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Michigan women’s basketball shows postseason potential in win over No. 5 Indiana

Naz Hillmon and team are showing that this is a squad with big aspirations.

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Indiana v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

The 2021-22 Michigan women’s basketball team added another impressive win to their already impressive resume this season, beating No. 5 Indiana at home on Monday night, 65-50.

The Wolverines, who are ranked No. 6 in the country themselves, started the game off with layups from Naz Hillmon and Emily Kiser, along with five quick points from Leigha Brown, to open the game on a 9-0 run.

While there were some occasional dry spells and sloppy play (the Wolverines did commit 25 turnovers), Michigan didn’t trail the entire game in what was the first top-10 home matchup in nearly five decades for the women’s basketball team.

Hillmon led all Wolverines in scoring (21 points), but it was quite the balanced attack from UM, with senior starters in Brown (11 points), Kiser (six points, team-high 16 rebounds) and Danielle Rauch (six points, seven rebounds) having solid showings in the victory.

The Wolverines also got good contributions off their bench, with 16 points coming from that second unit, including Laila Phelia providing a spark with 11 points and some key buckets when Michigan needed it most.

This team does a great job of playing unselfish basketball, dominating inside with Hillmon with capable scorers around her who can get a bucket off drives or find the open shooter in an instant.

This is one of the most impressive victories of the season for a Michigan team that’s no stranger to getting big wins. They avenged last year’s NCAA Tournament loss by beating a women’s basketball blue blood in Baylor in December and they’ve gone 8-1 since that overtime win.

The Wolverines are now in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten, beating No. 17 Maryland, No. 23 Ohio State and No. 5 Indiana to earn their spot atop the conference with a 10-1 record against Big Ten teams and a 19-2 record overall.

The Wolverines keep climbing up the ladder on bracket projections, as in Charlie Creme’s latest bracketology published Tuesday morning, Michigan is projected to be a 2 seed, which would be their highest postseason rank in program history.

Michigan still has a few chances to improve on that projection, as they have two games against No. 21 Iowa, a home matchup against No. 17 Maryland, and two games against a solid Michigan State team.

If you haven’t been paying attention to this basketball team, now is a great time to start, as after starting the season at +5000 to win the national title, don’t be surprised if this team makes a deep postseason run.

They have all the ingredients of a team that makes a run in March Madness: a star player to get a bucket when they need it in Hillmon, tournament experience from the last few seasons, a roster littered with seniors willing to play their role, an extraordinary coach in Kim Barnes Arico and an ability to win close games against talented programs.

This team has a legit shot to win the NCAA championship, and be the best team in program history. With as good as this team has looked all season long, Michigan fans shouldn’t be surprised to see some postseason success come the Wolverines’ way.