Michelle Sidor was frustrated.
As a four-star recruit coming out of high school, the then-freshman guard was disappointed. At the beginning of the year, it looked like she was going to be a major contributor to the Michigan women’s basketball team, playing anywhere from 15 to 22 minutes a game.
Once the middle of December came, and especially once Big Ten play began, though, she hit a snag. Her offensive production plummeted, and her playing time soon followed.
In total on the season, she came off the bench in 31 games and averaged 11.4 minutes per game. She knew she had to change something.
Now, as a sophomore, Sidor is working towards feeling like herself again by putting a lot of extra work in over the summer and in practice now that the season looms.
“I didn’t feel as quick as I normally did,” Sidor said. “I got in my head a lot. When I was home, I wanted to just focus on getting quicker, feeling good again, and eating right. Then just getting my mentality back. If I mess up, not put my head down. My freshman year was hard for me at times and I’m just using that to better myself.”
Sidor was ESPN’s No. 67 recruit in the class of 2019 and was named to the 2019 Naismith High School girls watch list for the nation’s best high school player. She was poised to be a major contributor for Michigan as a freshman.
But the transition from the high school game to the college game can be tough. Sidor found herself intimidated. She had to learn a whole new offense and defense while adjusting to college life. Even for someone who averaged nearly 30 points a game her senior year of high school, this presented a lot of challenges.
Now, a year later, she can already see improvements in both her game and her confidence.
“There was just a lot to take in,” Sidor said. “There’s just so much going on in my head. I feel like having a year under my belt definitely helped me. I can even feel it in practice just being aware of what to do defensively and offensively, being able to provide a spark when I come in.”
After the long offseason, it was vitally important for Sidor to get her conditioning back and improve upon it from last season when she thought she felt slow. It’s a simple concept, but for Sidor, just getting back up and down the court after an extended offseason is top of mind for her.
“(I do) a lot of conditioning after and before practice,” Sidor said. “Making sure I’m in shape, but also working on my weaknesses that I thought I could improve on last year and working on defensively, getting stuff before and after practice.”
It’s the emphasis on coming before practice and staying after that is going to help Sidor improve the most.
Offensively, Sidor is looking to improve her pull-up game, putting up shots before and after practice. She utilizes coaches and trainers to play defense on her and work to further improve her offensive game.
But the defensive side of the ball is where she hopes to improve most. Sidor has been putting in extra work in the weight room. She has specific exercises she does with resistance bands to improve her lateral movement.
With a better sense of how the team functions on the court, Sidor is more aware of what her weaknesses are and where she can improve, but she also wants to highlight her biggest strength — scoring. One of the brightest points of her game last season was her ability to shoot from the perimeter and knock down 3-pointers. Her best game last season came against Morgan State, when she scored 16 points and shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Her ability to stretch the court and get open on the outside will be critical for the Wolverines this season.
“I feel like having a year under my belt and kind of knowing what to expect has helped me a lot transitioning from freshman to sophomore year,” Sidor said. “I’m just more familiar with our offense and our defense. It’s not new to me anymore.”
After a lackluster freshman year, Sidor didn’t need any extra motivation. It all came from within.
“It was just kind of a struggle,” Sidor said. “I used to get in my head a lot. I was hard on myself.”
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