Women's Basketball

Michigan’s offense finds its rhythm against weaker Big Ten opponents

Michigan’s offense came to life this past week, posting 93 and 73 points against Wisconsin and Minnesota, respectively. Those two aren’t the most oppressive defenses — coming in at 236th and 215th in the country in scoring defense — but, still, after struggling against then-No. 10 Louisville, Michigan’s rattled off three straight games with a 55-plus eFG%.

All three of those are thanks in large part to the Wolverines’ own defense shutting down opponents. Against Minnesota, they tallied 14 points in the first five minutes of the game while the Gophers committed seven turnovers. Throughout the third quarter, Michigan scored 17 points while forcing seven turnovers again.

Throughout that trio of games since Louisville, the Wolverines have scored 72 points off 53 turnovers.

When that defense starts to struggle, though, so does the offense. The second quarter against Minnesota, the Gophers shot 53.8% from the field with just two turnovers to score 22 points. Michigan, meanwhile, managed just 12 points.

“I think we didn’t do the same things we did in the first quarter: Taking away some of the things that they wanted to do, getting the ball out of their dominant players’ hands,” Michigan senior forward Naz Hillmon said. “Another thing I think was key was Emily was in foul trouble and I think she’s one of our best helpers. I think she steps over, takes charges, gets some blocks and we didn’t have that kind of help defense while she wasn’t on the floor.”

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