Senior guard Danielle Rauch caught the ball behind the 3-point arc. Leading Oregon State by five — with just two minutes left to play — she pulled up from deep. The shot clanked off the rim, but senior forward Naz Hillmon managed to grab the offensive rebound. With another chance to score, the ball was swung to Maddie Nolan — who stood waiting at the 3-point arc. She side-stepped to lose her defender and splashed a three to expand the Wolverines lead.
Nolan’s three sealed the result, but it was a holistic effort that won the game for Michigan. After scoring just 40 points through the first three quarters, the Wolverines posted 21 in the fourth quarter. This explosion pushed them past Oregon State 61-52 in the Daytona Beach Invitational.
Michigan didn’t start the quarter strong — missing its first three field goal attempts. Hillmon made a pair of free throws two and half minutes into the quarter to open the scoring for both teams, though. The next possession, senior guard Leigha Brown spun past her defender on the drive and floated a layup over the Beaver’s Kennedy Brown. She made it, and got things rolling for the Wolverine offense.
Brown, in her first game back from injury, led Michigan’s fourth quarter charge. She scored 10 points in the fourth quarter while making four of her five field goal attempts. Brown was 0-for-6 from the field through the first three quarters, but she persevered and found a way to turn her performance around.
The next possession — while playing defense — Brown stole the ball from Oregon State’s Taya Corosdale. After moving the ball on the offensive end, Brown was found open from deep and she sank the three to cap off a 7-0 run to start the quarter for the Wolverines.
Hillmon was also a major contributor in the fourth quarter. She finished the quarter with four points and six rebounds, including a made layup that put the Wolverines up seven halfway through the quarter.
“We tried to get her on an open side a little bit more, where there wouldn’t be a defender to be able to come in and help. We ran that a little bit late with Naz and Leigha in some two man action,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “And I thought that Leigha made some plays too.”
Oregon State managed to work its way back, and only trailed by four with just under four minutes to play. Michigan’s lead was dwindling and the momentum was starting to shift, harking back to the way the third quarter ended. The Beaver’s had made their last two shots and narrowed the gap.
It was Rauch that swung the momentum back in Wolverines favor, though. Senior forward Emily Kiser found Rauch open at the 3-point arc, and she made it to put Michigan up seven again.
“Danielle and Maddie both made big threes down the stretch,” Barnes Arico said. “That really helped as well.”
Oregon State fought back yet again, making a layup and a pair of jump shots in response to the late threes from Rauch and Nolan.
It was Brown that ultimately sealed the win for the Wolverines. She swiped the ball from Oregon State’s Talia Von Oelhoffen and took the ball coast-to-coast, making a left-handed layup while getting fouled. Brown made her free throw and put Michigan up nine with 25 seconds left — effectively ending the game.