Freshman Dayeesha Hollins sported a new hair cut for the Thursday night rematch between the Michigan women’s basketball team and a familiar foe; Iowa. In fact, the entire Wolverine squad rocked a new look in Crisler Arena, one that fans have not seen in a while — a win.
Michigan started off with a strong lead — something they have failed to do in their last three Big Ten games. The Wolverines went into halftime with a comfortable 31-13 advantage. Michigan had the lead for the entire first half.
But the 63-43 win didn’t come easy for the Wolverines. The Hawkeyes rallied in the second half. Iowa scored more points in the first five minutes of the second half than the 13 total they scored in the first half.
“This is a really great win,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “I don’t know if it’s a relief, but we are here just trying to win games. They were banged up, they have four of their top kids out. When those kids get back in the lineup they’re going to be good.”
Earlier in the season Michigan was expected to have many offensive woes because of their six-freshmen roster. But that hasn’t been the case. Wolverine coach Kevin Borseth has been working all of the younger players into the game.
Sophomore Carmen Reynolds led Michigan in the first half. The forward hit eight points along with junior guard Veronica Hicks who had eight of her own.
“I feel more confident day after day,” Reynolds said. “My teammates set good picks and then give me the ball on the perimeter. I make great shots because I have great opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Hollins racked in 10 pointes of her own. The freshmen all together scored 26 points even though only Hollins and guard Jenny Ryan started.
“We knew that we needed to take it at them and that we didn’t want them to set up their zone,” Hicks said. “I just pushed it up the court as fast as I could. We were playing kind of sloppy, but we needed to be aggressive.”
But neither the offense nor the freshmen single handedly won this game for the Wolverines.
Michigan had 46 rebounds. Hicks had a season high 18 of her own. Iowa only recorded 37.
“Let me tell you,” Hicks said. “I have never done that before, I’;ve gotten double-digit rebounds but never near 20. Maybe Angels were lifting me to the ball, or they’ve got a heel in my shoe.”
The Wolverines knew before the game how critical it was to ensure that the Hawkeyes didn’t get second chances. Borseth made sure they knew it.
“I knew that going into this conference this game will be good for us to break our streak,” Hicks said. “Especially when you were supposed to finish at the bottom of the conference and you beat a team twice.”
Michigan will head the University of Wisconsin to take on the Badgers for more Big Ten play this Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
“There are going to be ups and downs in basketball,” Borseth said. “But that’s kind of how it goes.”