Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please.
Borseth Basketball is about to begin.
As the eighth coach in the 35-year history of Michigan women’s basketball, Kevin Borseth will lead the Wolverines into their season premiere against Akron Saturday at Crisler Arena.
With its confidence riding high after last week’s exhibition trouncing of Lake Superior State, Michigan is looking to win its season-opener for the second consecutive year.
After another week of practice, the Wolverines should show a better grasp of the offense. Borseth noted the improved ball movement between the Cleveland State scrimmage and last Saturday’s exhibition. Michigan also looks to patch up the defense and take more control of the post.
But much improvement should come just by being on the court.
“We’re not in shape yet,” Borseth said Saturday. “Game shape is different from practice shape. It’s really hard to explain that, but we’re going to get there. I don’t know when, but we’re going to get there. It’s going to take some time to do it.”
After an impressive victory of their own, the Zips arrive in Ann Arbor looking to ruin the party. Akron posted a 42-point win Saturday over Division-II Slippery Rock.
Akron’s win featured an 11-minute stretch in which it did not allow a field goal, dominant paint play and awful free-throw shooting, all similar to Michigan’s performance against the Lakers.
And while that shouldn’t make the Wolverines worry, sophomore Sarah Tokodi should.
After averaging 12.6 points as a freshman, Tokodi was named to the All Mid-American-Conference preseason team this year. The 5-foot-10 point guard converted from the shooting guard position seamlessly with powerful moves on the dribble and quick hands defensively.
Look for the Zips to play a well-rounded brand of basketball. In their victory against Slippery Rock, five Akron players tallied double-digit points.
Michigan holds the advantage in depth and experience. While the Wolverines added just freshman Veronica Hicks, the Zips bring five newcomers to their squad and return two starters. Akron also won’t have its full bench in tact since two players must sit out because of eligibility and NCAA transfer requirements.
The Maize and Blue should be relieved that former Zip Niki McCoy was one of the departing starters. Transferring to Bowling Green after her sophomore season, the guard averaged 16.6 points and 6.6 rebounds last season.
Within their respective conferences, Akron and Michigan hold similar positions as bottom feeders. The Zips are predicted to finish last in the Mid Atlantic Conference East Division. The media picked the Wolverines are picked to finish ninth in the Big Ten.
In 2006-07, both teams went 3-13 in their respective conference and ended the season with just 10 wins.
As optimistic as the Wolverines are about reversing their script in the Big Ten, they understand it will be some time until victories start pouring in.
“We’re still learning it right now,” senior Carly Benson said Saturday. “We’re still trying to figure each other out, trying to read each other on switches, things like that.”
Even if Michigan is trying to figure things out, history stands on its side. The Wolverines have won their past 12 home-openers. Michigan holds the edge in the all-time series over the Zips 2-0, but the two haven’t played each other since 1989.
It’s important for the Wolverines to get the basics down before it takes its act on the road. After Saturday’s contest, Michigan will play six road games before returning to Crisler Arena against Kentucky.
But enough talk. On with the show.