ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan women’s basketball team used a 16-4 run to close the third quarter before hanging on for a 65-61 win over Villanova in the semifinals of the WNIT on Wednesday (March 29) inside Crisler Center. With the win, U-M advanced to the first postseason tournament championship game in school history.
Michigan will square off against Georgia Tech in the WNIT final on Saturday (April 1) at Callihan Hall on the University of Detroit campus. Tip is set for 3 p.m., and the game will be televised by CBS Sports Network. Fans can call the Detroit Ticket Office for tickets at 313-993-1700.
Sophomore Hallie Thome led the way for the Maize and Blue against Villanova, turning in a game-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes of action. Junior Katelynn Flaherty went for 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, while senior Siera Thompson chipped in 12 points and five assists in all 40 minutes. Junior Jillian Dunston just missed a double-double, recording eight points and 10 boards as U-M won the battle on the glass, 40-33.
Villanova tied the score at 32 in the early moments of the third quarter, but Michigan responded with six straight points courtesy of Flaherty, Thome and Dunston to take a 38-32 lead with 6:29 left in the period.
Neither team scored for several minutes, but Thome broke that spell with a layup for a 40-32 lead with 4:02 left. Michigan forced a turnover on the ensuing Villanova possession, with sophomore Nicole Munger cashing in for a 42-32 lead. Michigan once again found Thome for a layup, pushing its lead back to 10, 44-34, which resulted in a Villanova timeout with 2:07 left in the period.
Flaherty found Thome for a layup right before the third quarter ended as U-M closed the period on a 16-4 run to enter the fourth quarter with a 48-36 lead.
The Wolverines got layups from Thome and Dunston to begin the fourth quarter, grabbing a 52-36 lead with 8:58 to go.
Villanova answered with a 13-2 run, forcing Michigan to take a timeout at the 5:06 mark with its lead down to five, 54-49.
Thome converted a three-point play on Michigan’s possession out of the timeout, but Villanova once again answered with a triple of its own.
Flaherty hit a three from the top of the key and Thompson beat the shot clock with a long two to push Michigan’s lead back to 10, 62-52, with 2:45 left.
The Wildcats answered again with five quick points to cut the lead in half, 62-57, but Michigan made the stops it needed down the stretch and got three points from Flaherty and Thompson at the line to secure the win.
Michigan led by as many as six points in the first quarter but hit the break with a 29-26 lead as Villanova outscored the Wolverines, 15-11, in the second quarter.
What You Need to Know
» U-M closed the third quarter on a 16-4 run after Villanova tied the game at 32-32 with 7:51 remaining. All 16 of Michigan’s points came in the paint during the run, with Hallie Thome scoring 10 of the points.
» Thome led the way for the Wolverines with 22 points, with Katelynn Flaherty chipping in 18 and Siera Thompson going for 12.
» Michigan will face Georgia Tech in the WNIT championship game on Saturday (April 1) at Detroit’s Callihan Hall.
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Event: WNIT (Semifinals)
Score: Michigan 65, Villanova 61
Records: U-M (27-9), Villanova (20-15)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 1 — vs. Georgia Tech (Detroit, Mich.), 3 p.m.