No. 21 Michigan Falls Short at No. 23 Iowa in Battle of Ranked Teams

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 21-ranked University of Michigan women’s basketball team got within two points with 3:41 remaining, but No. 23-ranked Iowa ripped off eight straight points en route to an 82-72 win over the Wolverines on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 31) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Senior Katelynn Flaherty led the way for the Maize and Blue, turning in 24 points. Freshman Deja Church joined her in double figures with 11 points, two assists, two rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Kayla Robbins continued her strong play of late, going for 11 points, three boards and an assist in 19 minutes of action. Michigan shot 41.9 percent (21-for-62) from the floor and was outrebounded, 38-30.

Michigan fell behind by 11 points in the second quarter before making a late push to hit the break down just four, 34-30. Senior Jillian Dunston banked one off the glass with just two seconds left in the quarter to pull the Wolverines closer. Michigan outscored the Hawkeyes, 13-6, over the final 4:26 after Iowa took a 28-17 lead. The Maize and Blue got a triple from Flaherty, four points each from Church and Robbins and Dunston’s buzzer-beater during the run.

Michigan scored the first four points of the third quarter to tie the game at 34, then took its first lead of the game since the first quarter, 38-36, on a freshman Hailey Brown free throw line jumper with 7:20 left. Iowa answered with five straight points, but Michigan came right back with a Flaherty triple and Church baseline jumper to regain a 43-41 lead with 4:52 left in the third.

Iowa went on a 6-0 run, taking a 52-45 lead with 1:39 left in the quarter to force a Michigan timeout. U-M got a layup from sophomore Akienreh Johnson on its ensuing possession, but Iowa scored four more points to head into the fourth quarter with a 56-47 lead.

Junior Hallie Thome converted on a three-point play with 6:40 left to pull Michigan back within six, 60-54. Flaherty hit her fourth triple of the afternoon and, after a Michigan stop on the defensive end, hit a free throw at the line, cutting the Iowa lead to five with 4:39 left. Michigan forced a turnover and got a Flaherty layup on the next possession to once again cut the Iowa lead. After another Iowa miscue and a free throw from Robbins, Michigan was back within a possession, 64-62, with 3:18 on the clock.

Iowa answered with a 6-0 run to take a 70-62 lead with 2:10 left to force a Michigan timeout and essentially put the game out of reach. After the break, Iowa scored again at the end of the shot clock to grab a 10-point lead. Michigan fouled to extend the game to help provide the final margin.

Michigan will complete a two-game road swing on Thursday (Jan. 4), playing at Wisconsin. Tip is set for 7 p.m. CST on Big Ten Network.

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