#36 Michigan Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Michigan Wolverines

Overall rank: #36
Conference rank: #5 Big Ten
Michigan Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Michigan Team Page


The past season marked a return to good times for the Michigan basketball program. In addition to a 20-victory season and a Big Ten campaign that saw the Wolverines finish at .500, Michigan made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 11 years. The Wolverines’ stay was short and not sweet, and it has Oklahoma to blame for that, but Michigan crested a wave and saw three big things (20 wins, decent Big Ten, NCAA) happen in one year. That gives Michigan plenty of ammunition heading into a season where the Wolverines are expected to be better, thanks in part to the surprising campaign it turned in last year. This is turning into a classic case of what have you done for me lately, for lack of a better song.

2011-12 record: 20-12, 8-8
2011-12 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kim Barnes Arico
Coach Record: 270-205 overall

Coaching is a strong point for the Wolverines, as evidenced by the appointment of Arico as head coach. Arico replaces Kevin Borseth, who left Michigan to accept a position at Wisconsin-Green Bay after five seasons at the Wolverine helm. Her 10 years coaching St. Johns will play handsomely into the Wolverines’ favor, as St. Johns finished 13-3 in the Big East and took second behind Notre Dame. Scoring will be a big factor in Michigan’s success, and one of the two leading scorers is back. Rachel Sheffer can score and block a basketball, and she’s certainly no slouch when it comes to rebounds. Three of the five leading scorers are back, including Kate Thompson and Jenny Ryan, and seven of the top players already have state of Michigan connections.

Losing Courtney Boylan and her 12.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game will be hard to overcome, even though the team has three of its top five scorers returning. These three starters accounted for 172 of the team’s 437 turnovers a year ago, so Boylan, Thompson and Ryan have to take better care of a basketball. Reynolds’ exit robs the team of its top 3-point shooter, but the Wolverines have plenty of perimeter help returning to lead the fray. Boylan’s exit also robs the team of 1,026 minutes of action, the second-highest total on the team. Other players will have to step in and take charge to recover from that situation.

Final Projection:
A new coach with a strong background, combined with the return of at least one top scorer and the promise of several other players coming in for help, should spell better times ahead in Ann Arbor. A tough non-conference schedule that includes Xavier, Utah, Seton Hall, Duke and Florida will help prepare Michigan for the challenges ahead. Having 11 of the first 15 games at home and a 12th (in Ypsilanti) so close the Wolverines could leap over there will be big for the Wolverines. If the team can generate strong conference play, 25 wins and a longer tournament run might not be too far away

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Rachel Sheffer, Senior, Center/Forward, 12.8 points per game, 4.6 rebounds
Jenny Ryan, Senior, Guard, 6.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game
Kate Thompson, Senior, Guard, 8.2 points, 2.7 rebounds per game, second on team  with 38 3-point field goals
Nya Jordan, Senior, Forward, 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds
Nicole Elmblad, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds

Madness 2012 Women's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#126 Madison Ristovski
#145 Rebecca Lyttle