Strong Second Half Pushes Michigan Past Florida
Rachel Sheffer

Dec. 1, 2012

Box Score | Quotes | Notes | Photo Gallery  | Highlights

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: Michigan 59, Florida 53
Records: U-M (6-2), UF (5-3)
Next U-M Event: Wednesday, Dec. 5 -- at Illinois State (Normal, Ill.), 7 p.m. CST

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Behind senior guard Kate Thompson's (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) second 20-point performance of the season and an early 10-0 second-half run, the University of Michigan women's basketball team got back in the win column, claiming a 59-53 victory over Florida on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 1) at Crisler Center.

Leading the U-M offense was Thompson with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. Joining her in double figures was senior forward Rachel Sheffer (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet), who recorded 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed three rebounds. A complete performance was turned in by senior guard Jenny Ryan (Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central), who netted nine points, hauled down seven boards and dished out five assists, while senior forward Nya Jordan (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Community) grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds in addition to scoring three points.

For the game, Michigan shot 42.9 percent from the floor (21-for-49), including 47.6 percent (10-for-21) in the second half. The U-M defense held Florida to a 30.3 percent clip (20-for-66) in the contest, while Florida held a slim, 40-38, edge on the boards.

Trailing by five points coming out of the break, the Maize and Blue went on a 10-0 run that started at the 19:30 mark on a basket from Sheffer. The run included a Ryan three-pointer and another layup from Sheffer, both of which were assisted by freshman guard Madison Ristovski (Sterling Heights, Mich./University Liggett), to trim the Florida deficit to one (35-34). To complete the scoring spurt, with 15:55 left in the game, Jordan scored her three points to put Michigan on top, 37-35.

With Sheffer on the bench with four personal fouls, Florida tied the game back up (37-37), before U-M answered with another run, this time a 12-5 spurt capped off by a long-range three by Ryan with 9:07 remaining in the half, giving U-M a seven-point lead, 49-42.

After calling a timeout, Florida scored four quick points to cut the Michigan lead to three (49-46). Following a Michigan timeout of its own, the Wolverines answered with four points of their own to regain a seven-point lead, 53-46, with 5:23 remaining.

The Gators nailed a three-pointer with 2:18 remaining in the game, getting to within four points (55-51) but during their next possession were stopped by the Wolverine defense due to a shot-clock violation. In the final two minutes, Florida got no closer than four points as Michigan went 4-for-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch finishing off a six-point win.

In a first half that featured six ties and six lead changes, each squad struggled offensively over the first four minutes, including the Wolverines going 1-of-4 from the free throw line, before Sheffer put back a rebound at the 16:26 mark, giving Michigan an early 5-3 lead. However, Florida answered quickly to tied the game at five apiece.

Coming out of the game's first media timeout, both teams traded baskets over the next six minutes as U-M reestablished the lead on a Thompson short field goal at the 11:48 mark, giving Michigan an 11-9 lead.

Midway through the first half, Florida reclaimed the advantage 20-13 after going on an 11-2 run, which lasted four minutes. With five minutes left in the half, back-to-back deep three-point shots by Thompson ended the Gators run and brought Michigan back to within two points, cutting the deficit to 21-19. Thompson's pair of baskets came on a 9-2 U-M run spanning 2:47, which ended with a Sheffer three-pointer assisted by Ryan at the 4:26 mark, putting the Wolverines ahead again, 22-21.

In the final four-plus minutes of the first half, the two teams traded buckets, and Florida took a 32-27 advantage into the halftime break. After 20 minutes of game action, Thompson led all scorers with 13 points, with Sheffer adding seven points.

The Wolverines will hit the road for their next contest, playing at Illinois State on Wednesday (Dec. 5) at 7 p.m. CST.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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