Kim Barnes Arico has coached the Michigan women’s basketball program for almost a decade.
She knows the responsibility of wearing the Michigan uniform. Every year the team loses seniors and welcomes a new group of freshmen. Recruiting the right personnel is vital to have a consistent culture in the locker room year to year.
Every player comes into Crisler Center knowing they are expected to represent Michigan to the best of her ability. With an impressive tenure as head coach, the identity and culture within the team has remained the same throughout Barnes Arico’s career in Ann Arbor.
“We say we want to be the hardest working team in America,” Barnes Arico said. “We want to do the intangible things.”
Those intangible things don’t appear on the stat sheet. Instead, it looks like Amy Dilk taking a charge from an opposing guard. It’s when junior guard Danielle Rauch scores a layup and immediately tracks back to play defense. And when Naz Hillmon catapults herself into the crowd to save a loose ball, she’s doing the intangible things too.
Even as players cycle in and out of Crisler, the culture remains the same. Every season new players prove themselves as Wolverines. Two players in particular, sophomore Michelle Sidor and Rauch, continued to do the intangible things in the offseason.
“(Sidor and Rauch) have improved since last offseason,” Barnes Arico said. “ They’ve made a commitment to improve. They are in the gym non-stop. They are doing everything they can to help our team be more successful.”
When new players step up, experienced players can’t slip. The likes of Dilk, junior forward Naz Hillmon, and junior transfer guard Leigha Brown will be key for Michigan as the season approaches. Their experience will help them lead the underclassmen.
With the season still in a state of uncertainty, a confident atmosphere around the team is vital.
“We try to talk to our players a lot about control what you can control,” Barnes Arico said. “But if we want to have an opportunity to play a season, we have to make good decisions and on our part that means a lot of the time, sacrifice.”
No one player knows what the upcoming season may hold. However, if they continue to do the right things every time they step into the weight room, the practice court, or the main stage in Crisler, they’ll be carrying on the culture that defines this team.
Fans will remember Hillmon scoring 30 points against Iowa or Dilk shooting 10-for-12 against Florida State. However, to keep the Michigan jersey coveted, the team must continue to do the intangible things.
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