Coming off the bench, senior guard Kalyn McPherson tried to breathe one last breath of life into the Michigan women’s basketball team’s chances yesterday against Wisconsin in Crisler Arena.
McPherson’s season-high eight points helped the Wolverines jump out on a 14-8 run, cutting a double-digit deficit to just four with four minutes to go.
But that’s as close as Michigan would come in its 73-61 loss – the Wolverines’ third straight defeat – in a stretch where the regular season begins to wane and the team’s NCAA Tournament hopes begin to fade.
Michigan’s play was especially porous in the first half, when they committed 16 turnovers.
“We were being just a bit too timid, and not being aggressive enough,” junior guard Veronica Hicks said. “I think with the ball, we just weren’t being strong or aggressive enough and it led to those turnovers.”
Taking care of the ball wasn’t the only problem. The Wolverines continued to struggle with their shot for the third straight contest, hitting just 37 percent against the top scoring defense in the Big Ten.
“We never had any good looks from the outside,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “Not any to speak of.”
And the Wolverines (6-10 Big Ten, 14-12 overall) weren’t proficient enough on the other end of the court to make up for their offensive woes.
The Badgers went 14-of-28 from the field in the first half and hit 46 percent of their shots overall.
“The first half we just had some miscommunications as far as screens went … and they were getting some offensive rebounds and put-backs,” Hicks said. “We flattened out in the first half, and we dug ourselves in the hole, and unfortunately that hole was insurmountable tonight.”
Although things never seemed to go its way throughout, the team picked up its play slightly in the second half. And despite Michigan’s inconsistency from behind the arc, the one thing it managed to do consistently was attack the rim and get to the free throw line, where the Wolverines shot 22-for-31.
But Wisconsin (9-7, 19-8) once again outdid Michigan, hitting 20 of its 25 free throw attempts, nailing 12-of-13 in the final 90 seconds to ice the game.
Despite the loss, the Wolverines were playing for more than just themselves.
Yesterday’s matchup marked the program’s second annual “Pink Zone” game in which the team wore pink jerseys and sported pink warmups in order to support Michigan’s Women’s Health Program.
“It’s a great thing for us to be able to do a service,” Hicks said. “We want to be more than basketball players and we want to make sure that everyone knows that we appreciate the position that we’re in. And we hope that any platform that we get put on we can represent, and we can do for others. Because we know in the end that’s what it’s all about.”