While tonight”s preseason game against RTU Klondaika (Latvia) may not show up on the No. 17 Michigan women”s basketball team”s statistics at the end of the year, the team does not consider this game unimportant. After the Wolverines earned their first ever preseason top 25 bid, they will do whatever it takes to remain there.
“This is like a quiz,” coach Sue Guevara said. ” The test is next Friday.”
The matchup tonight will be a fast paced and exciting game. Guevara characterized the Latvian squad as playing “typical” European basketball.
The European run and gun style of play is characterized by a lot of give-and-goes and back door cuts. The style also features three point shooting by the frontcourt players, which can be a problem if the opposing post players cannot move out and defend the perimeter.
The Wolverines play a fast paced style of basketball as well.
“We really like to get the ball up the floor and get some easy shots, or get the ball up the floor and hit our post players, and I think we do that well,” Guevara said.
The key to this style, though, is that a team must have post players who can run the floor. The Wolverines have one of the most athletic frontcourts in the conference, with post players who can get up the court to take advantage of the transition offense.
From a coaching standpoint, the game will also help the staff decide on a starting five line and get a feel for how the players are working together. Starting lineups were not finalized until late this week and it is still unclear who will work best together as a unit on the floor in game situations.
Heather Oesterle, who injured her knee at the end of last season, has seen limited action in practice and it is uncertain how long she will be able to play in the game.
“You have to watch her (Oesterle) very close,” Guevara said. “You don”t want her to get too tired. We”ll play her by ear and see how she feels.”
Also, local star freshman Tabitha Pool will play tonight as she rates the health of her knee at 95 percent.