Early in the second half of the Michigan women’s basketball game yesterday against Wisconsin, a baseball-playing clam mascot named “Clammy Sosa” walked onto the court during a timeout. The clam walked over to a Wisconsin student assistant and promptly “ingested” him.
According to the official Clammy Sosa website, the mascot “slurps up and swallows everything in sight.”
The clam walked off the court when the timeout ended, the assistant still trapped inside of it with his feet dangling.
Like Clammy Sosa, Michigan swallowed the Badgers – figuratively, of course – winning the game 70-42 to snap their six-game losing streak.
Former players Katie Dierdorf and Krista Clement, both 2008 graduates, were in attendance, and they had no doubt the Wolverines would come out strong.
“We are completely confident they can pull it out tonight,” Clement said before the game. “They killed us a few years ago, so we have some bad memories of Wisconsin.”
Michigan didn’t disappoint.
Wisconsin (4-9 Big Ten, 14-10 overall) may have been at Crisler Arena physically, but it didn’t appear to mentally show up. The Badgers were held went scoreless in the first five minutes of the game while Michigan (3-8, 10-12) jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead.
The Wolverines found success by deviating from their normal game plan. Instead of desperately jacking up 3-pointers, they drove into the lane and scored inside. Senior Carly Benson scored half of Michigan’s first 14 points and found her touch inside on two nifty left-handed hooks.
The first half ended with Michigan holding a commanding 16-point lead, thanks in part to a 58-percent shooting percentage and 11 Wisconsin fouls.
“They’re hard to score on inside,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “We put a great deal of emphasis on getting it in there and being strong with the ball.”
The Wolverines didn’t let up in the second half, drawing five Wisconsin fouls in the first seven minutes. Senior Melinda Queen led the charge in the paint and finished with 11 points. She was one of five Wolverines to score in double digits.
“That’s the ticket,” Borseth said. “If you’ve got five players in double figures in every game, then you’re good.”
Sophomore Veronica Hicks led the way with 15 points, but Michigan made a point of spreading the wealth.
The Wolverines hadn’t scored 70 points since their second game of the season, in a 70-60 win on Nov. 15 against Kentucky. After watching the offense stall out in so many of its close losses, this was exactly the kind of offensive performance Michigan needed to get back on track.
Everything seemed to go right for the Wolverines yesterday. Hicks hit two 3-pointers that seemed to bounce around on the rim forever before falling through.
“I like to think of it as shooter’s touch,” Hicks joked. “As long as it goes in, I don’t care if it bounces around 20 times, that’s good enough for me.”