DETROIT — The Michigan women’s basketball team’s game against Detroit Mercy started off in dramatic fashion on Monday night. The Titans drilled four consecutive 3-pointers to take the lead within the first few minutes.
Detroit Mercy’s bench carried all the energy in the gym and got louder with every basket as the Wolverines slowly fell behind. At the six-minute mark, the Titans hit their fifth 3-pointer of the first quarter to take a 10-point lead.
Michigan found its footing quickly, though, and finished the contest in dominant fashion to come away with a 86-50 win.
“They came out of the gates locked in and focused and jumped on us right away, but we responded once we settled in,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes-Arico. “But they scored 17 points in the first four minutes — which was incredible — but I thought we did a better job defensively, and then they missed some shots later in the game.”
The Wolverines had eight turnovers in the first quarter, which senior guard Katelyn Flaherty said contributed to the Titans’ early run.
“I think our turnovers in the beginning really hurt us, and it really helped their offense,” Flaherty said. “So I think once we settled down and really locked in defensively, that gave us a lot of momentum on offense. And we knew that they really couldn’t guard us in the post with Hallie down there, so we got her a lot of early looks.”
Slowly but surely, the Wolverines closed the gap and took the lead by one point with 40 seconds remaining the first quarter.
Michigan finished the first quarter in a tie at 20, and then came out more aggressive in the second quarter. Once the Wolverines took the lead, they never looked back, finishing the first half with a 47-28 advantage.
The Wolverines started strongly again in the third quarter, going on an 8-0 stretch midway through the frame.
While the Titans were able to narrow a 35-point deficit to 23 at one point in the third quarter, they still ended the frame down by 30. And when Michigan started the fourth quarter with four unanswered points, it slowly began to empty its bench — a sign that the game was all but over.
For the Wolverines, Monday was another memorable moment at Calihan Hall, where Michigan won the WNIT Championship game last season.
“I love this place, it’s like our second home in Michigan,” Barnes-Arico said. “This university was so incredible for allowing us to host that WNIT championship. This place will always hold a special place in my heart.”