Michigan Wards Off Late Illinois Run for Pink Game Win
Rachel Sheffer

Feb. 7, 2013

Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery 
• Postgame Video: Highlights | Barnes Arico | K. Thompson | R. Sheffer

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: Michigan 72, Illinois 69
Records: U-M (17-6, 6-4 Big Ten), Illinois (13-9, 6-4 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 10 -- at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.), Noon

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan women's basketball team had four players score in double figures, including 21 from senior forward Rachel Sheffer (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet), and held off a late Illinois run to defeat the Fighting Illini, 72-69, Thursday night (Feb. 7) inside Crisler Center. Michigan, which won its 11th game at home this season, snapped a three-game losing streak in Big Ten play.

Sheffer was 8-of-15 from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds, while senior guard Kate Thompson (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) hit five three-pointers for all 15 of her points. Thompson also had a pair of blocked shots.

Senior forward Nya Jordan (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Community) and senior guard Jenny Ryan (Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central) had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Ryan had seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Jordan had a game-high nine rebounds.

Two Illini layups cut the U-M lead to 66-65 at 1:56. Ryan was fouled and hit a pair of free throws on the next possession, but on its next time down court Illinois corralled an offensive rebound and put it back in to again make it a one-point game, with 1:35 remaining. Two more free throws by Ryan at 1:17 made it 70-67. After a Fighting Illini miss, Jordan missed a layup but grabbed the rebound and converted on her second chance, putting the Maize and Blue up 72-67 with 29 seconds left. Illinois cut the lead to three with a layup with 13 seconds left. Illinois forced a Wolverine turnover, giving the Fighting Illini one more possession to send the game into an extra session. Illinois had two chances at threes, but both missed the mark as Michigan was victorious for the 17th time this season.

Sheffer scored Michigan's first nine points, but the Wolverines still trailed 10-9 after her layup at 13:21. Thompson's three-pointer gave the Maize and Blue an 18-15 lead at 10:50, but the Fighting Illini went on an 8-2 run for a 23-20 advantage. Michigan answered that run with an 8-0 burst, as sophomore guard Nicole Elmblad's (St. Ignace, Mich./LaSalle) old-fashion three-point play put U-M up 28-23 with 4:57 to go. A Ryan three put the Wolverines up 31-25 at the 3:32 mark, and Michigan held as large as an eight-point advantage (36-28) with 1:07 to go before entering to halftime up four (36-32).

Illinois knotted the game at 40 at the 16:47 mark of the second half, but an Elmblad layup put the Maize and Blue up 47-43 with 14:36 left, then freshman guard Madison Ristovski (Sterling Heights, Mich./University Liggett) fed Sheffer for a layup at 11:27, making it 52-46 in favor of the Wolverines and forcing the Fighting Illini to call timeout.

Michigan took its largest lead of the game (57-48) on a Jordan three-point play with 7:07 left. Thompson then banked in a three from the right corner, giving the Maize and Blue a 60-51 lead; but a pair of three-pointers and a jumper gave the Fighting Illini their first lead of the second half at 61-60 with 3:49 left. Thompson quickly answered, hitting a three on the Wolverines' next possession before creating a steal and hitting a three-pointer from the left corner to give U-M a 66-61 lead with 2:58 remaining.

U-M shot 51.1 percent (24-of-47) from the floor and hit 17-of-21 from the free throw line. Michigan assisted on 17 of its 24 made field goals and had six blocked shots on the night.

Michigan returns to action on Sunday (Feb. 10), traveling to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers, current No. 13 in the AP poll. Tip is slated for noon at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind., and the game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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