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Posted on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Michigan women's basketball finishes strong in 79-68 win over Northwestern

By Angela Cesere

This story will be updated.

After watching Northwestern wipe out its 15-point second half lead, the Michigan women’s basketball team got hot.

Really hot.

The Wolverines scored on 17 of their final 22 offensive possessions at the Crisler Center on Thursday night to secure a 79-68 Big Ten victory against the visiting Wildcats.

Junior forward Rachel Sheffer scored 17 points to lead four Michigan players in double figures and the Wolverines (19-6, 6-4) overcame 25 points by Northwestern freshman guard Morgan Jones to snap their two-game losing streak.

A Carmen Reynolds’ 3-pointer early in the second half gave Michigan a 38-23 lead, but Northwestern (13-10, 3-7) would outscore the Wolverines 21-6 over the next seven minutes to tie the score at 44-44.

When Courtney Boylan missed a 3-point attempt with 10:17 left to play, the Wolverines had scored 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting over the first 9:43 of the second half.

Junior guard Kate Thompson grabbed the offensive rebound, however, and was fouled on a putback. Her three-point play sparked what would become a complete offensive turnaround.

The Wolverines scored on five straight possessions over the next two minutes -- including six points from Sheffer -- to take a 56-50 lead and would steadily pull away from there.

Michigan made 9 of its last 12 shots and went 13-for-18 at the free-throw line.

Reynolds, Boylan and Nya Jordan all hit 3-pointers while the Wolverines racked up their final 35 points in less than 10 minutes of game time.

Reynolds (13 points), Boylan (12) and Jenny Ryan (11) joined Sheffer in double-figure scoring totals. Ryan added team-high totals in rebounds (8), assists (5), steals (3) and blocked shots (2).

Northwestern’s 6-5 junior center Dannielle Diamant finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Diamant picked up her fourth foul shortly before Thompson's putback basket and remained on the bench for the first four minutes of Michigan's rally.

"I'm really proud of the way we battled back," Northwestern coach Joe McKeown told "We tied it there in the second half, but got in foul trouble, which made it difficult. I thought we had them on their heels, but we broke down defensively there in the second half."

Michigan got contributions from nearly every member of its roster to lead by as many as 16 points in the first half.

Five different Wolverines scored in an 11-0 run that put them ahead 19-9 with 9:23 remaining in the half. When freshman Nicole Elmblad scored less than two minutes later, stretching the lead to 23-11, all nine Michigan players checked into the game by that point had scored points.

When the half ended, with Michigan leading 34-23, the Wolverines’ leading scorers were Reynolds and Boylan with five points apiece. Five other players (Ryan, Jordan, Thompson, Sheffer and Sam Arnold) scored four points.

Michigan hosts Michigan State at 3 p.m. Sunday.


Heidi Koester

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

We love watching Jenny Ryan play, too. She just seems to get the most out of her abilities and gives it 100% every moment she's out there. Actually this describes the team overall, too. They work really hard, and play together. Great role models for our kids and fun to watch! Nice to seem them get the win after a couple of tough losses! Be there on Sunday for the MSU game...

james Kurtz

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

After watching the last 2 home games I believe Jenny Ryan is the best athlete I have ever seen on the girl's basketball court. She can do anything the coach wants.