The Big Ten announced its selections for this season’s all-conference teams and individual awards Monday, and the Michigan women’s basketball team received multiple top honors. None higher than Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico, who earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year award.
Barnes Arico is the first Wolverine recipient of the award in the past 17 years, and she is the only coach in program history to be voted in by both Big Ten coaches and media members. She earns the nod after leading Michigan to 22 regular-season wins, tying the school record.
Under Barnes Arico, the Wolverines also spent three weeks ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and finished third in the conference — their fourth top-three finish ever. But, many individual players were crucial to Michigan’s successful season, and they were also recognized.
Junior guard Katelynn Flaherty was named to the All-Big Ten first team by both the media and the coaches, with a unanimous vote from the latter. Currently No. 2 on the Wolverines’ all-time scoring list, Flaherty averaged an impressive 20 points per game. She is the only Michigan player ever to achieve back-to-back 600-point seasons, and she ended the regular season ranked third in the conference in scoring.
Sophomore center Hallie Thome also received a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches, and a second-team slot by the media. As both an offensive and defensive powerhouse, Thome finished the regular season at No. 2 in blocked shots, No. 3 in field-goal percentage, No. 9 in rebounding and No. 15 in scoring in the conference. With a season average of 15.2 points per game, she needs just 40 points in postseason play to become the third sophomore in program history to reach 1,000 career points.
Freshman guard Kysre Gondrezick was selected to the All-Big Ten second team by both coaches and media, and was also named to the All-Freshman team. Gondrezick earned the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award six times this season, shattering the previous school record of two. She averaged 14.9 points per game, and currently sits at 446 points, just three shy of the top five on the Wolverines’ freshman scoring list.
Finally, senior guard Siera Thompson was Michigan’s sportsmanship honoree. The co-captain is fourth in points for the Wolverines, but leads the team in assists with 148.
Recognition from the Big Ten may prove to be a much-needed confidence booster going into postseason play. While Michigan had one of its best regular seasons in program history, it dropped three of its last four games, leaving its chances in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament hazy. Yet, with Barnes Arico at the helm, the Wolverines have the potential to finish strong.