Is it time to get excited about women's basketball? Have things finally clicked for M? Does 4 games make a reliable trend?
In the last 4 games: M lost at Indiana 62-60; lost at #5 OSU 58-56; beat Indiana 70-56 and last night; beat Illinois in Assembly Hall 64-48 holding Big Ten 1st Team Jenna Smith to just 7 pts. This is a marked improvement. The guard play along with bench points have been sited as key to the rebound.
At the beginning of the year, it was tough watching M play. The shots weren't falling and the play looked slow and deliberate...almost balletic. This allowed the more aggressive teams to have their way with M. Things have changed. I've been able to watch the last few games and while I'm not an expert, M is playing fast, aggressive and more loosely. This style (or is it comfort level?) has been fun to watch, forcing open shots, but has also led to some ill advised passes and turn overs (and head banging).
Three lead the team in points, each with over 240 on the year. Sophomore Carmen Reynolds has been the most consistent shooter (career high 21 vs Ill!) though the second, junior Roni Hicks, put on a show against Indiana scoring 24. Freshman Dayeesha Hollins is the third scorer and seems to be constantly attacking the lane (drawing and causing fouls and baskets) and also leads the team in assists. Freshman Jenny Ryan (Miss BB Michigan) leads the team in steals (38) and rebounds (124 – 6.5 rpg). The lone senior, 6' 6” center Krista Phelps is not far behind any of the above with 175 pts and 111 rebounds (5.8 rpg).
Via MGoBlue.com (http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/012110aac.html): “The University of Michigan women's basketball team will be taking part in the NCAA's third annual Pack the House Challenge when it hosts Penn State on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 1 p.m. in Crisler Arena. The competition pits all Big Ten Conference schools against each other, as well as all NCAA Division I programs against each other, to see who can "Pack the House". The Wolverines are looking to break their home attendance record, which currently stands at 5,596 against Michigan State on Jan. 13, 2008.”
PSU recently beat Ill at PSU 70-66 and had a 6 game winning streak until they lost at Purdue last night in OT. Freshman and starting point guard Alex Bentley, a former finalist for Indiana's Miss Bball, had 19 pts, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in the Ill win and had 27 pts in the Purdue loss. If M can corral her like they did Smith, M could beat PSU. It could be quite a show and M can use your support. Tickets are usually cheap! What else are you doing Sunday afternoon?