For the Wolverines, last night’s matchup against No. 5 Ohio State could have been the game to silence their doubters, take the pressure off themselves and move past the demons that have haunted them in Big Ten play the past two years.

Instead, the Michigan women’s basketball team’s contest with the Buckeyes ended as another close loss, 58-56.

But the Wolverines kept it close throughout, making their biggest push at the start of the second half.

After the Buckeyes extended their five-point halftime lead to 10 on a pair of quick baskets, Michigan kept composed and began to chip away at its biggest deficit of the game.

And it didn’t take the Wolverines long to mount their comeback. A 19-2 run propelled Michigan to a seven-point lead with over 11 minutes remaining in the game. Sophomore forward Carmen Reynolds sparked the run with seven quick points, including her second triple of the game.

Reynolds led the Wolverines on their scoring flurry to take the lead, just as she did throughout the night, scoring a game-high 20 points. The sophomore also hit a number of crucial 3-pointers down the stretch as the game slowed down into the half court.

Much of Reynolds’ success came against Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender, the Buckeyes’ leading scorer and rebounder. Lavender, who has a significant height advantage over Reynolds, is widely thought to be in contention for national awards this season.

“I’m not used to being guarded by somebody that big,” Reynolds said. “So my focus had to change a little bit than what I’m used to.”

Reynolds couldn’t come through in the game’s waning moments.

After she took an out-of-bounds pass with less than 10 seconds remaining, she drove from the top of the key and tripped over an Ohio State player’s foot, turning the ball over. The turnover ultimately sealed the defeat for Michigan (2-6 Big Ten, 10-8 overall).

The game was close throughout despite the the fact that the Buckeyes attempted 10 more free throws. In the first half, foul trouble sidelined freshman guard Dayeesha Hollins and 6-foot-6 senior center Krista Phillips. This only compounded Ohio State’s noticeable size advantage. Despite this, Michigan out-rebounded the Buckeyes 43-39, including Phillips’ game-high 13.

In their previous matchup against Ohio State (8-0, 20-1), the Wolverines lost in yet another nail-biter, 59-56 in Columbus. Though both games resulted in losses, the closeness of defeat in both cases against the best team in the conference represents a major step forward for a team that was often blown out by teams of a similar caliber a year ago.

“We were one play away from putting the game into overtime or winning the game,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “We’re right there. We’re playing our tail off. That’s encouraging.”

The loss gives the team its fifth Big Ten loss in its last six chances, an especially disappointing statistic for the Wolverines after the team started the season 9-2 before conference play began.

“I just feel like we need to win,” freshman forward Nya Jordan said. “We should’ve won that game, we should’ve won every game we lost.”

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