The Michigan women”s basketball team gained some confidence in the second half of last Sunday”s win over Indiana, but this Sunday the Wolverines won”t have the intangibles going for them.

The Wolverines (2-6 Big Ten, 12-7 overall) will go into Champaign to face Illinois (5-3 , 12-6), a team full of confidence and experience.

“They have much, much better chemistry (than last year),” Guevara said. “They lost their starting backcourt, and they still have 15 or 16 assists a game.”

Illinois is looking to pack more than 10,000 fans into Assembly Hall in a rematch of both teams” Big Ten opener. Michigan shot a team record 66.7 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures, but committed 18 turnovers in an 85-81 Illinois win.

The Illini, after finishing just one game above .500 last season, are tied for third in the Big Ten and are succeeding with a core group of players that play well with each other. In the first game between the two teams, Illinois had four players play more than 35 minutes and score in double figures while dishing off 22 assists and committing just nine turnovers.

In order to come out of the Land of Lincoln with a victory, Michigan is going to need big games from LeeAnn Bies and Jennifer Smith. The Illini are last in the Big Ten in rebounding, but against the Wolverines they pulled down 15 offensive boards while holding the Wolverines to just four. Bies, after having a couple of off-games, scored 17 against the Hoosiers in the second half. Smith had an off day, posting just four points and three rebounds.

Michigan is also going to need to maintain the defensive intensity they displayed in the second half of the win against Indiana. The Wolverines were playing lackluster defense throughout the Big Ten season until they showed some life and held Indiana to less than 30 percent shooting. To continue its momentum, Michigan will play the same 3-2 zone it used against Indiana while also mixing occasional man-to-man sets.

“Our defense has to be different,” Guevara said. “We can”t give up 85 points and expect to win.”

With this game kicking off the second half of the Big Ten season, Michigan needs a victory against a quality opponent to put it back on track. To have a shot at postseason play, Michigan will probably need to win at least six of its final eight games.

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