As sophomore guard Katelynn Flaherty continues to break Michigan women’s basketball records, she is receiving historic accolades as well. Wednesday morning, Flaherty was named a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Region 4 Team.
Flaherty is the second Wolverine to ever receive the honor, joining Stacey Thomas, who was a member of the WCBA team in 2000. Along with being named to an All-Region team, Flaherty is also eligible to be an All-American. Though she is ninth in the nation in scoring with 22.4 points per game — the highest-ever average at Michigan — she will likely not be named to the exclusive 10-member WCBA All-American class, and instead be awarded with honorable mention.
Also announced on Wednesday were the Academic All-Big Ten selections, which Flaherty, sophomore forward Jillian Dunston, senior guards Madison Ristovski and Halle Wangler, and junior guard Danielle Williams were rewarded. This is the largest number of Wolverines to be named to the team since coach Kim Barnes Arico took the helm in 2012.
Already a unanimous All-Big Ten player, Flaherty is a big reason why the Wolverines kept their 20-win season streak alive, earning their fifth straight with a win Tuesday. She leads the team in 3-pointers with 101 — the second Michigan player to ever surpass 100 in a season — and has racked up double-digit scoring in all but one contest this season. On the way to this feat, she surpassed 700 points on the season, now standing with 738. She could become the first player in program history to break the 800-point mark if Michigan plays the remaining three games of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament while Flaherty averages 20.7 points per game. It’ll be difficult to top, but with Flaherty’s scoring prowess, it’s doable.
In the three games the Wolverines have played so far in the WNIT, Flaherty has averaged 20.3 points, nearly two points off pace of her regular season average, but enough to help Michigan bury its competition.
However, Flaherty hasn’t just been the catalyst on offense. She’s also been one of the Wolverines’ defensive leaders this postseason. In two WNIT games, Flaherty led the team in steals, snatching at least two passes a game. Against San Diego, Michigan placed an emphasis on defense early to allow just nine points in the first quarter. After allowing Bucknell to keep the game close for three quarters, the Wolverines separated from the Toreros early. And just like Barnes Arico wants it, the defense led to offense as Michigan beat San Diego by 27 at the final buzzer.
“We just wanted to get up and press and force turnovers,” Flaherty said. “We came out with a lot of energy, and at times, we’ve struggled with that this season.”
Michigan will need Flaherty to keep up her stellar play to continue to advance in the WNIT. And the Wolverines have no reason to expect a cold streak because Flaherty has been consistent all season. Even in first halves where Flaherty can’t quite gather a rhythm, she comes back after the halftime break, taking charge without losing confidence in her ability to shoot.
That confidence has been the difference that has made Flaherty worthy of being an honorable mention All-American selection. Last season, she was the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year. This season, she has taken her game to another level to become one of the most elite players in the country.