The Wolverines suffer their second setback of the season
In a competitive Sunday afternoon affair at Mohegan Sun Arena, No. 8 Florida State proved too much to handle for No. 24 Michigan in the fourth quarter and defeated the Wolverines, 79-69. Michigan fell to 9-2 on the year while Florida State improved to 12-0.
For the Wolverines, sophomore guard Amy Dilk turned in a career high 26 points and senior forward Kayla Robbins contributed 20. For the Seminoles, redshirt senior forward Kiah Gillespie secured her first career triple-double by posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Senior guard Nausia Woolfolk added 21 points.
This was Michigan’s third contest against an ACC opponent — having lost to Notre Dame and defeated Syracuse, both at home — and their first against a ranked team this season. This was also the Wolverines’ final contest before beginning Big Ten conference play on December 28 at No. 13 Maryland. Below are two main takeaways from the contest:
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1) The Wolverines proved they can play with the country’s elite
As mentioned, Michigan entered Sunday’s matinee having split its two games against ACC opponents, coming up short to Notre Dame, 76-72 before defeating Syracuse in overtime, 84-76. In its first game against a ranked opponent, Michigan remained competitive with No. 8 Florida State, one of the ACC’s premiere teams and a national contender this season.
The Wolverines were aggressive from the opening tip, racing out to 12-3 lead in the first six minutes of the contest. They kept the game close for the majority of the first three quarters, entering the final period down just two. Even when it seemed as though the Seminoles might pull away for good — Florida State built a 62-52 lead with 5:47 remaining — Michigan responded with a 9-2 run in the next two minutes to cut the deficit to three. Ultimately, several misses by Robbins under the rim and free throws by FSU made the lead insurmountable in the waning moments of the game.
Although they couldn’t make the run that pushed them over the hump, the Wolverines should be extremely encouraged with their effort in their first game of the year against a Top 25 team. Michigan will face several opponents in the AP poll throughout conference play, such as No. 12 Indiana, Maryland and No. 19 Michigan State, so this was an ideal tune-up before the thick of the Wolverines’ schedule begins.
2) Sophomore guard Amy Dilk breaks through
Amy Dilk, a five star recruit in 2018, eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the first time in her year-and-a-half as a Wolverine by posting 26 points on the afternoon. The point guard accomplished her scoring in a variety of ways, such as driving to the basket, knocking down perimeter jumpers, and as the beneficiary of several nifty passes by her teammates.
Dilk also scored with a high level of efficiency on Sunday, connecting on 10 of her 12 field goal attempts while converting 2-for-3 from three-point range. Coming into the game, Dilk was shooting just 39% from the floor on the year but increased that mark to 45% by the time the contest was over.
Michigan Coach Kim Barnes Arico placed heavy expectations on the former Indiana Ms. Basketball entering this season, claiming she has the chance to be a “special player” after having several games last year where she evidently “looked like a freshman.” Dilk has been steady thus far in her second year in Ann Arbor, as this was already her sixth double-figure scoring effort of the 2019-20 campaign, and Sunday was undoubtedly a significant step forward.
NEXT UP: Maryland (12/28)
Michigan’s conference season begins with a bang, traveling to College Park on December 28 to square off against No. 13 Maryland. The Terps are coming off of back-to-back noncompetitive victories against inferior opponents, defeating Loyola Maryland, 105-45, and Georgia State, 114-41. Their only two losses have come against other national contenders, at home to South Carolina and on the road to NC State.
Maryland entered this season as the conference championship favorites, led by Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Kaila Charles. Though Charles boasts impressive 12.2 point and 6.8 rebound per game averages, Maryland is led statistically by sophomore guard Shakira Austin, who’s increased her scoring average by over five points per game from last year. Austin averages 13.7 points and seven rebounds this year and is one of six Terps averaging over 9.9 points per contest.
This game will give the Wolverines a taste of what to expect from the conference this year. The Big Ten was off to its best start in its 39-year history coming into Sunday, with its programs combining for a .789 win percentage nearly seven weeks into the season.
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