There’s a pretty simple formula to tell whether Michigan will win a game: Someone hits a 3-pointer in the first five minutes. If there are two threes in the first five minutes, chances are it will end up a convincing win. It’s not hard to figure out why — Naz Hillmon will dominate the glass and if her teammates can get in rhythm early, the Wolverines’ offense becomes a death machine.
A second blowout loss in a row to No. 8 Maryland and a slim-but-convincing win over Northwestern showed that more than anything. One-for-six in the first quarter and 1-for-9 in the first half against the Terrapins from three let the red-hot visitors get out of control, while a 5-for-12 first half against the Wildcats established a vital component to end a nasty slump.
Over the course of its season, Michigan has yet to lose a game in the seven games it made two 3-pointers in the first quarter. It’s 9-0 in games where it made five or more 3-pointers, and just 5-4 in games where it’s made fewer. In each of those two situations, the Wolverines’ eFG% drops: from 51.2% to 49.2% in the former, 54.9% to 45.3% in the latter.