Women's Basketball

Michigan’s depth comes into focus as schedule grows more difficult

After a first week laden with injuries, the biggest question facing Michigan is who can provide quality depth on the back end of the rotation.

Right now, the leading candidates for that answer are freshman guard Laila Phelia, sophomore guard Elise Stuck and freshman guard Ari Wiggins.

Phelia is fifth on the team in minutes played, with her point total enough for the same spot on the team. While her eFG% is just 35%, it mostly comes down to her 3-point shooting numbers — 1-for-8 is a poor start from the perimeter. She offers an offensive spark for the team, and her 6-for-6 free-throw shooting suggests a more potent shooting ability than her stats demonstrate early in the year.

Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico also trusts Phelia to handle the ball with Rauch out, and she’s often leading the second-team offense.

Stuck, meanwhile, started her first career game on Saturday against Central Michigan, after senior forward Naz Hillmon didn’t travel with the team because of a non-COVID-19 related illness. Stuck is a long, 6-foot-1 player from Charlevoix and can play guard and forward, picking up the third-most rebounds on the team through four games.

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