With the clock winding down in the final quarter, senior guard Leigha Brown came up with a steal and an and-one layup to seal the game for the Michigan women’s basketball team (6-0 overall).
The Wolverines opened play in the Daytona Beach Invitational with a hard-fought victory against No. 16 Oregon State (3-1) on Friday night, winning 61-52.
In the first quarter, Oregon State started the game up 4-0 in the first minute of the game. Their large size in terms of height and length allowed them to overwhelm in the paint. But the Wolverines responded with a 8-0 run, with senior forward Naz Hillmon scoring six of Michigan’s eight points.
Michigan later went on a 9-3 run to end the first quarter, only allowing one field goal in the final four minutes of the quarter. The Beavers struggled shooting in the first quarter, as the Wolverines held them to shooting 5-for-17 from the field.
Both teams would go to shoot for a combined 0-for-9 from the field in the second quarter, where they failed to score a field goal in a near five minute stretch. Each team would shoot 3-for-4 from the free throw line during that five minute scoreless field goal stretch.
The scoreless streak would end as the Beavers’ guard Tea Adams would bank a layup in the paint to cut it to a one point game. Michigan would respond with a 9-2 run to end the first half. The Wolverines played strong defense, holding the Beavers to 3-for-10 from the field in the second quarter and not allowing a field goal in the final 4:04 of the second quarter.
After halftime, Michigan’s offense struggled, mirroring Oregon State’s performance. Four of Michigan’s nine points from the third came from the three throw line.
“We knew we were going to have our work cut out for us just because of their size alone,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said after the game. “It was definitely super physical.”
After shooting 1-for-3 from the arc as a team in the first half, the Wolverines would respond with an early 3-pointer from Senior forward Danielle Rauch to make it a 36-25 lead early in the third quarter.
The Wolverines would start the third quarter shooting 2-for-11 from the field. Oregon State would grab five defensive rebounds in third. The Beavers would respond with a 11-0 run to tie the game. A turnover by Brown would allow Oregon State’s guard Greta Kampschroeder to hit a wide open triple to tie the game.
Both teams would not score for the next two minutes until Oregon State’s forward AJ Marotte banked a 3-pointer to give the Beavers a 39-38 lead.
Neither team would score in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter until Hillmon would draw a foul and hit two free throws to give Michigan a 42-40 lead with 7:25 left.
This would cap off an 11-2 Wolverines run where Brown would bank a 3-pointer late in the fourth. Brown finished the game with 11 points coming off the bench. She scored seven of Michigan’s 11 points during the scoring run.
“I thought (Brown’s 4th performance) gave us a lot of confidence,” Barnes Arico said.
The Beavers would hit two jumpers to cut the lead to four, but Michigan responded quickly as Rauch hit her second 3-pointer of the second half.
With two minutes left in the fourth quarter with Oregon State down by five, junior guard Maddie Nolan would hit a 3-pointer to make it an eight point game. The Beavers responded with a 3-point of their own to nullify Nolan’s three.
And ultimately, Brown’s steal and lay-in would ice Oregon State, cementing a pivotal victory for the Wolverines.
“It was a battle,” Barnes Arico said. “They’re a good team, so I think it really tested us today.”