Feb. 28, 2010
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Arena)
Score: Michigan 64, Purdue 63
Records: U-M (16-12, 8-10 Big Ten), Purdue (14-15, 9-9 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Thu-Sun., March 4-7 -- at Big Ten Tournament (Conseco Fieldhouse)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan women's basketball team sent its three-member senior class away from Crisler Arena with a narrow 64-63 victory over Purdue on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 28). The Wolverines trailed for a majority of the contest, including 33-22 at the half, but battled back and came up with the big free throws in the end to pull out the win and finish their home slate with an 8-4 record.
Junior Veronica Hicks (Chicago, Ill./Thornwood) scored a team-high 17 points, including an impressive 12-of-14 clip from the free throw line, in addition to grabbing seven rebounds. Senior Krista Phillips (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan/Aden Bowman Collegiate), who became the U-M program's 20th 1,000-point scorer late in the first half, finished with 16 points, five boards and four assists. Senior Kalyn McPherson (Traverse City, Mich./West) also left it all on the floor in her final home game, finishing with a season-high 10 points. Senior Ashley Jones (Southfield, Mich./Martin Luther King) pulled down a game-high nine rebounds in first start of the season.
Stepping onto the court as a starter for the first time in three years, McPherson strapped the team on her back and had a hand in every U-M point during the first eight minutes of the game. She scored seven points and dished out assists to Phillips and freshman Rachel Sheffer (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet) to allow the Wolverines to grab an 11-10 lead with 12:17 remaining in the first half.
Michigan fell victim to an 8:13 field-goal drought, while the Boilermakers strung together an 11-4 run to reclaim a 21-15 advantage at 4:04. Jones scored on a strong move to the hole to give U-M a shot in the arm, but Purdue answered with a quick 9-0 surge to push its lead to 30-17 with 2:34 left on the first-half clock. Phillips' and Hicks' first field goals of the contest -- at 1:50 and 1:16, respectively -- cut the Boilermaker lead to 11 points, 33-22, heading into the break.
The Wolverines finished the first stanza shooting 27 percent (8-of-30). McPherson led U-M's first-half effort with eight points, four rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes. Jones pulled down eight boards in addition to three points and two blocks in 20 minutes.
Michigan's defense stepped up and held Purdue without a field goal for the first 6:20 of the second half. Meanwhile, freshman Dayeesha Hollins (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods) entered the game for the first time and scored five straight points during a 10-1 U-M run that trimmed the deficit to 34-32 with 14:42 to play.
A pair of Jodie Howell triples allowed Purdue to extend its lead to 44-36 at 10:36, but the Wolverines hung tough and scored eight unanswered points to tie the game at 44-44 with 8:18 to go. The U-M surge featured a pretty scooping lay-up by Hollins sandwiched between three-point plays from Phillips and sophomore Carmen Reynolds (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson).
With Michigan holding a slim 48-45 advantage, Phillips took charge and tallied seven straight points over a two-minute span to extend the lead to 55-51 with 2:43 left. Howell kept the Boilermakers alive with four triples in the final minute, but Hicks was equally as impressive from the foul line. She calmly knocked down seven of her final eight attempts to send the Wolverines to victory in their regular-season finale.
The Wolverines head to the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 7 seed and will take on No. 10 seed Northwestern at noon in opening-round action on Thursday (March 4) at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Mary Murphy (color) on the call. Fans can also catch the action on WTKA (AM 1050) with Matt Park and Nick Brandon on the call. The tournament will be played Thursday through Sunday (March 5-8) with the winner earning the Big Ten's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423