U-M Unable to Dig Out of Early Hole, Loses to Illinois in Big Ten Tourney

March 4, 2011

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Site: Indianapolis, Ind. (Conseco Fieldhouse)
Event: Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals
Result: #11 seed Illinois 55, #3 seed Michigan 47
Records: U-M (17-12), Illinois (9-22)
Next U-M Game: TBA

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- After falling behind by as many as 24 points, the University of Michigan women's basketball team's late second-half rally came up short as the Wolverines fell, 55-47, to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday afternoon (March 4) at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Sophomore Kate Thompson (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) led the Wolverine offense with 10 points off the bench as the lone Wolverine in double figures. Michigan fell victim to cold shooting from the perimeter, managing just a 19.2-percent clip (5-for-26) from three-point range and 32.1 percent (18-for-56) from the floor.

After allowing the Illinois lead to swell back to 50-26 at the 9:12 mark, Michigan went on a 17-2 run over the next six minutes to cut the gap to nine (52-43) off a layup by sophomore forward Sam Arnold (Medinah, Ill./Lake Park) with 3:12 to go. The Wolverines could not get any closer, scoring just four points the rest of the contest.

Michigan came out of the break on a 9-2 run, cutting the Illini's lead to 39-25 on a lay-in from sophomore forward Rachel Sheffer (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet) with 15:33 remaining in the contest. Illinois once again responded, scoring the next seven points to push its lead back to 46-25 with 11:26 remaining.

Illinois jumped out to an early lead, starting the game on a 15-4 spurt. Back-to-back treys from Thompson and junior forward Carmen Reynolds (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard) and lay-up from senior guard Veronica Hicks (Chicago, Ill./Thornwood) brought Michigan back to within five, 17-12, at the 10:03 mark.

The Illini took control over the remainder of the half, closing the frame on a 20-4 run and keeping Michigan off the board for the final 7:21 to enter halftime with a 37-16 advantage. The Wolverines struggled from the field, shooting just 26.9 percent (7-for-26) from the field and 13.3 percent (2-for-15) from three-point range, while Illinois shot 51.7 percent (15-for-29) from the field and 44.4 percent (4-for-9) from behind the line.

The Wolverines will now await postseason consideration. The NCAA selection show is Monday, March 14, at 7 p.m.

Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423

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