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Michigan's combination of leadership and talent has Kim Barnes Arico excited

The University of Michigan is coming off its first tournament appearance in 11 years last season and new coach Kim Barnes Arico is looking forward to making a return trip to the tournament with the Wolverines after her St. John's Red Storm ended their tournament hopes in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Having lost guard Courtney Boylan to graduation, the Wolverines are hoping that a nucleus that includes strong leadership, seasoned talent, and a quick adjustment from a top recruit helps them take the next step as a program, as reported by David Goricki of The Detroit News.

The Wolverines should have a strong nucleus. The team's top recruit is Madison Ristovski, who was named Miss Basketball last season for Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. Senior guard Jenny Ryan (6.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4 assists last season) joins Ristovski in the backcourt with 6-foot-1 senior Rachel Sheffer (12.8 points) up front.

"Madison Ristovski has come in and really been tremendous," Barnes Arico said. "I think she can really be a special player for us. She's really come in and adjusted to college basketball pretty smoothly."

One thing Michigan might have to improve upon this season is its rebounding: although they have some height on the roster, Michigan's tallest players weren't their best rebounders in the 2011-12 season. Instead they got by with outshooting their opponents and being an extremely efficient ball handling team (in fact, their Four Factors differential profile is extremely similar to what the San Antonio Silver Stars have done over the past few years in the WNBA).

For more on the Victors Wolverines, check out Goricki's full article.