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This Week in Michigan Women’s Basketball (2/6)

The Wolverines collected two more wins, including a series sweep over their in-state rival.

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

The No. 18 Michigan Wolverines opened the first week of February collecting two more wins against the Illinois Fighting Illini and at the Michigan State Spartans. Now tied for fourth in the Big Ten standings, Michigan looks ahead to its final five games to climb to the top. The Wolverines improved to 19-5 overall and 9-4 in conference games.

The Wolverines began February at home, as they took down the Illini, 74-57. Guard Leigha Brown continues to come up huge for the Wolverines as she had 27 points (10-of-13 shooting), five assists and four rebounds. This was big for Michigan, as it struggled to shoot from range; just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.

Not that it was an issue in the end for Michigan, as the maize and blue shot 59% from the floor in the first half alone. In a game where they never led, the Illini did pull within 14 by the end of the third quarter, but that’s as close as it got.

A few days later Michigan traveled to East Lansing to take on MSU for the second time this season. While the MSU home court advantage and fiery first half set the Wolverines back, Michigan steadily chipped away to get the two-game series sweep.

MSU led by as many as 12 in the first 10 minutes before Nolan scored all eight of Michigan’s final first quarter points to pull the Wolverines within six.

The second quarter started to awaken the Wolverine offense as they tied it 31-31 with three minutes left in the half. MSU went on a 9-2 run to close the first half up seven. The Wolverines finally claimed the lead late in the third quarter after out scoring the Spartans 23-15. Nolan hit two big threes to put the game away for Michigan along with an all around near perfect free throw shooting effort by the team.

Michigan took the 10-point win on the road to sweep the Spartans. Brown led Michigan with a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Nolan also put up 22.

Michigan won’t have a game until this Sunday at home against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers sit at 5-6 in Big Ten play and 13-9 overall. Michigan took the first game of the series on the road, beating Nebraska, 76-59.

Nebraska’s got games at Northwestern and home against Illinois before heading to Ann Arbor. Guard Jaz Shelley leads the Cornhuskers with 12.5 points, 6.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. She’s aided by center Alexis Markowski, who averages 12.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks a game.

Michigan looks to extend its winning streak to four and close out its final five games in the win column. The Wolverines are 8-3 at home, while Nebraska is 2-6 on the road this year. The Cornhuskers will be a good test before Michigan revisits both Indiana and Ohio State in two weeks.