After yesterday’s game, seniors LeeAnn Bies and Raina Goodlow were honored as their respective careers came to an end. But after the ceremony, it was just another game for the two co-captains.
“Coming into today, it felt just like a normal game,” Goodlow said. “After being honored, it felt like the last home game, and I was grateful for all the support.”
Similar to recent games, Bies and Goodlow saw limited playing time – a combined 21 minutes – but were still important to the team’s overall morale and support from the bench. As a result, the other players tried their best to win one last game for their captains.
“I think we played hard for the seniors,” sophomore Tabitha Pool said. “We were working really hard today and hustling (for them).”
Both Bies and Goodlow have played 118 career games for the Maize and Blue, one shy of the Michigan career record. But Goodlow’s career has covered five seasons, as she redshirtted last season due to a staph infection. After struggling to overcome the infection and persevering to return for a fifth season, it was that much more difficult to see the last home game.
“I’m just happy to be playing,” Goodlow said. “Last year could have been a fatal infection, and I’m proud I was able to come back.”
Despite all the emotion before the game, both Bies and Goodlow feel that the season is far from over with the Big Ten Tournament beginning later this week.
“Today was bittersweet because it was the last home game, but we still have the Big Ten Tournament to deal with,” said Bies. “We still have work to do.”
Long road to the top: For the first time since the Big Ten instituted its postseason tournament in 1995, Michigan will begin the Big Ten Tournament from the 11th and last seed. In the inaugural tournament, the Wolverines lost to sixth-seeded Michigan State. This year, they will face Illinois on Thursday in Indianapolis.
Although Michigan and Northwestern both finished the regular season with 3-13 conference records, the Wildcats won the tie-breaker for the 10th seed. The Big Ten looks at the highest seeded conference opponent each team defeated – Michigan defeated ninth-placed Indiana while Northwestern beat fifth-placed Michigan State.
The last and only time the two teams faced off this season, Illinois forced 29 Michigan turnovers, a season-high, in an 89-57 loss.
Tough trap: Michigan has relied heavily on its corps of freshman guards, and they have often produced some costly turnovers. In yesterday’s game, Minnesota came out early in the first half with a stifling half-court trap. The resulting turnovers led to just four Michigan points over an 11-minute span in the first half.
“(The trap) rattled us,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “We didn’t come to the ball to help our guards.”
Michigan rotated through four different freshmen guards as the Wolverines coughed up the ball 12 times -eight by freshmen, and they were held to just eight points combined.