They conquered giants — Wisconsin’s and their
In its most solid all-around effort of the season, the Michigan
women’s basketball team defeated Wisconsin 75-55 at Crisler
Arena on Sunday. The Badgers boasted a front-court that included
the sister act of 6-foot-7 Lello and 6-foot-3 Ebba Gebisa, as well
as 6-foot-5 senior Emily Ashbaugh — all of whom had the task
of containing Michigan’s 6-foot-4 Jennifer Smith and 6-foot-1
junior Tabitha Pool.
But in the land of the giants, Smith and Pool showed that size
The duo outscored Wisconsin’s big front-court trio by a
whopping 47-7, using a defensive trap to limit the Badgers’
Forty-seven to seven.
With the victory, Michigan (4-7 Big Ten, 11-13 overall) took
care of its own giant — a four-game losing streak.
“We knew we had to stop their post play, especially with
them starting their two (centers),” Michigan coach Cheryl
Burnett said. “That (1-3-1 trap) was one way we thought we
could keep it out of their post’s hands.”
The other way: attacking Ashbaugh on offense. The senior played
only 19 minutes because of early foul trouble.
“They went at our post,” Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone
said. “What happened to us is what I wanted to happened to
them. I wanted Jen Smith on the bench with foul trouble.”
Fighting off a double-team all game, Smith was able to beat the
pressure because of effective interior passing by her
“I hope (Smith) takes her perimeter (players) out to
dinner once in a while, because they get her the ball,” Stone
said. “She puts herself in a position where she can make an
When she wasn’t feeding the ball to Smith in the paint,
Michigan guard Sierra Hauser-Price capitalized on easy transition
lay-ups — which accounted for all of her eight points.
Hauser-Price’s first bucket ignited a 10-0 Michigan run early
in the first half, giving the Wolverines a 17-10 lead.
Leading 33-23 at halftime, Michigan fought off its usual
defensive lapse to start the second half. The Wolverines never led
by less than nine points for the rest of the game, holding the
Badgers (2-9, 8-13) under 35-percent shooting from the field.
By pressuring the Badgers’ guards in the backcourt,
Michigan was able to stifle Wisconsin’s off-guard help. This
resulted in 18 Wisconsin turnovers.
“Everybody is buying into Cheryl’s (defensive)
philosophy,” said Stone. “They were aggressive in it
and caused us to turn the ball over at opportune times.”
The Wolverines snapped their four-game losing steak against one
of the weaker teams in the Big Ten, a building block for their
upcoming battle against Michigan State.
“Each kid played extremely well at one of the highest
levels of their ability,” Burnett said. “It’s
wonderful to win a game that is not down to the wire to build
Michigan won its fourth Big Ten game of the season, eclipsing
last season’s total of three. The Wolverines have five Big
Ten games left to play.
“We’ll definitely enjoy practice more
Tuesday,” Michigan guard Stephanie Gandy joked.