) State game,” senior center Jennifer Smith said.
“I thought we were really prepared for State. I
wouldn’t want to blame it on (emotion).”
Despite their slow start, the Wolverines did not just give
Penn State (11-1, 19-4) only out-scored Michigan by six in the
second half, and the Wolverines were trapping on the game’s
final possession. Michigan held the Big Ten’s leading scorer,
senior Kelly Mazzante, to 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
“We have three games left and hopefully we can turn it
around,” Smith said.