If the Michigan women’s basketball team had trouble with Penn State two weeks ago, it wasn’t any better Thursday night.
The Wolverines (5-3 Big Ten, 16-5 overall) shot uncharacteristically poorly in the first half, digging themselves into a deficit they couldn’t overcome. It didn’t help that the 18th-ranked Lady Lions (6-2, 16-4) shot 56 percent on the night.
Michigan tallied a season-low 19 points in the first half on 24-percent shooting. None of the starters found rhythm early, and a 13-0 run by Penn State in the first half seemed to seal the deal. The Lady Lions went on to win, 77-56.
“They’re a good team,” said junior forward Sam Arnold. “They were getting great shots as well. We were trying to switch up our defense and throw different things at them based on who’s in our lineup and cater to the players out on the court.”
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, no matter what defense they threw at it, Penn State was going to make its shots.
The Lady Lions were yet again fueled by sophomore Maggie Lucas, who led all scorers with 23 points. Juniors Alex Bentley and Nikki Greene also put up double figures, scoring 18 and 13 points, respectively. The trio was unstoppable, combining for 23-for-33 shooting.
But it didn’t work out as well for the Wolverines, who made only eight shots in the first half and weren’t able to improve much in the second half. The Wolverines shot 34 percent overall and 15 percent from behind the arc. Arnold led the Wolverines with 12 points, and junior guard Nya Jordan and senior guard Courtney Boylan each had 10 points.
Though it was an off night for Michigan, the team believes it was getting the right looks.
“We were getting a lot of open looks, and it was just a matter of knocking them down,” Arnold said. “They were making us move a lot faster and we just needed to slow down and take a good shot.”
Added Jordan: “I think the game started off fast, so a lot of us were getting good shots. We were shooting so fast because their defense was really fast-paced. We needed to take more time and focus on the shot.”
But the Wolverines couldn’t execute that in Thursday’s game. Every missed shot turned into a defensive rebound and an opportunity for Penn State to extend its lead. The lead was stretched to 31 at one point, and it didn’t help that Michigan went one-and-done almost every trip down the court.
Though the Wolverines had an off night, Borseth won’t detract from Penn State’s stellar play.
“They are by and far the most talented team in our conference,” Borseth said. “They’re the team in our conference that can go and put a dent in the NCAA tournament because they have all the pieces in the puzzle. (They’re) big, fast, strong, athletic, and (have the) shooters and skills. They’re a really good team.”
Note: Senior guard Carmen Reynolds tied the program record for career 3-pointers tonight when she hit the shot early in the second half. She now sits atop the list with Alayne Ingram (’99-’02) with 182 career 3-pointers.