By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
It took nearly eleven weeks and twenty one attempts. But the monkey is finally off their backs.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn women’s basketball team notched its first win of the season Jan. 23 defeating Marygrove 69-40. And as odd as it is to say about a team getting their first win 21 games into the season, the Wolverines dominated.
UM-Dearborn started the game on a 10-0 run that proved to the crowd that this game was going to be different. The Mustangs wouldn’t get their first bucket until nearly four minutes into the game.
With 1:36 left in the second quarter, Kendall Rose found Natalie Spala streaking to the basket and hit her with a quick pass that Spala laid into the net to give the Wolverines a 10 point lead.
As the quarter was nearing the end, Olivia Hauser stole an inbound pass and fired a shot with three seconds left. She would miss the shot, but it was the urgency that was impressive. It showed that no matter how much time was left, this team was going to give it their all.
The second half would be no different. And the Wolverines would show no mercy.
Rose would miss a three point attempt, but Megan Swick would collect the offensive rebound and hit a layup with 1:39 left in the third quarter. The Wolverines from that moment on would go on a 20-4 run to finish the game.
The feeling after the game was expressed the same way from many of the women. It was about time.
“Oh my gosh, this is long overdue we’re really happy. Everybody pitched in, everybody played their role, everybody rebounded, they moved the ball well, it’s just one step to improve and it was a big time confidence booster for everybody,” Marisa Sauve said.
The sophomore forward was a force to be reckoned with near the basket. She led the team with 16 points and hauled in 17 rebounds. Spala contributed with 11 points and six rebounds.
Hauser was a spark coming off a shortened bench. She scored 14 points and went 6-for-13 from the field. It wasn’t her shooting that impressed her coach, but her energy instead.
“(Hauser) had 14 (points) but I’ll be honest the energy that she brought when she came into the game was huge, and then in the second half she got opportunities for lay-ups and stuff so that was great,” interim head coach Jordan Sweeney said.
Megan Swick joined the double figures party scoring 11 points. This was her sixth straight game of scoring 11 points or more. Swick also played an important role defensively recording a team high of five steals.
On Jan. 20, when UM-Dearborn hosted Northwestern Ohio, they would fall to the Racers 65-61 in overtime.
The Wolverines found themselves with an eight point deficit at halftime. But a relentless effort from the team and outstanding shooting from Swick paid off in the fourth quarter.
With 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Swick knocked down a three point shot to tie the game. The Wolverines would inbound the ball with three seconds remaining but Sauve’s last second shot attempt would hit the outside of the rim.
In overtime Swick’s shooting didn’t cool off. She knocked down another triple with 2:09 remaining to give the Wolverines a one point lead. But a couple turnovers in the next few possessions would give the Racers a clear lane to victory.
Swick, who scored a career high 26 points, said that turnovers was the difference maker between the two teams during the extra session.
“In overtime we had a couple bad turnovers and I think that turned it around for us. We just kind of got a little frazzled, it was our first overtime of the season,” Swick said. “We just needed to settle it down a little bit and take care of the ball.”
Being down by eight at the half, the Wolverines zeroed in on what they needed to do to rally back. They upped the defensive play and limited the Racers to just nine points in the fourth quarter.
Spala explained that staying together as a team was a main talking point at halftime.
“I think just staying together and playing hard… Yes we were down by eight at half; we knew we just had to take it one play at a time. So that’s basically what we did — we focused on every play,” Spala said.
UM-Dearborn will look to win their second game in a row when they welcome Lourdes to the Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The Wolverines then travel to Cornerstone on Saturday, Jan. 30.