In its first two games, the Michigan women’s basketball team has struggled to rebound the ball but has escaped with two victories by outshooting its opponents.

In the Wolverines’ first road game of the season against Pittsburgh, the script completely flipped.

Led by senior forward Cyesha Goree’s 16 boards, Michigan dominated the glass, outrebounding the Panthers, 45-29.

But the offensive battle was a different story.

Despite having four players in double figures for the third-straight game, the Wolverines (2-1) shot just 38 percent from the field. Pittsburgh (2-1), on the other hand, knocked down over half of its shots — including 13 of 26 3-pointers — en route to an 85-64 victory.

“(The Panthers) definitely shot the ball really well,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “Every time we did make a run, it was like they hit a dagger three, and then easily followed it up with another three.”

Though they won the war in the paint, frequent turnovers prevented the Wolverines from getting momentum, save for a 9-0 burst to start the second half. Freshman guard Katelynn Flaherty had six turnovers despite her 13 points, and Goree had five before she turned up her game in the second half. Overall, the Panthers picked up 31 points off of turnovers.

“If we took care of the ball a little more, coming in and winning the rebounding battle, it would’ve been a different ballgame,” Goree said. “(Progress) comes from taking care of the ball, making smart decisions, being disciplined.”

Pittsburgh’s offense came out strong from the get-go, and Michigan simply couldn’t match its energy level. A quick 17-7 opening run left the Wolverines battling a double-digit deficit for the majority of the game. Even Michigan’s second-half surge was snuffed out when the Panthers responded with a 15-4 stretch.

On the other side of the court, Pittsburgh did most of its damage from beyond the arc. Point guard Brianna Kiesel led the team with 27 points and six 3-pointers, while guard Fred Potvin came off the bench to deliver five 3-point daggers of her own, burying the Wolverines in the second half.

The Wolverines’ shooters went uncharacteristically cold, which prevented them from getting back into the game. Sophomore guard Siera Thompson went 0-f0r-6 from the floor, snapping her record streak of 36 straight games with a 3-pointer to start her career. Flaherty threw up 17 shots, but only five found the net.

Senior guard Shannon Smith scored a team-high 17 points, and junior Madison Ristovski added 11 off the bench, but neither could energize an offense that came out flat from the start.

“I hope that’s something our younger kids will really see,” Barnes Arico said. “You can’t go on the road (and win easily), especially when a team is coming off a loss and not shooting the ball very well and playing at home. (The Panthers) had their crowd, they had their energy and they really came out of the gates. They had a lot of confidence.”

As the Wolverines head back home to face Western Michigan on Sunday, Barnes Arico said they will look to increase their effort and intensity to avoid a repeat performance.

“It’s a wake-up call, not only for the freshman but for us seniors as well,” Goree said. “We’ve got to put everything together or it’s going to be a long ride.”

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