It’s been a strange season for women’s basketball - they started better than any Michigan women’s team before them, but stumbled late and failed to make the NCAA tourney.
Still, this team got some measure of revenge this week by storming through the WNIT, winning all 6 games and claiming the championship.
The game was a thriller, as Michigan and Georgia Tech slugged it out through regulation and three overtimes. Michigan had a five-point lead with two minutes left in the third quarter, but Georgia Tech led most of the fourth. This late shot by leading scorer Katelynn Flaherty tied the game with 10 seconds left.
Georgia Tech was fouled with 0.1 seconds left and the game tied, but missed both free throws. In the first overtime, Michigan shot 1-for-8, with a missed free throw, but GT went 1-for-7 with a single made three that tied the game. In both of the first two overtimes, Michigan jumped out to a lead that it could not hold.
The third time was the charm, as Michigan blew the game open in the final five minutes - outscoring the Yellow Jackets 13-3. Guard Katelynn Flaherty and center Hallie Thome combined for 52 points, while starting forward Jillian Dunston had 13 rebounds and senior point guard Siera Thompson - the unofficial leader of the team - had 15 points, 8 assists, only 2 turnovers, and played all 55 minutes of the game.
The team finishes with a very solid 28-9 record and a bit of momentum heading into the off-season, but also has a lot to prove after being stuck in the WNIT for the fourth straight year (going to the WNIT Final Four three straight times, winning it once). Kim Barnes Arico will likely pass Sue Guevara next season as the winningest women’s basketball coach in Michigan history, after already achieving that feat at St. John’s, her previous stop.