It appeared as if the Michigan women’s basketball team was going to be down by one heading into halftime. With the clock winding down, Minnesota had one more opportunity to score. Golden Gopher guard Jasmine Powell hit a deep 3-pointer to stun the crowd, giving Minnesota a four point lead heading into the locker room instead.
No. 13 Michigan hosted the Gophers on Sunday; the Wolverines mounted a second half comeback as a result of defensive adjustments and altering offensive matchups, ultimately winning 73-61.
Michigan held the lead to start the second quarter, 17-11 and appeared as if Michigan was going to sweep away an easy victory.
But this was short lived and the second quarter saw a dominant Minnesota. A 13-4 run from Minnesota to start the quarter and the 3-pointer from Powell at the buzzer gave Minnesota a 33-29 lead at the half.
“We didn’t do the same things we did in the first quarter,” senior forward Naz Hillmon said. “We didn’t take away some of the things they wanted to do, getting the ball out of their most dominant players’ hands.”
Michigan flipped the script at halftime, coming out with newfound energy. The Wolverines started the quarter on a 15-5 run, led by Hillmon with seven points.
“I felt like everyone’s energy really changed,” freshman guard Laila Phelia said. “(Minnesota was) fighting to win, and that really got us going.”
Hillmon, who struggled in the first half, scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half on 58.3% shooting from the field. Halfway through the third quarter, she got past two defenders inside the paint for a reverse lay-up that allowed the Wolverines to regain the lead.
Michigan’s strong offense was a result of its stingy defense, which only allowed two field goals in the final five minutes of the third quarter. The Gophers were held to 36.4% shooting as Michigan forced seven turnovers in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter with a seven point lead, Michigan hit its first 3-pointers of the game, both by junior guard Maddie Nolan. Despite shooting 2-for-11 from behind the arc, the Wolverines ’ two threes came when it mattered the most, helping Michigan to a sixteen point lead with under three minutes left in the game.
On the defensive end, the Wolverines did a better job containing Powell, who notched 13 points in the first half, but just six in the second. The success came as a result of halftime adjustments for senior forward Emily Kiser and Phelia doubling Powell off the screen.
“I thought we let number four (Powell) get really comfortable,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “A key to us in the second half was not allowing her to get so comfortable. Emily Kiser did a great job of doubling her, and we did that with all of their guards to really make them feel uncomfortable.”
Truly, the Wolverines halftime adjustments led them to victory.
“We’re not losing on our home floor,” Phelia said.