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Michigan avenges Sweet 16 loss with win over Baylor in impressive start to season

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The women’s basketball team has been impressive this year.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 19 Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase - Baylor v Michigan Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021-22 Michigan women’s basketball team made history over the weekend, picking up its first ever top-five win in program history with an overtime victory over the No. 5 Baylor Bears.

The Wolverines got revenge on the Bears, who ended Michigan’s season last year after beating them in the Sweet 16.

Michigan lost arguably its best player in Naz Hillmon to foul trouble with 22 seconds left. She had 15 points and 10 rebounds in an impressive duel with fellow All-American NaLyssa Smith. Both players are expected to be top draft picks in the upcoming WNBA draft.

Despite losing Hillmon, Michigan’s other talented players helped earn the victory, with Leigha Brown leading the way after racking up 25 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and an impressive 11-for-13 from the free throw line.

That win helped Michigan climb up to No. 9 in the AP Poll, earning their highest mark in the poll in program history

Hillmon and Brown have been the leading scorers for the Wolverines all season, as combined they average 34.8 points per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field.

The Wolverines, who are now ranked in the top 10 in the power rankings of both NCAA.com and ESPN.com, moved to 11-1 on the year, with their only loss coming against a top-ranked Louisville team.

As Jack Glanville wrote in a recent column for The Michigan Daily, head coach Kim Barnes Arico has helped elevate this squad with lofty postseason aspirations.

While Indiana and Maryland are ahead of Michigan in the polls, wins like this prove that the Wolverines have more than a puncher’s chance at earning a Big Ten title and making some noise in the NCAA tournament.

Michigan’s game against Eastern Michigan that was scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled. With that cancellation, Michigan’s final game of the calendar year will be against the Ohio State Buckeyes on New Year’s Eve. That game is set to tip off at noon at Crisler Center, and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.