Erratic shooting befalls No. 13 Michigan women in tournament defeat to Northwestern

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

The Michigan women’s basketball team was eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament in large part because of uncharacteristically poor shooting decisions and foul trouble.

Michigan, ranked No. 13 nationally, is now 14-5, after losing to Northwestern, 65-49, in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Wolverines had swept both regular-season meetings against the Wildcats. Now, Michigan, will prepare for the NCAA Tournament, which will have its bracket reveal on Monday.

BOX SCORE: Northwestern 65, Michigan 49

Michigan forward Naz Hillmon (00) battles for the ball between Northwestern's Jordan Hamilton (24) and Courtney Shaw (15) in the second half.

Junior Naz HIllmon, this week named the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, led the Wolverines with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Veronica Burton had 25 for the Wildcats.

It was 30-30 at halftime, but Northwestern went on a 6-0 run to start the third quarter and never trailed. Michigan pulled within 46-40 on two free throws by Amy Dilk with 9:10 left in the game, but that was the closest the Wolverines would come.

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"Opening the third quarter not hitting shots we usually make, that kind of gets to you a little bit," Hillmon said.

Michigan shot 29% (19-of-65) from the field and was 1-of-15 on 3-point attempts. Coach Kim Barnes Arico said the team was not patient with its shot selection.

“We were settling, especially when we got tight, and not playing for the best shot but for the first shot,” Barnes Arico said. 

Maddie Nolan had four fouls and Hailey Brown and Akienreh Johnson each had three.

The Wolverines, who missed six games during an athletic department-wide two-week COVID-19 pause (Jan. 24-Feb. 7), will take a day off and return to practice to get ready for the NCAA Tournament. 

“One thing about our team is we are gonna take this one to heart and really think about all the things that we could have done differently,” Hillmon said. “Going into this next week we’re really going to be working on ourselves and really trying to get back to what we were doing earlier in the season to get the wins we got and play Michigan basketball. Right now our biggest thing is focusing on ourselves no matter who’s our opponent, getting into the gym knocking down shots and figuring out how to get in our groove.”

Twitter: @chengelis