For the first 10 minutes of Thursday night’s contest, the waters between the No. 23 Wolverines and the underdog Hoosiers were muddied. Indiana’s scrappy play and determination had the score knotted at 12, and it appeared the home crowd at Assembly Hall was in for an edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Unfortunately for head coach Curt Miller’s charges, Michigan was just finding its range. Once the Wolverines did, IU was in for a long 30 minutes of Big Ten basketball.
By game’s end, UM had emerged victorious 61-43 and improved to 16-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers dipped to 10-9 on the season and 1-5 in league play.
The barrage started at the 9:50 mark of the first period when Kate Thompson splashed a long ball. The three-pointer broke the deadlock, and Michigan never looked back. The Hoosiers slowly wilted under four more UM field goals, three of which were triples, and an 11-of-12 Michigan performance from the free-throw line.
By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the Wolverine’s had buried IU in a 13-point hole and carried a 37-24 edge into intermission. Michigan was aided by eight IU turnovers, 46-percent shooting from three-point range and a 92-percent effort from the foul line.
Michigan didn’t need three-pointers in the second half to press its advantage.
The Wolverines opened the final stanza with a 6-0 spurt, essentially ending any hopes the Hoosiers had of a comeback. Michigan connected on 10-of-20 attempts in the second 20 minutes of action. That proved to be more than enough to overwhelm Indiana, which struggled to make shots the entire night.
IU shot just 23 percent after halftime, hitting only 7-of-31 field goals. Despite the ice cold shooting, it looked as if the Hoosiers might make a run at the Wolverines.
With 10:54 remaining in the game and trailing 52-28, Jasmine McGhee drilled a shot from deep. The three-pointer sparked a 10-0 Hoosier run and just over a minute later the scoreboard read 53-38. Unfortunately for Indiana, Michigan countered with a 4-0 jolt to keep IU at bay.
The Hoosiers made one more push as they countered with a 5-0 run of their own to draw within 13 points at 56-43 with 4:32 left to play. That, however, would conclude IU’s scoring in the game, and Michigan pulled away for the final 18-point margin.
Indiana was paced by Aulani Sinclair with 14 points. Before the game, the senior wing received a commemorative game ball for joining IU’s 1,000-point Club at Michigan State Jan. 20. She was joined in double digits by Nicole Bell with 11 points and McGhee added 10.
Rachel Sheffer propelled the Wolverines with 19 points and received plenty of help from her teammates. Thompson finished with 13 points, while Nya Jordan and Jenny Ryan tallied 10 points apiece.
The Hoosiers now pack their bags for a two-game road trip. The first contest pits IU vs. Northwestern Jan. 28, the only team Indiana has defeated in Big Ten action. IU then takes on Purdue in West Lafayette Jan 31.