The men's team is deservedly getting loads of attention as the basketball season nears, but I hope more Michigan fans pay at least a bit of attention to the women's team as well and perhaps attend a game or two (such as the doubleheaders that have been scheduled) during this first year of the Kim Barnes Arico era. As a Daily article titled "Enthusiastic Barnes Arico aims to lay new foundation in first week" points out, the new coach has been doing her part to raise the program's profile:
From coaching clinics to speaking at the student watch party at Michigan Stadium before Michigan football’s season opener, she has quickly immersed herself in the city and the University community.
. . .
Barnes Arico . . . already has plans to open up a practice to season ticket holders and host a clinic for girls in the community later this month.
. . .
Her goals also extend beyond the court as well, as Barnes Arico said she hopes to enhance the reputation of Michigan women’s basketball in the community.
“I think the number one thing is for the community to feel connected,” she said. “They need to feel a relationship with us and I think it’s part of my job is to go out and build that relationship. (We want to) promote the program and what these young ladies stand for and how much they work and how we’re building a championship year for the women’s basketball program.”
Barnes Arico was also on WTKA yesterday morning with Sam Webb. A podcast of her appearance can be found here, and here's an embed attempt:
The coach has high praise for this year's senior class and also goes on at great length about how impressed she is with incoming freshman Madison Ristovski, last year's Miss Basketball in Michigan and perhaps the team's starting point guard for the next four years. (Note: Sam mentions Ristovski having a couple of younger sisters who also play basketball, suggesting they might be future Michigan recruits. One of those, Haleigh, has already committed to Detroit Mercy; the other is Lola, who's in the class of 2015 and still uncommitted.)
The biggest news to come out of her WTKA appearance was on the injury front. Several months ago, I discussed in this post all the ACL injuries that current or future members of the women's team had suffered. Well, late last season then-freshman Cyesha Goree tore an ACL, and Barnes Arico mentioned yesterday that two more players—incoming freshman Kelsey Mitchell and junior Val Driscoll—suffered torn ACLs during summer workouts. This means that out of the 15 players on the 2012-13 roster, no fewer than 7 have suffered ACL injuries either during their Michigan career or during the year prior to their arrival in Ann Arbor. Also, of the incoming four-member 2012 recruiting class, only Madison Ristovski has not suffered an ACL injury in the last 12 months.
The coach indicated that Mitchell and Driscoll are likely to redshirt, but the other three players who tore an ACL in the last year will be available for game action.
It's been a remarkable week for the women's basketball program with the team gaining its first NCAA berth in 11 years and future Wolverine Madison Ristovski receiving the Miss Basketball award.
Tonight, three teams featuring future Wolverines won quarterfinal games—in three different classes—in the MHSAA girls basketball tournament, sending all three to East Lansing for the state semifinals.
Class A: Inkster and 2012 Michigan signee Kelsey Mitchell beat Detroit King 59-40 to advance to the semis. Inkster, which is the defending Class A champion, will play Grand Haven, the team favored to win this year, on Friday at 1:00. Grand Haven also features a future Wolverine (h/t to rob6reid), Abby Cole, a 2013 volleyball commit.
In the other semi, Ann Arbor Huron will play Grosse Pointe South. Huron is led by Devin Talley, daughter of former Michigan star Michael Talley. Huron prevailed over Saginaw Arthur Hill 52-39 in their quarterfinal contest.
Class B: Goodrich and 2013 Michigan commit Taylor Gleason defeated Detroit Country Day 56-47 in their quarterfinal contest. In the semis, Goodrich (26-0 on the season) will face Dearborn Divine Child on Friday at 7:30.
Class C: Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett and Miss Basketball winner Madison Ristovski, another 2012 signee, trounced Riverview Gabriel Richard 65-29. Liggett is paired with Concord in the semis in a game scheduled for 1:00 on Thursday.
Side note on the state boys tournament: Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy and Derrick Walton Jr. (2013 men's basketball commit) will play Detroit Country Day at 7:00 tomorrow in a Class B regional final.
The Free Press reports that two U-M women's basketball signees have been named finalists for the Michigan Miss Basketball award. Congrats to Kelsey Mitchell of Inkster and Madison Ristovski of Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, who signed LOIs in November as part of Michigan's class of 2012. The winner from among the five finalists will be announced March 12.
Three Wolverines have garnered this award previously: Jenny Ryan (2009), Krista Clement (2003), and Tabitha Pool (2000).