ANN ARBOR, MI – Michigan freshman Hallie Thome put back her own missed shot with 8 seconds remaining Monday night, and the Wolverines held off two last-gasp looks by Temple to slip by the Owls and into the WNIT semifinals for the second straight year.
Michigan (21-13) will play Florida Gulf Coast in one semifinal; that game at FGCU is set for Thursday, March 31 at 8 p.m. ET.
The Wolverines had multiple chances to score on their last possession, chasing down offensive rebounds repeatedly until Thome got the ball on the lower left block. Her first shot was short, but she followed it and converted a layup to make it 77-76. Temple’s Feyonda Fitzgerald was called for an offensive foul with 4 seconds left, as Michigan’s Danielle Williams took the charge.
After a timeout, the Wolverines threw away the inbounds pass, giving the Owls (23-12) one last opportunity. Alliya Butts ended up with a clean look from the top of the 3-point arc, but the ball rattled in and out as time expired.
Michigan trailed by 14 points after one quarter but calmly worked its way back into contention, tying the game after three quarters at 60-all with an 8-0 run in the final minute. The Wolverines scored 51 points in the middle two quarters.
For Michigan, Katelynn Flaherty closed with 23 points; Madison Ristovski added 19 points and nine rebounds, and Thome closed with 13 points and eight rebounds. The Wolverines had a 46-35 edge in rebounds.
Temple got 25 points and seven rebounds from Donnaizha Fountain; Tanaya Atkinson added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Erica Covile chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Florida Gulf Coast 61, Hofstra 46
FORT MYERS, FL – Florida Gulf Coast stayed true to its instincts Monday in the WNIT quarterfinals, making Hofstra uncomfortable with aggressive defense and also building a large early lead as the Eagles advanced to the semifinals.
FGCU (32-5) will play Michigan in one semifinal; the game is at the Eagles’ gym and will tip off at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 31.
The Eagles (who allow just under 50 points per game) had a 15-point lead at halftime, when Hofstra (25-9) shot just 29 percent from the field. The Pride did score 20 points in the third quarter and got within double-digits on a few occasions, but the Eagles were never seriously threatened.
Kaneisha Atwater had 19 points and nine rebounds for Florida Gulf Coast; Whitney Knight came through with 16 points and 14 rebounds, along with two blocked shots. The Eagles led the rebounding battle, 52-35, and were not hurt by their 7-of-14 effort from the free-throw line.
For Hofstra, Darius Faulk and Anjie White each had 10 points. Faulk (who played all 40 minutes) added 10 rebounds, and White reeled in eight rebounds – the Pride ended up shooting just 1-of-16 from 3-point range and shot just 29 percent from the field overall.
Oregon 71, UTEP 67
EL PASO, TX – Oregon fought back from an 18-point deficit in front of UTEP’s 9,000-plus fans Monday night and earned a spot in the Postseason WNIT semifinals by handing the Miners their first loss at home for the entire 2015-16 season.
The Ducks (24-10) will travel to South Dakota for their semifinal matchup; tipoff for the game is 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 30.
UTEP (29-5) took a 60-58 lead with 3 minutes, 19 seconds to go on a 3-pointer from Starr Breedlove, but Oregon went on a 10-0 run to build some breathing room that proved necessary before making it to the final buzzer. Cameasha Turner hit a 3-pointer for UTEP with 24 seconds left to make it 70-64, and Jenzel Nash got loose for a layup to cut the score to 70-66 with 18 seconds to go. Turner hit a free throw; UTEP did get two shots on its last possession but couldn’t convert.
Oregon continued its hot shooting from 3-point range (8-of-14, 57 percent) and had five players reach double figures in scoring. Lexi Petersen had 16 points and five rebounds, and three players (Kat Cooper, Lexi Bando and Maite Cazorla) each had 14 points. Cooper had nine rebounds; Jacinta Vandenberg closed with 10 points and eight rebounds. The Ducks had 20 turnovers, but shot better than 50 percent from the field.
The Miners got 19 points from Turner, while Breedlove and Nash each scored 17 points. Breedlove also contributed five rebounds and six assists, while Chrishauna Parker had nine rebounds. UTEP was hurt by going just 4-of-12 from the free-throw line.