At Tuesday’s practice — one of the Michigan women’s basketball team’s last before flying to Florida for its season opener — sophomore center Val Driscoll was going head-to-head in the post with junior forward Sam Arnold.

Arnold was holding strong, batting down every pass she could get her hands on. Michigan coach Kevin Borseth was screaming from the sideline, “Two hands Val, two hands!”

At the other end of the court, associate head coach Dawn Plitzuweit was running the guards through a pick-and-roll drill, all while screaming the same thing, “Two hands, guys, two hands!”

The next moment Driscoll grabbed the ball, faked up and went under the high-flying Arnold for the lay in — all with two hands.

“That’s an area of ours that’s a concern,” Borseth said. “We’ve been working on blocking out and driving by people, but most importantly we are looking to go after the ball with two hands.”

While going after the ball with two hands may seem like far too basic of a skill to be stressing at this point in the season, Borseth knows his team will need to be strong on all its fundamentals, even the most basic, if it hopes to compete against the Gators — who have their scaly eyes set on another 20-win season.

“(Florida’s) quick,” Borseth said. “I just got a scouting report from one of the teams that played them in the NIT. They put the letters ‘qq,’ which means quick quick, by the quick kids, and they got a bunch of those. They also have everybody back from last year, and they got a big kid in the middle who’s about 6-foot-4. Very typical of a southeast team, very athletic, quick.”

Playing a team of this caliber, this early in the season is a dramatic change for Michigan whose first opponents from the last few seasons included the likes of Akron, Alcorn State and Ball State. Borseth refuses to waver on his decision.

“You got to find out where you’re at at some point whether it’s the first game of the year or the third,” Borseth said. “A lot of scheduling comes down to looking for teams that can play you when there’s openings in your schedule, it just happened to be Florida this time. I told that to (Michigan men’s basketball coach John) Beilein, and he said, ‘You’re going to play Florida your first game? Are you kidding me?’ But this is the way to get road tested and ready for battle.”

Despite the hype, the Wolverines will be in similar standing this weekend in Gainesville, Fla. as they return four of their five starting players. Borseth was hesitant about naming who would be taking the fifth spot left by graduated guard Veronica Hicks, but he believes that it is going to be between freshman guard Nicole Elmblad, redshirt sophomore forward Kendra Seto, and junior forward Nya Jordan.

At first glance, Jordan would seem to be the most appropriate candidate due to her veteran status and the explosiveness she brings to the Michigan offense. But the knee injury she sustained last year continues as a black cloud hanging over the forward.

After a long stint in four-hour-a-day rehab over the summer, Jordan is confident in her ability to retake her starting spot.

“I’m looking to play the same role I did last year, just a little more intense,” Jordan said. “I’m not worried about my knee at all. Last year was tough, but now it’s all about trusting (my knee) and I think I’ve gotten to that point.”

The Wolverines will take on Florida in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 4:30 p.m. this Friday. It’s sure to be a bumpy ride in the bayou, so they better hold on tight — with both hands, of course.

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