The No. 14 Michigan Wolverines are off to a 14-3 start with more Big Ten action underway this week. After dropping to No. 16 Iowa at home this past Saturday, the Wolverines are now 3-2 in Big Ten play. This moves Michigan to 2-2 against AP Top 25 opponents this year, with losses to Ohio State and Iowa.
Last week, the Wolverines opened the new year with a 82-72 win over Penn State at home. It was a close contest for the majority of the game and both teams entered the fourth tied at 57. After some back and forth, Michigan went on a 10-0 run that left the Nittany Lions scoreless for over four minutes.
Senior guard Leigha Brown and sophomore guard Laila Phelia both recorded 20+ point efforts for the Wolverines, including a double-double from Brown. Brown pulled in 10 rebounds for Michigan, which accounted for one-fourth of the rebounds on the day. Michigan outrebounded Penn State 40-29, including 13 offensive rebounds.
Four days later, Michigan hosted the No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes at home. They ultimately fell 94-85 for only their second loss at home so far this season. Michigan led for the majority of the first half before Caitlin Clark put the Hawkeyes up two at halftime. While the Wolverines played close, Iowa started to pull away halfway through the third, going up by nine with ten minutes left in the quarter. That 9-0 run by the Hawkeyes put Michigan in a two minute scoring drought that proved difficult to recover from.
The fourth quarter wasn’t kind either, as the Wolverines struggled to consistently score, going down by double digits after being outscored 9-4 in the first three minutes of the fourth. Iowa’s largest lead of the game came with just under six minutes left as they went up 77-63. A late rally pulled them within seven with under a minute to go, but it was too little too late, as the Hawkeyes shot pretty much lights out at the line to help put the game away.
Next up for Michigan
This week the Wolverines will head to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. Michigan is 3-1 on the road this year, with the lone loss in Columbus on New Years Eve. Purdue is 3-2 in their past five games and they come off a 70-60 loss to Penn State on the road. The Boilermakers are eight in the Big Ten, sitting at 2-3 and a 11-4 record overall. They return home seeking their first win over an AP Top 25 opponent. Purdue is 0-2 in those matchups, with both losses in conference to both Maryland and Iowa. This matchup tips at 6:30 pm on Tuesday night.
Also coming up is a rivalry Saturday as the Wolverines host Michigan State at home at 1:00 pm. The Spartans four game winning streak came to an end after falling to No. 13 Maryland 94-85 in College Park this past Saturday. MSU also sits at 2-3 in Big Ten play and just behind Purdue with a 10-6 record overall. Michigan State took down then No. 4 Indiana almost two weeks ago to force the Hoosiers lone loss in conference so far this season. They’ll be competitive as they seek another big win this upcoming Saturday afternoon.
The Wolverines are led by senior forward Emily Kiser, who’s 17.4 points and 7.1 rebounds a game lead the team. Phelia follows with 16.6 points and her 42.6% shooting from the arc is the best on the team. Brown shares in the offensive effort with 15.6 points and dishing out a team leading 5.9 assists a game. Her 5.9 assists per game and 88 total assists puts her at No. 15 in the country. She comes off a 20 point effort against the Hawkeyes and has come up big for the Wolverines in key games this season.