Just the Facts, Ma'am: A 28-11 free throw differential helped the Michigan Wolverines survive 26.5% shooting from the field to take one on the road from the Pirates of Seton Hall, 51-47. Rachel Sheffer led all scorers with 18 points, while Courtney Boylan was one rebound short of a double-double with 11 points and nine boards. Alexandra Maseko was the only Pirate in double figures, putting up 12 points to go with seven rebounds and three blocks.
For an awful lot of walking, stupid fouls, travels about New Jersey, and pathetic attempts at a halfcourt shot, join your intrepid and gainfully employed blogger after the jump.
Good. Grief. This is definitely Michigan basketball. It is as definitely Seton Hall basketball. Anne Donovan doesn't seem to have trained her team out of the habit Mangina established in them to chuck and pray. The bench priest can't do that much, guys.
I forgot just how acutely I dislike going to Seton Hall. It's a long hike or an infrequent bus from the NJ Transit station, and on weekends, every gate but the main one is closed, so you end up looping around. Your choices for seating once you get there are uncomfortable bleachers or uncomfortable chairback seats in the upper deck that obscure your view. The sound system is way the hell too loud. The crowd is normally depressing.
And that's not even including the basketball. Because Christ on a pogo stick, was this a bad first half of basketball.
I do like the Allen and Ginter cards the Hall has of Anne Donovan. Allen and Ginter's pretty ace, and I knew they were doing women's cards (I had the Leslie mini-card before trading it to someone who would appreciate it more), but that's still cool.
Band uniforms are lazy, but I like their variety in music. It takes a lot to do the Doors on marching band. Clean up the brasses, though.
Kevin Borseth's a year away, I think. Something isn't clicking with this team. The only thing that worries me is that it might be the screaming and the towel-throwing. We'll see if the chemistry improves with him recruiting players that are more comfortable with this style, or if it's going to explode in his face. I think players who play that style of swarming man and tight zone are going to be okay with being screamed at, though.
Nya Jordan, I don't care that your last name is Jordan, you don't get to stand there and admire your shots. Strangely enough, she followed everyone else's shots- I have no idea how she ended up with eight rebounds. Kate Thompson may be the tallest woman I've ever seen listed as a guard. She's 6-4- there's no reason she should be taking that many threes, especially when she proved she could finish inside. Kendra Seto provided a nice spark for them in the first half, cooling off with some stupid fouls in the second. Sam Arnold played briefly and showed me nothing.
What in the world is up with Carmen Reynolds? She didn't hit a shot and looked pretty wretched out there. Same with Jennie Ryan, though she at least seemed to be more involved in the flow of play. I was expecting more out of them. Courtney Boylan came up big in the second half, but I'm not sold on her as a point guard. She's a Minnesota kid, and I think she thinks she's Lindsay Whalen, but she's... more Jennifer Derevjanik. I liked her pass fakes during practice, but she was mostly not all that great during games. She tried to make too many plays and complained too much about calls she wasn't getting. Nicole Elmblad got the start, but barely played, which makes me wonder if she's a regular starter, or if Thompson or Jordan had received a disciplinary benching. Rachel Sheffer's ability to take contact and get to the line impressed me. She got popped in the mouth late in the game- didn't look like she lost any teeth or anything, but she still kept her composure and her mind on the game surprisingly well for having a hand over her mouth.
Chizoba Ekedigwe looks like a freshman, and looks like an Anne Donovan post. She has promising physicality, but she makes stupid freshman mistakes. It happens. Terry Green's shot has gotten streakier, and she committed a lot of stupid fouls from behind- and then tried to act innocent each time. I abhor that kind of acting and whining. Elaine Swaby was credited with three steals, which I call shenanigans on- she had one nice one, but that's the only decent play I can remember her making. Things seemed to go horribly wrong whenever she went into the game. Every team has one of those players, it seems. Breanna Jones played briefly, looking like a very big Tari Phillips fan with the ankles, knees, and elbows wrapped, and with the headband; if all her accessories were black, the resemblance would have been a lot stronger. That was all I remember about her.
I was hard on Alexandra Maseko last year- she didn't usually have her head in the game, which led to a lot of stupid mistakes, but she showed out today. Nothing spectacular, but nothing too awful, either. Tajay Ashmeade does not impress me as a starting center- not a great shooter and doesn't know how not to foul, which meant that she fouled out on a play that a more sensible post would have known not to make (a blatant bump and hack; she knew it was a foul as soon as Aliberti blew the whistle). I can't put my finger on what I liked about Nicosia Henry, but she always seemed to be making the right play at the right time. Every team has one of those players too, it would seem. I was exceedingly disappointed in Jasmine Crew. I was told to expect her to be a one-woman show, and I think she agreed with that assessment- the only problem was that Michigan hassled her into throwing up some of the dumbest shots that I've ever seen thrown up- and please bear in mind I'm a Liberty fan who saw Sherill Baker for the better part of two seasons. I think she hit the underside of the backboard twice. They're going to need her to show much better judgment if they want this to work. Brittany Morris did a good job of looking like she kept her composure, even if the stat line wouldn't indicate it. Against less swarming defenses, I think she'll be fine.
I wouldn't have gone for the intentional foul quite as quickly as Donovan did; then again, Donovan knows her players better than I do and probably knew that Crew was going to waste too much time at the other end of the court with fancy dribbling.
Seton Hall probably did a lot of bitching about the refs after the game, but most of those calls were merited, and there were a couple that they missed. I'm sure Michigan got away with stuff too, but the foul differential accurately reflected the style of play. I'm not thrilled about having a team in my conference that likes to bump from behind. There were also some strange non-calls that had me scratching my head. It was a crew I expected better from, too: DeMayo, Aliberti, and Rachelle Jones.
Part of me likes that the Hall has... less traditional... body types on their dance team. The shallow part of me thinks that they shouldn't wear such tight uniforms if that's the route they're going to go.
I don't want to say the male cheerleaders for Seton Hall have slippery pants, but the flag runner almost lost his during the running of the flag; fortunately, he took the opportunity to pull them up when the giant huge flag collapsed on him after two of his buddies relieved him of it.
Too much fluff in the SHUbars, too much pepper on the SHUpuds.
I would have let loose a little more on the refs in the first half, but sitting next to the bench priest does put the kibosh on that. The most I got away with "THE THINGS I WOULD SCREAM AT YOU IF THE PRIEST WASN'T RIGHT THERE!" He moved across the way to sit with the cheerleaders for the second half. Judging from the strange bounces, he's slacking. (Strange bounces off the rim. Of the ball.)
There was a post-game autograph session, and our Seton Hall poster signed by half the team fell off its perch above the linen closet, so it seemed prudent to get a new one signed by the entire team. Friendly enough bunch to people they knew, and a couple were friendlier towards strangers, Maseko especially.
The crowd was loud and into the game, which is an unusual experience at Seton Hall, and I like that. They're going to need that kind of support if they want to get anywhere; this team isn't talented enough to win without wringing every last ounce of homecourt advantage out of South Orange.