Wolverines Conquer Illinois Thanks to Balanced Attack
Nicole Elmblad

Jan. 18, 2014

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: Michigan 69, Illinois 60
Records: U-M (13-5, 4-1 Big Ten), Illinois (8-10, 1-4 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Jan. 23 -- vs. Ohio State (Crisler Center), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan women's basketball team had a 40-22 edge on the glass and assisted on 18 of its 20 field goals to defeat Illinois, 69-60, on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 18) inside Crisler Center.

Michigan had four players score in double figures, led by freshman guard Siera Thompson's (Gardena, Calif./Serra) 19 points. Thompson was 5-of-8 from three-point range, and added three assists and a steal. Junior guard Shannon Smith (Gastonia, N.C./Forestview [Trinity Valley CC]) had 17 points and three assists and went 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. Junior guard Nicole Elmblad (St. Ignace, Mich./LaSalle) had 14 points, eight boards and four assists, while sophomore guard Madison Ristovski (Sterling Heights, Mich./Liggett) collected 13 points, had eight rebounds and five assists. Junior forward Cyesha Goree (Grand Rapids, Mich./Wyoming Park) had a game-high 15 rebounds to go with her six points and three assists.

With the Wolverines facing an 11-4 deficit at the 14:06 mark of the first half, U-M ripped off 11 straight points on three three-pointers, courtesy of Thompson (two) and Ristovski (one), and an Elmblad fast-break layup for a 15-11 lead. The 11-point swing forced an Illini timeout at the 10:18 mark. The Maize and Blue extended the run to 14-0 after the stoppage with another Thompson three-pointer with 8:48 left for an 18-11 lead.

Michigan held Illinois without a point for 5:54 for an eventual 20-2 run, capped by a pair of Ristovski free throws at the 6:11 mark for a 24-13 Michigan lead. Illinois answered with a 9-0 run of its own, taking a 24-22 lead with 3:31 showing on the first-half clock and forcing a Michigan timeout. Smith hit three free throws with 3.4 seconds left to send U-M to the break with a 33-29 lead. Thompson led all scorers with 14 points at the break, with Elmblad chipping in 11.

In the second half, Michigan was clinging to a 40-36 lead at the 14:17 mark before going on a 9-0 spurt over the next 1:27 for a 49-36 lead with 12:50 left before another Illinois timeout. The Illini cut the Wolverine lead to six points, 59-53, off a three-pointer with 5:47 left.

The Maize and Blue responded with a 7-2 run for a 66-55 advantage after a pair of Ristovski free throws with 3:10 left. Goree hit a pair with 1:33 left for a 68-55 lead, and the Wolverines finished out their scoring with a Smith free throw with 1:06 remaining.

Michigan shot 10-of-23 from the field in each half, shooting 43.5 percent for the contest. Michigan also was 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) from the free-throw line and hit nine three-pointers.

The Wolverines hit the court again on Thursday (Jan. 23) against Ohio State. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at Crisler Center.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (vanmetre@umich.edu)

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