Ann Arbor, Mich.- The Hoosier womens basketball team dropped a hard-fought, physical battle, that saw four ties and four lead changes to Big Ten opponent Michigan at the Crisler Arena Saturday afternoon. The heated contest came down to the wire in the last three minutes of the contest, with Michigan coming out on top, 65-59.
With the loss, IU slips to 8-6 overall and 1-2 in the conference, while Michigan improves its home record to 6-1 as well as to 9-7 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten.
Michigan got on the board first at the 19:34 mark, but the Hoosiers were able to stay within close reach, never trailing by more than six in the first 15 minutes of play. A three-point play by Jenny DeMuth, brought Indiana to within one, 13-12 at the 9:39 mark and the Hoosiers continued to keep up the intensity defensively, holding the Wolverines without a field goal for just over five minutes. Michigan would then slowly reclaim its lead and hold a 33-26 advantage heading into the intermission.
The second-half was an all out battle with fast-paced, back-to-back scoring from both ends of the floor. The key stretch in the game began with 2:25 remaining in the contest. DeMuth played with her normal aggressive demeanor, as she stepped up and tried to take control of the game. She went on to make two defensive stops in a row and tried to bring the Hoosiers to a closer reach after knocking down a field goal with 53 seconds left, bringing the Hoosiers within three, 62-59. Indiana tried to hang on, but committed costly fouls and turnovers down the stretch.
The difference in the game was that they (Michigan) broke us down defensively and got to the line. That is how they beat us, commented head coach Kathi Bennett.
As a team, the Hoosiers committed 23 fouls and both DeMuth and Sarah McKay fouled out. Angela Hawkins also finished with four fouls. The surplus of fouls resulted in Michigan going 23-for-28 from the line.
We played hard enough, but didnt play smart enough. We committed way too many fouls, said Bennett.
DeMuth finished the outing with 19 points and six rebounds. McKay pitched in with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks of her own. Hawkins also contributed five points and eight rebounds.
The Wolverines were led by Jennifer Smith who had a game-high 33 points, including a perfect 12-for-12 shooting effort from the line. Smith also pulled down nine boards. Tabitha Pool and Stephanie Gandy also helped the cause, pitching in with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Together, the trio scored 61of the Wolverines 65 points. Smith became the first player to score more than 30 points on the Hoosiers since February 2, 2003 when Penn States Kelly Manzante poured in 33 points.
Michigan extends its winning streak over Indiana to four games, dating back to 2001-02. Indiana also extended its skid against Big Ten teams from the state of Michigan to seven games. The loss marked the fourth consecutive road loss for Indiana against a Big Ten opponent, dating back to last year.
The Hoosiers return to the court on Thursday, Jan. 15, when they take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City, Iowa. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 105.1 WHCC with Jeremy Gray calling all the action.