Michigan women's basketball team limps to finish line with 79-71 loss at Iowa
Updated 7:24 p.m.
A late-season swoon by the Michigan women’s basketball team continued Sunday when the Wolverines lost their regular season finale, 79-71, to Iowa.
Once 16-4 and on the verge of a national ranking, the Wolverines lost six of their final nine regular season games.
Iowa (19-10, 11-5 Big Ten) extended a 45-35 halftime lead to as many as 14 points early in the second half in front of 6,287 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City before Michigan (19-10, 8-8) started chipping away.
The Wolverines got within 62-55 after a layup by freshman guard Brenae Harris with 8:56 remaining, but Iowa’s Melissa Dixon and Kalli Hansen hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the Hawkeyes’ lead back to 13 points.
Dixon, a freshman, made 6 of 15 attempts from 3-point range on her way to a game-high 22 points. Fellow freshman Samantha Logic turned in a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the Hawkeyes, who have won eight straight and beaten Michigan twice in a 10-day span.
"It's been fun," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder told HawkeyeSports.com. "We had a pretty tough January schedule. At the end of January our coaches are thinking, `Hey, we can do this. We can make the run.' You don't want to tell anybody, because they are going to laugh at you at that point. But I think this team always believed it."
Kate Thompson led Michigan with 14 points while Arnold, Carmen Reynolds and Rachel Sheffer scored 13 points apiece.
The loss assures the Wolverines a No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. They’ll face the No. 10 seed at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
It also preserves the 1999-2000 Wolverines’ place in Michigan women’s basketball history.
That team - led by All-Big Ten performer Stacey Thomas and coached by Sue Guevera - remains the only squad to win 20 games during a regular season. It finished 21-6 during the regular season and 22-8 overall after splitting two Big Ten Tournament games and losing to Stanford in the opening-round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 1989-90 (20-10) and 2009-10 (21-14) are the only other 20-win teams in program history, but both won their 20th game during the postseason.