By JACK VANASSCHE, Staff Writer
The statement itself is trite in the sports writing world.
“Defense wins championships.”
But there is no valid argument to refute the evidence of what a dominant defense can do for a team.
The University of Michigan- Dearborn women’s basketball team learned the hard way, Saturday, what a great defense is capable of.
Siena Heights University and its stellar defense held off the Wolverines 47-30.
The Wolverines’ (1-24, 1-17 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) 30 points on the game were the lowest for a single game for the team this season.
Freshman guard Natalie Spala explained the difficulties of facing such a physical defense.
“With their defense, they’re one of the more aggressive teams. We knew it was going to be hard to drive,” Spala said. “We knew we would have to rely on our shooters.”
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the Siena Heights (16-10, 10-8 WHAC) defense was harsh on the shooters as well.
As a team, the Wolverines shot only 24 percent from the field. Marisa Sauve was the only Wolverine in double-digits in scoring with 10 points.
Interim head coach Jordan Sweeney summed up the evening in a few short words.
“Some games are better than others,” he said. “Tonight was not so great.”
Despite the offensive struggles for the Wolverines, Sweeney was able to look at the positives from the game and build on them.
“We continued to play hard all game,” Sweeney said. “We hung with a team that was probably better than us.”
While facing a very tough team, the Wolverines were able to force 23 turnovers on the evening.
Most nights, this stat would be revered as dominant from a defensive standpoint, but instead was cast into the shadow of Siena Heights’ defensive masterpiece. Siena Heights ended up forcing UM-Dearborn to commit 25 turnovers of their own.
Spala added to Sweeney’s optimism.
“The past few games we have been kind of down, playing Davenport and Cornerstone. After today, we’re back up again. We played really, really hard.”
The Wolverines had a rough night Wednesday, Feb. 3, when they were blown out by 10th-ranked Davenport 96-44.
UM-Dearborn hit the road to visit Davenport, (20-5, 16-2 WHAC) who promptly welcomed the Wolverines with a 52-point beat-down.
Davenport shot the lights out on the Wolverines, going 53 percent from the field as a team and sinking 16-22 free throws. The Panthers had four players in double-digit scoring.
The Wolverines were left shooting in the dark, going only 32 percent from the field and 5-22 (23 percent) from three-point range.
Kendall Rose was one of the only shining lights for the Wolverines, leading the team in points (11), rebounds (six), assists (six), and steals (four).
Sophomore Megan Swick also tacked on 10 points to the night.
The Wolverines hope to continue improving in hopes to climb out of last place in the conference.
Even with the two losses in the week, the Wolverines have a shot to climb out of the last place tie within the WHAC with a win and a Marygrove loss.
UM-Dearborn starts out next week with a home game against Madonna at 5:30 p.m. Then the Wolverines travel to Concordia on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.