By JACK VANASSCHE, Staff Writer
The University of Michigan-Dearborn women’s basketball team knew they were running out of time to show their true potential with only one game remaining on the schedule.
Saturday, in their final game of the long season, the Wolverines upset the Aquinas Saints by a score of 72-53.
The Wolverines were able to translate seemingly every lesson learned over the season to a statement victory.
Sophomore Olivia Hauser was proud to show what her team is capable of in their last chance of the year.
“This is us. This is what we can do.”
The Wolverines seemingly did it all in their victory over a solid Aquinas team.
Even with freshman guard Jenna Rogers out of the game with a knee injury, the Wolverines were able to play quality minutes the entire game.
It was a great shooting game for the Wolverines, as they had four girls in double-digit scoring. Megan Swick posted a game-high 17 points, Marisa Sauve followed close with 16 points, Olivia Hauser put up 11, and Kendall Rose finished with 10.
As a team, the Wolverines shot 46 percent from the field. They were also a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line.
On the glass, the Wolverines were dominant, snagging 44 rebounds to the Aquinas 27.
“I think that was probably the best ball movement we’ve had all year,” interim head coach Jordan Sweeney said.
That ball movement translated to the stat sheet, as the Wolverines committed only 13 turnovers on the game.
On the defensive end, the Wolverines actually forced Aquinas into committing 14 turnovers.
“I’m just so happy for the girls, to send them out through this challenging year with a win,” Sweeney said. “We’re off on a high note.”
Before the Wolverines took the win in their last game of the season, they had to take on a tough Lawrence Tech team on the road.
Lawrence Tech was able to pull away from the Wolverines, Wednesday, and take the game by a score of 86-53.
The 17th-ranked Blue Devils (23-3, 19-3 WHAC) had trouble handling the Wolverines early.
At the end of the first quarter, UM-Dearborn was down only one point to the nationally ranked Blue Devils.
But as Rogers went down with her knee injury, the Wolverines were thrown off balance. They were down another body, and the girls on the court were playing heavy minutes.
Lawrence Tech outscored the Wolverines 27-12 in the second quarter to take a secure lead into halftime.
Recharged, the Wolverines came out and played a stronger third quarter, which ended with a Megan Swick three-pointer to bring the Wolverines within ten.
In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils overwhelmed the Wolverines.
UM-Dearborn was held to just three points in the final quarter of the game.
Autumn Whirley’s consecutive three-pointers late in the fourth put the lead out of the reach of any idea of a Wolverine comeback.
Sweeney gave his take on how LTU managed such big runs in the second and fourth quarters.
“With Jenna hurt, we were down to just seven or eight bodies. We were just thin. I think we really just started to get tired.”
Marisa Sauve led the Wolverines with 15 points and five rebounds, but it was not enough to outscore the three-point clinic the Blue Devils put on.
LTU shot 11-for-18 (61-percent) from three-point range; something Sweeney feels could have been avoided.
“They shoot the ball decent, but not really, really well from three,” he explained. “We left some girls wide open, and a lot of those were miscommunications.”
“I definitely think the score didn’t really show how hard we worked,” said Sauve, leading scorer for the Wolverines on the night.
Sweeney reiterated his confidence in his team.
“For 30-something minutes, we hung with a team that is ranked in the country.”
The loss to LTU was soon forgotten following the win on Saturday over Aquinas.
With the Wolverines’ win Saturday and Marygrove’s loss, the Wolverines climb out of last place in the WHAC and will finish the season in 11th place. They finished the year with a 2-27 (2-20 WHAC) record.