Michigan women's basketball stumbles to Iowa; Big Ten regular-season title bid doused

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Now, the goal will be winning the Big Ten Tournament after the Michigan women’s basketball team dropped its final regular-season game and chance at the program’s first Big Ten regular-season title.

The No. 6 Wolverines squandered an early 11-point lead and fell, 104-80, to the hot-shooting No. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes before a sold-out crowd of more than 15,000 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday. Michigan finishes the regular season 22-5, 13-4 Big Ten.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark blocks a shot by Michigan forward Emily Kiser (33) during the first half Sunday. Clark scored 38 points against the Wolverines.

It was a matchup of the Big Ten’s top offensive team and defensive teams. Iowa was averaging 84.7 points a game, and Michigan was yielding an average 59.8 points. The Hawkeyes, led by Caitlin Clark’s 38 points, shot 59% from the field and were 16-of-29 on 3-pointers (55.2%). Clark also had 11 assists.

Michigan standout Naz Hillmon led the Wolverines with 18 points and 15 rebounds. She entered the game needing seven rebounds to become the first Michigan player, male or female, to have 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Laila Phelia had 16 points.

The game marked the return of Leigha Brown, Michigan’s second-leading scorer who missed the previous six games after suffering an injury late in the game against Indiana on Jan. 31. Brown played 13 minutes against Iowa, and had nine points.

A victory would have given Michigan its first conference championship. Instead, Iowa and Ohio State share the regular-season title, as Ohio State clinched a share by winning at Michigan State on Sunday. OSU and Iowa each played 18 Big Ten games, while Michigan finished with 17 games after their game at Illinois was not rescheduled, and winning percentage determined the shared title. Ohio State finished 22-5 overall, while Iowa was 20-7, and they had identical 14-4 Big Ten records.

Ohio State will be the No. 1 seed when the Big Ten Tournament opens Wednesday in Indianapolis, while Iowa the No. 2 seed, and Michigan the No. 3 seed. The top four seeds have earned a double-bye, so Michigan won’t play its first game until the quarterfinals. Michigan could face Iowa in the semifinals.

The Wolverines led by as many as 11 points in the first half before Iowa settled in and made 8-of-9 field goals to take a 53-39 halftime lead. During that stretch of hot shooting by the Hawkeyes, Michigan went 2-of-12 from the field. Iowa was productive from the 3-point line, making 8-of-16 in the first half.


Twitter: @chengelis

No. 17 Ohio State 61, (at) Michigan State 55: Taylor Mikesell scored 17 points, Jacy Sheldon added 13 points and 10 assists, and No. 17 Ohio State defeated Michigan State 61-55 on Sunday in a Big Ten regular-season finale.

Mikesell and Sheldon were the only Ohio State players in double figures but they received a boost from the bench which scored 22 points.

Nia Clouden led Michigan State with 19 points. She was 4 for 21 from the field but made all 10 of her free throws. Taiyier Parks scored 15 points off the bench. Tamara Farquhar had 10 points and 22 rebounds. Ten of her rebounds were offensive as Michigan State shot 25% and made only 2 of 15 3-pointers.

Michigan State held the lead for only 1:21, the last time at 51-50 with 3:33 remaining in the fourth quarter. Ohio State then ran off six points on jumpers by Tanaya Beacham and Mikesell and a layup by Sheldon. Leading 56-51 with 2:27 remaining, the Buckeyes did not score again until Michigan State was forced to foul in the final minute.

Ohio State led 22-15 after the first quarter but Michigan State kept it close and eventually took a 41-39 lead late in the third quarter. Jacy Sheldon tied it with a layup and Kateri Poole hit a 3-pointer to give Ohio State a 44-41 lead heading into the fourth.

Ohio State (22-5, 14-4 Big Ten) had already clinched no worse than the No. 4 seed and a double bye in the conference tournament but the Buckeyes could win the regular-season championship depending on the outcome of later games. Michigan State (14-14, 8-9) finished eighth.

Associated Press contributed