Feb. 27, 2011
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Assembly Hall)
Score: Michigan 58, Illinois 55
Records: U-M (17-11, 10-6 Big Ten), Illinois (7-22, 2-14 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 4 -- vs. Wisconsin or Illinois - Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals (Indianapolis, Ind.), 2 p.m. (approx.)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Sophomore center/forward Rachel Sheffer (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet) hit a jumper with a tenth of a second on the game clock and completed a three-point play to send the University of Michigan women's basketball team to a 58-55 Big Ten win at Illinois to close out the 2010-11 regular season on Sunday (Feb. 27) at Assembly Hall. The Wolverines, who earn the Big Ten Tournament's No. 3 seed, concluded the Big Ten season with 10 wins and a winning conference record for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Sheffer led the Wolverine offense, tying her career high with 23 points. Also in double figures was junior guard/forward Carmen Reynolds (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Reynolds also had a team-best six rebounds.
Illinois tied the game 53-53 at the 2:14 mark with a jumper from Adrienne GodBold. After GodBold tied the score at 55-55 with 15 seconds remaining, Sheffer nailed her jumper and completed the three-point play at the one-second mark to give U-M its fifth Big Ten road win of the season, which ties the school record for conference wins on the road.
Illinois cut the U-M lead to one possession at 28-27 on the first play of the second half, but Michigan started to attack the rim and pulled out to a 43-36 courtesy of the play of Reynolds, who had four first-half points before upping her point total to 10 through the first 8:30 of the second half to keep the Wolverines in the lead.
The Wolverines opened up a 13-9 lead behind the play of Sheffer and sophomore guard/forward Sam Arnold (Medinah, Ill./Lake Park) in the paint. Illinois used a 4-0 spurt to take a 22-18 lead midway through the opening half, but Michigan clamped down on defense and forced turnovers on back-to-back Illinois possessions, regaining the lead at 24-22 on a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Jenny Ryan (Saginaw, Mich./Nouvel Catholic Central) at the 5:16 mark as Michigan took a 28-25 advantage into the halftime break.
Sheffer led the U-M offense with 13 first-half points and was U-M's only starter with more than four points in the opening 20 minutes. U-M struggled shooting the ball, shooting just 33.3 percent (11-of-33) from the floor in the first frame but did force Illinois into 12 first-half turnovers leading to 10 Wolverine points.
The third-seeded Wolverines, who have earned a first-round bye after today's win over Illinois, will open Big Ten Tournament action on Friday (March 4) against either No. 6 seed Wisconsin or No. 11 seed Illinois, approximately 25 minutes after the day's first game, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Fans can catch all the Big Ten Tournament action live on the Big Ten Network and on WTKA AM 1050 with Matt Park and Jennifer Smith on the call.
Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423