There comes a point in every season when a team must lay everything on the line. For the Michigan women’s basketball team, that moment will be this Thursday, when the Wolverines square off against Northwestern.

The opponent has very little bearing on the significance of this game — there are larger forces at work. More important is that this will be Michigan’s first time battling back from two consecutive losses.

The Wolverines, known for their resilience and slump-resistance, were served a pair of losses this past week courtesy of No. 18 Penn State and unranked Wisconsin. While some are calling this a sink-or-swim game for Michigan, the players remain hopeful and determined to stop the slide.

“It’s extra motivating for us to win coming off of two losses,” said senior guard Carmen Reynolds. “We tend to bounce back quick, and so we really need to get it done tomorrow on the court.”

Though the Wolverines aren’t overly concerned with records, Michigan coach Kevin Borseth understands that winning Thursday’s game is essential for keeping his team’s postseason hopes alive. A loss here could really damage its chances as time runs out on this waning season.

“We are looking to get back on track and get to the NCAA Tournament,” Borseth said. “Being successful in games is what we’re all looking to do, obviously. Our wins and losses are behind us now though, and right now all we can do is do whatever it takes to get back on the winning track.”

The Wildcats are 3-6 in Big Ten play, but the last time they played the Wolverines, Michigan squeaked by with a 58-48 win after a long defensive battle on both sides of the court. Though the Wolverines’ defense has seen major improvements as the season has progressed, Michigan has struggled to put points on the board in its last few games. A strong defensive team like Northwestern may prove the Wolverines’ undoing.

“We just got to put the darn basketball in the hoop,” Reynolds said. “We always rely on our defense. And although defense wins games, we have to find ways to translate into offense, to get some shots in rhythm and to not force anything.”

The other foreseeable problem for Michigan will be dealing with the 6-foot-5 Dannielle Diamant, who has shown herself to be a handful on both sides of the court. It’s assumed that junior center Rachel Sheffer will be matched up on Diamant in the game on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how Sheffer, the Wolverines’ leading scorer over the last two weeks, will handle the pressure from a larger and equally high-scoring post player.

“Diamant’s size is definitely going to be a factor,” Borseth said. “I mean any time you have a 6-foot-5 kid and you put her in the right spot at the right time, there’s not a whole lot you can do. She’s very talented. We got to make sure we’re aware of her, that we know where she is every possession and that we stop her because the ball’s going to be going to her a lot this next game.”

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