Sometimes, less is more.
The Michigan women’s basketball team committed 25 turnovers in a 66-53 loss at Minnesota last night.
The Wolverines entered the game last in the Big Ten with 19.2 turnovers per game.
But it wasn’t always that bad. Michigan averaged slightly more than 13.3 turnovers per game over a four-game stretch from Dec. 31 to Jan. 11.
Last night’s 25 giveaways, well above Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett’s goal of 15 per game, were the climax of a fairly steady climb in the category since the aforementioned four-game span.
Burnett said she was impressed with her team’s offense – that is, when it wasn’t turning the ball over.
“We were getting really good looks at the basket,” Burnett said. “I thought our kids were staying very confident. In the midst of so many turnovers, that’s a pretty tough thing to do.”
Michigan (3-12 Big Ten, 10-18 overall) got production from several players in the first half. Twelve of the 13 dressed players saw action (the exception was sophomore forward Ashley Jones) and seven scored.
But once again, less would have been more.
The even playing time was due to foul trouble. Eight players picked up first-half fouls (six players had two). Michigan’s carelessness sent the Gophers to the charity stripe 17 times.
Minnesota, the Big Ten leader in free throw attempts, made just seven of its first 13 freebies. But the Gophers eventually found their groove, making their last four as part of a 15-6 run to close the half, taking a 38-27 halftime lead that negated a rare strong start by the Wolverines.
Michigan stormed out to a 7-2 to lead before Minnesota scored the next nine points. The Wolverines managed to hang around until the 15-6 run.
Michigan sophomore forward Stephany Skrba opened the second half with an old-fashioned three-point play, and the Wolverines cut the Gopher lead to eight with about 14:40 left.
Minnesota (7-8, 15-13) answered with a basket, then stole the inbounds pass and scored again. With the Gophers holding a 14-point lead shortly thereafter, Michigan went on a 6-0 run to get within eight. Minnesota once again answered the Wolverine spurt with a 6-0 run of its own, and Michigan never got back in the game.
Michigan won its first three road games this season, but it has now lost its last eight away from Crisler Arena. The Wolverines haven’t won a Big Ten road game in more than three years.
And, unfortunately for the Maize and Blue, less road wins aren’t more.