With its first chance to impress coach Kim Barnes Arico, the Michigan women’s basketball team’s stockpile of freshmen embraced the opportunity.
While Ferris State is probably the easiest game on the Wolverines’ schedule, seeing freshman guard Boogie Brozoski dish out half-court passes to fellow freshman center Hallie Thome in the pair’s first game together made Barnes Arico smile.
Brozoski and Thome, along with guard Nicole Munger, made up the trio of freshmen who saw the most action against the Bulldogs in Michigan’s 109-39 win Sunday afternoon.
Thome, a towering 6-foot-5 center, was the only freshman in the starting lineup and combined with Munger for 37 points. As a whole, the freshmen excelled, but it wasn’t just on the scoreboard where the new class was getting the job done. Each of them, especially Brozoski, was making all the right decisions.
Brozoski, who entered late in the first quarter, beamed with a quiet confidence, slotting no-look assists, jumping on the Bulldogs’ slower passes and diving across the floor at loose balls to give the Wolverines a “sparkplug,” as Barnes Arico has often described her.
And each time the Bulldogs scored, which wasn’t often, Michigan quickly found Brozoski already looking downcourt for the next pass or shot opportunity.
Though Brozoski, who will begin the season as the backup point guard, put up just eight points, she was creating opportunities for others, a strength of her game that will certainly pay off when the Wolverines encounter tougher opponents. Eight points was relatively low considering the final outcome, but she still was able to notch a handful of pull-up, off-the-dribble jumpers in her debut, going 4-for-8 from the field.
With a team-high seven assists, Brozoski didn’t need to get hot and drain deep 3-pointers, because she was displaying what Barnes Arico saw while recruiting her.
“I thought she distributed the ball exceptionally well,” Barnes Arico said. “That’s something we’ve talked about in the past couple weeks, is keeping her head up and finding her teammates and looking to make those passes. … She can bring that speed and change the tempo of the game for us, and she was able to show a little bit of that today.”
Getting the ball up the floor quickly has been part of the game plan this year, and if the link-up play between Brozoski and Thome was any indication of the future, it looks like Michigan will be able to outpace teams significantly better than it has in years past.
“She’s crazy,” Thome said. “(Brozoski) sees things that I don’t know how she sees. She sees the floor so well.”
Added Munger: “(Brozoski) knows the court and knows who’s behind her. It’s like she has eyes in the back of her head. (The pass to Thome) was one of the biggest moments because it established the transition better and opened up shots for the guards eventually, where (Ferris State) would have to close in on Hallie because they know (Brozoski) is going to make that pass to her.”
Boogie Brozoski’s eye-turning pass play dropped a several jaws in Crisler Center this afternoon, and it seems like that will be a recurring phenomenon all year long.