In girls’s faculty basketball, there are a bunch of faculties who all mainly declare a spot within the NCAA girls’s event every season.
That quantity will get even smaller when you think about the handful of applications who’re mainstays within the Candy 16 each single season. The alternatives not often come for some faculties whether or not it’s the primary, second and even ninth attempt. But it surely’s the primary time that is all the time probably the most particular.
For the primary time at school historical past, Michigan girls’s basketball is headed to the Candy 16.
A pivotal 22-5 run in eleven-plus minutes of sport time lifted U-M to a 70-55 victory over Tennessee within the second spherical of the NCAA girls’s event in San Antonio.
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“I didn’t realize until years ago when I was at St. John’s and we got to our first Sweet 16. I did a little research and I saw how difficult that was. Not every coach that coaches this game gets to go to the Sweet 16,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico mentioned after the sport.
“I left St. John’s, we had just went to the Sweet 16 and had a group of players returning, two future WNBA draft picks, because I believed in Michigan. I believed that we could create something special there. They had done it in every other sport. Softball is great, football is great, men’s basketball is great, gymnastics and field hockey, you could go on and on, tennis. Every sport there is great — except women’s basketball didn’t have that history and tradition. That pulled me there.”
Michigan will play the winner of Baylor and Virginia Tech within the River Stroll Area semifinal on both March 27-28.
Within the ninth event look for this system, Michigan (16-5) was aided by three gamers scoring in double figures and making life robust for Tennessee (17-8) on the defensive finish.
Massive Ten Participant of the 12 months Naz Hillmon collected a double-double, 19 factors and 15 rebounds. Leigha Brown scored a game-high 23 factors going an ideal 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. Hailey Brown added in 14 factors together with 4 3-pointers.
In a season the place nothing felt regular, and lengthy pauses had seasons placed on the brink, it’s the payoff of not simply the person honors however the workforce lastly being acknowledged nationally for taking an incredible step in the precise route.
“It means a ton to me,” Hillmon said. “I think this year I’ve gotten a lot of individual accolades and they’re always great. But seeing the work that my team has put in throughout the year and to be finally be recognized as a team is the best accolade that I can ever get.”
“I’m getting choked up because this group is special because we work every night and every day and we talked about these things, and now they’re (coming) to fruition. To finally have that team accolade is something that I’ve been looking forward to, and we’ve got it, and we’re looking to build on that.”
Michigan’s robust first half protection restricted the Tennessee to only 19 factors after each groups struggled to get in an offensive groove. Michigan’s power on protection pissed off and confused the Girl Vols at occasions — enjoying proper into the palms of the Wolverines.
“My boy sent me a text, he said, ‘Mom, they are not going to be used to your energy. They are not going to know what hit them. Just bring that energy you had the other night,’” Barnes Arico mentioned.
“We came out so laser sharp and so locked in and so focused. Our energy level was off the charts. I think we replicated that. I wasn’t sure as a coach — could we be that consistent with one day in between? Could we have that same energy we had the other night? And we did. Absolutely incredible. They believe in playing defense, they believe in rebounding. … They have something to prove. They felt that they were a couple times during this season, they were disrespected or that people counted them out because of all the things that have been thrown our way.”
One participant who benefitted from this was Michigan guard Danielle Rauch. Having to play instead of the injured Amy Dilk, Rauch was a relentless presence within the face of Tennessee’s ball-handlers as she collected 5 steals.
Tennessee’s main scorers, Rennia Davis and Rae Burrell, struggled to attain. Davis shot 4 of 17 from the sphere, scoring 12 factors, whereas Burrell was 4 of seven and had 11. As a workforce, Tennessee shot 34% from the sphere.