Driving into the lane, senior forward Naz Hillmon kicked the ball out to senior guard Amy Dilk on the baseline. Catching, ready to shoot, Dilk fired up a 3-pointer, draining her first three since returning from a lower leg injury that she suffered in the first game of the season.
In the No. 8 Michigan women’s basketball team’s matchup with Rutgers, sound 3-point shooting buried the Scarlet Knights early, sustaining a lead the Wolverines would never relinquish.
The three from Dilk was just the beginning of a first half attack from behind the arc. In the subsequent offensive play, senior wing Leigha Brown knocked down a three from the top of the key. The back-to-back 3-pointers capped off a 12-0 run to end the first quarter.
Opening the second quarter, the Wolverines stayed hot from behind the arc. Junior guard Maddie Nolan buried a three from the wing to start the quarter. Nolan would go on to finish the game 4-for-4 from three, ending with 14 points.
“I would take Maddie up against anyone in the conference shooting-wise,” Brown said. “I think she’s one of our best shooters.”
Continuing the hot streak, senior forward Emily Kiser also flashed her extended range with a three from the corner. Brown knocked down another three late into the third quarter. In total, four players contributed from behind the 3-point line, tying for the most in a single game so far this season.
Michigan’s diverse 3-point attack throws a wrinkle into opposing teams’ defensive scheme. Keeping extra defenders out of the paint frees up Hillmon to work in the post and opens driving lanes for Wolverine guards.
“We have a lot of depth in the guard position,” Brown said. “And a lot of people that do different things, whether that’s shooters coming off the bench, Amy coming out trying to create just as good as anyone. Our ability and the versatility that we have with that position. … I think that it’s really important to have that. A lot of teams don’t really have six or seven guards deep that can play so that’s definitely huge.”
Coming out of the locker room, the relentless barrage quieted down in the second half. Michigan only had one 3-pointer the rest of the game. Yet there was no need for more.
As the clock ticked down on a game Rutgers had no hope of winning, the Wolverines’ second quarter storm of raining threes had already dashed the Scarlet Knights’ hopes. Michigan ended the game shooting 60% from three — and with a season high nine 3-pointers.
“Maddie Nolan is such an unbelievable shooter, and she made some great shots but Leigha Brown really made them tonight too,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “And it was great to see Emily Kiser make one as well.”
If Michigan can sustain this level of shooting, alongside Hillmon and Kiser in the post, the Wolverines could have a deep offensive rotation that keeps opposing teams on their toes. The combination will be needed as Michigan still looks ahead to the remainder of a strong conference schedule. As the No. 8 team in the country for the first time ever, the Wolverines have a new target on their back.
“We’re in a position where people are coming for us on any given night,” Barnes Arico said. “We’re seeing everybody’s best shot. So we have to bring our best game and we can’t have lapses.”