Michigan Wolverines Women’s Team are Ready to Prove They Belong | WMahaz News

New can feel different. Scary even. For Kim Barnes Arico, who has been head coach of the Michigan women’s team since the ’12-13 season, Year 12 has been just that: “Different.”

The Wolverines, who finished with a 23-10 record last year, lost three starters after their second-round exit in the NCAA tournament, including All-Big 10 standout Leigha Brown, who was drafted in the second round of the 2023 WNBA Draft, two-year starter Maddie Nolan, who transferred to Colorado, and Emily Kiser, who is now hooping overseas in Greece. For Barnes Arico, different is now the Wolverines’ reality. “This is really, really different,” Barnes Arico said in the Detroit Free Press. “We’re the type of program, we build it, you pay your dues, you come in [as a] freshman and work hard then leave as an all-conference player…that’s kind of been the history of our program, you come in, you work and reap the benefits later. With three players graduating, we needed to fill those holes with experience…that was the direction we had to go in this year.”

Barnes Arico and her coaching staff got right to work during the offseason by taking advantage of the transfer portal and bringing in three graduate students to help lead this Wolverine squad. There’s former Missouri starter Lauren Hansen, who averaged 12.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game last season and excels off the court, too—the 5-8 guard graduated from Missouri with a degree in communications.

Australian standout guard Elissa Brett made a name for herself at Bowling Green, where she is ranked No. 7 all-time in threes made and 15th all-time with 1,358 points. Meanwhile, Michigan native Taylor Williams is a 6-2 forward who led Western Michigan in rebounds for three years and topped the 1,000-point mark for her career in her final game with the Broncos. According to Barnes Arico, the Wolverines needed a point guard, someone to hold it down on the post and rebound, and a sharpshooter “who can bang down threes.” 

Michigan also has some returning bucket-getters, including junior Laila Phelia, who spent time with Team USA and, while there, focused primarily on her defense. According to the Detroit Free Press, the 6-0 guard says she’ll be “emphasizing that defense and being able to bring that ability to the team along with leadership, because we did lose some of the best,” which is exactly the kind of energy the Wolverines will need in a stacked Big 10 conference that includes powerhouses like Iowa and Ohio State.

With a remaining roster that includes seniors Cameron Williams, Whitney Sollom and Elise Stuck, a solid junior class that features guards Greta Kampschroeder and Jordan Hobbs (both of whom had multiple starts last season), sophomores Chyra Evans and Alyssa Crockett and freshmen Taylor Woodson and Macy Brown, the Wolverines might be deemed “inexperienced” by some, but not us. Don’t sleep on ’em. Suiting up in maize and blue comes with high expectations.  

“When you’re at the University of Michigan, the expectation every year is that you win championships,” Barnes Arico told the Detroit Free Press. “Even though this is going to be a year with some inexperience, I think because we are back to a little bit of an underdog, a little bit
of a chip on our shoulder, our players have something to prove.” 

Source website: www.slamonline.com

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