The Michigan women’s basketball team won’t play a game inside Crisler Arena until the last Friday of the semester. The Wolverines’ next six games are on the road against opponents from a variety of conferences, including the Big East, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12.

After opening up with a 67-55 victory against Mid-American Conference-foe Akron, Michigan (1-0) must focus on Big East opponent Cincinnati (1-1).

The Bearcats were 12-4 at home last year and likely won’t top that mark this season with a first-year head coach and second-team All-Big East guard Treasure Humphries’ graduation. Shelly Bellman (10.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg in ’06-’07) leads a Cincinnati squad that returns just three of six players who started at least 19 games last year.

Because of that, Michigan doesn’t have much to work with for preparation.

“New coach, no videotape,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “We don’t know a lot about them other than the coach was at Lafayette last year, and maybe some of the stuff he did there will carry over to this game.”

Michigan hopes it can work out some kinks before returning to Ann Arbor.

Including their exhibition victory against Lake Superior State, the Wolverines have looked tentative at times, mainly resulting in costly turnovers or players picking up their dribble at inopportune times.

Whether that stems from a lack of confidence or just the coaching transition remains to be seen, but it’s something Michigan must change.

But if you ask Borseth what the team’s main focus needs to be on this road trip, it will have something to do with stopping dribble penetration.

When commenting on Akron breaking down the Wolverines’ defense, Borseth said Akron was able to go down the middle “every” time, repeating the word “every” 11 times. It’s obvious the first-year head coach is expecting a much better defensive effort against Cincinnati.

The Wolverines will look to Stephany Skrba to step up on the defensive end. Skrba’s lengthy frame makes her a difficult defender to go against and a deterrent for the Bearcats’ guards driving down the lane.

By the time Michigan comes back home Dec. 8, it will be clear what kind of team Borseth has taken charge of.

The next 20 days will show whether it’s good or bad.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.