Women’s Hoops Stumble to Start Conference Play

By JACK VANASSCHE, Staff Writer

In their opening week of conference action, the University of Michigan-Dearborn women’s basketball team fell in both of their two games.

Wednesday, the Wolverines opened up conference play against No. 8 ranked Davenport University at the Fieldhouse. Despite a tough battle from the Wolverines, Davenport pulled away late to win 75-54.

Despite sitting as the top-ranked team in the conference, the Panthers (5-1, 2-0 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) were not able to pull away from the Wolverines (3-6, 0-2 WHAC) until late in the fourth quarter.

“It all starts with just playing hard,” said UM-Dearborn head coach Jordan Sweeney on his team’s battle with goliath Davenport.

“We matched their intensity, and with a few more shots we would have been right there with them.”

Solid shooting from the Wolverines was key in keeping up with the Panthers. UM-Dearborn shot 36 percent (22-of-60) from the field and 4-of-12 from three-point range.

Sophomore Natalie Spala posted a game-high 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Kendall Rose tallied 14 points with the help of three three-pointers.

Saturday, the Wolverines traveled to Ohio to take on a scuffling Lourdes squad that had not previously won a game.

UM-Dearborn struggled with turnovers all night in the 81-71 loss to the Gray Wolves.

The Gray Wolves (1-6, 1-1 WHAC) did not play like a team, still searching for their first win in their seventh game.

Instead, Lourdes ran a fast-paced game and kept the Wolverines off balance by forcing 32 turnovers.

“There are so many factors in making turnovers,” said Sweeney. “We struggled with all of them.”

“It was physical and scrappy, but we need to focus on ball security.”

Despite the turnovers, a productive shooting game kept the Wolverines within striking distance. UM-Dearborn trailed by just five points at halftime and that margin held heading into the fourth quarter.

As a team, the Wolverines shot 40 percent (24-of-59) from the field, led by junior Megan Swick.

Swick scored a game-high 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, while Bri Alspaugh scored 11 points off the bench.

This week, the Wolverines will look to bounce back by taking on conference foe Indiana Tech on Tuesday. Saturday, the Wolverines will head south to take on Indiana University-Kokomo before coming up to take on Wayne State on Sunday.