When Michigan State guard Nia Clauden crossed the free-throw line 31 seconds before the end of Thursday’s game, her charity strip throw was the last, Michigan fans noted. Senior forward Naz Hillman has just returned to the game, and senior quartet Raamahi last split the Crisler Center floor. Singing MVP showered Hillmon, and then she quickly disappeared. Yes, Wolverine’s historic senior class played its last game at Ann Arbor.
Well, not quite yet.
Emotions were high when the Michigan women’s basketball team at number 6 won a share of the Big Ten regular season title in the senior evening. And the victory that did so came against a rival in the state who upset Wolverine just two weeks ago.
But it was not a farewell.
“We knew that if we continued to win, we would put ourselves in a position to be the master,” said senior guard Daniel Rauch. “I think we knew we were going back to Crisler. It was not the last. “
Because of Michigan’s success, he will almost certainly host his matches in the NCAA Tournament in the 1/8 finals as well as the 1/8 finals. Although Senior Night was not a farewell, it was a testament to the progress that this class has made. Each of the four seniors left an unforgettable mark in the fourth game as well as in the program.
Hillmon put on a show. She scored 28 points and early supported Wolverine’s hopes. In the shaky first quarter Hillman scored nine of 10 points in the first quarter of Michigan, keeping the Spartans within reach.
“There are nights when we go to Naz, we go to Naz, we go to Naz, and we did it for the first time against (Michigan),” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arica said. “But other people need to do plays, and we talk about it a lot. Other people need to have the confidence to take pictures. ”
Although in the first quarter this confidence was not obvious, it shone until the end of the game. Although Hillman was the only player to score double digits, the rest of Michigan’s list was affected.
Senior striker Emily Keeser led Wolverine’s supporting team with eight points – all of which came after the first quarter – and made nine rebounds.
Rauch and senior guard Amy Dilk did not complete the report, but left their own mark in the game. Dilk broke the Spartans’ defense with his passes, giving six assists, turning the ball only once. She declared herself in the defense, coming up with three thefts.
Rauch scored only four points, but her calm, confident presence was felt on the floor. Her smooth orchestration of the offense has led Michigan to roll the ball just 12 times – one of the lowest scores of the season.
While each senior left their mark in the game, they also left their mark in the program.
“I just want to love them,” Barnes said to Arica. “And tell them every day how much I value them and how much they mean to our program, how special they are and how wonderful they are as people.”
The four came to Michigan, a program that has never won a Big Ten championship before, and they achieved the previously impossible. They set records. They went down in history. And they did it by betting on themselves.
“It’s easy to go to places that have already done that,” Barnes Arica said. “We can go to UConn, or we can go to South Carolina now, or we can go to Tennessee, where they have a rich history and rich traditions, and they’ve already won the championship. Or, you can come to be the first. You can come and build. It’s scary for a lot of people.
“… but our children, they believe. They believed they could come and change the situation. And they definitely did. ”
Hillman, Kieser, Rauch and Dilk make up one of the most historic classes in Michigan women’s basketball history. They helped the Wolverines get their first Sweet Sixteen, and now they’ve won – at least – a share of the top ten of the Big Ten in Michigan’s regular season.
And they are not finished.