Michigan Wolverines: Michigan women's basketball

Safety Jordan Kovacs and former women's basketball guard Courtney Boylan were named the Michigan recipients of the Big Ten sportsmanship award, given to one male and one female athlete from each school in the league.

One member of every Big Ten team is nominated for the award and 24 athletes were selected out of a pool of 300.

Boylan finished her Michigan career this past season, leading Michigan to its first NCAA tournament berth in over a decade. Kovacs has one season remaining with the Michigan football team.

Four football players were honored among the 12 male athletes. Boylan was one of three women's basketball players honored.

QOTW: Favorite Holiday 

March, 19, 2012
St. Patrick's Day came and went Saturday and Passover and Easter are around the corner, so WolverineNation figured it would be a good time to ask Michigan players and coaches this question: What is your favorite holiday?

Check out previous questions of the week here

RACHEL SHEFFER, Michigan women’s basketball player: “Hmm. Probably Christmas. It’s our only time we really get home to the family. A lot of home-cooked meals.”
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- There was this feeling two weeks ago, even if Courtney Boylan couldn't figure it out.

This sense that this season would not end the same. That after two years of missing the NCAA tournament on the bubble, it wouldn't happen again.

It didn't.

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It has been a decade since Michigan has been in this spot. Sure, the Wolverines have played in the postseason before -- actually, every player on the team save the freshmen has

But that was the three-letter variety of postseason. Now, they are in t.he four-letter land of the NCAA as a No. 11 seed facing No. 6 Oklahoma at 7:35 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.

So how can the Michigan women’s basketball team pull an upset and ensure it isn't one-and-done this postseason.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- There was a nervous energy all day. Michigan had been through this before, living on the NCAA bubble the past two seasons.

Both years they were confident. Both years they were disappointed. So the Wolverines weren’t sure exactly what to expect. They would try to remain calm, even if doing so was next to impossible.

Practice made it easier because it was normal. It was something that could be a distraction from whether or not Michigan would be on the NCAA or WNIT side of the bubble this season.

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The Michigan women's basketball team is heading back to the NCAA tournament for the first time in over a decade.

Firmly on the bubble entering selection Monday, the Wolverines picked up a No. 11 seed and will face No. 6 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

Michigan had made the WNIT in three of Kevin Borseth's first four seasons, but this is his first NCAA bid with the school in his fifth year. The Wolverines hadn't been to the NCAAs since 2000-01, when they advanced to the second round.

It will be the fifth NCAA tournament appearance in program history.

Michigan has faced Oklahoma once in school history, losing to the Sooners on Dec. 28, 1993.

Women's hoops off to historic start 

January, 4, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Through two seasons of struggles and two more seasons of almost-but-not-quite reaching the NCAA tournament, Michigan women’s basketball coach Kevin Borseth has been looking for something like this -- for a team that might make the breakthrough he has sought.

So far, his Wolverines are off to the best start in school history -- 12-2 and counting.

“This is what we want to do,” Borseth said. “We want to be competitive, we want to be in the hunt. We want to be a team that’s respected. We want to be what we think Michigan basketball is supposed to be about.”

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U-M women's hoops: 'Find A Way'

December, 15, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The message was simple before the season started: “Find a way.”

Find a way to win games, no matter what. Find a way to keep from bad losses. And find a way to reach the NCAA tournament after two seasons of close-but-not-quite performances by the Michigan women’s basketball team.

That message -- Find A Way -- brings them to this week, the final week before Big Ten play starts.

They insist, though, this season is different than the prior two -- which both ended in the WNIT.

“We’re in a different spot than last year,” senior guard Courtney Boylan said. “We’re a lot further along than last year, especially chemistry-wise, all of us have been playing with one another for so long.”

That experience has helped early -- especially during a fairly difficult schedule. Michigan already has wins against Florida (69-66) and Seton Hall (51-47) on the road along with knocking off Utah (55-50) and Iowa State (56-49) at home.

The two losses aren’t bad, either. Both came on the road -- one to then-No. 6 Maryland, 75-64, and at Eastern Michigan, 77-64. But the main difference with this team is it isn't solely reliant on one person for scoring.

A season ago, Michigan needed then-senior Veronica Hicks to have a big night or the Wolverines were in trouble. The year before, they’d need big performances out of Hicks or point guard Dayeesha Hollins, who has since transferred.

“We’re a lot more confident than last year,” center Rachel Sheffer said. “Just with our starting lineup and the people coming off the bench. You just feel like you’re more confident with each other.

“Last year we looked to Roni a lot more and this year we’re looking to whoever is having a good game. Or yourself.”

Eight Michigan players average more than 13 minutes a game and a ninth averaged 8.2 minutes -- giving the Wolverines more depth as well.

However to finish what they wanted -- which is to make the NCAA tournament after two seasons of being on the WNIT side of the bubble, this week is important.

After playing six of the past seven games away from Crisler Arena, the Wolverines have mid-major teams Indiana State on Saturday and Illinois State on Dec. 22 at home before the Big Ten starts at Illinois on Dec. 30.

“We’re going to have to all we can in these next two games to establish ourselves for post-season play because these two games here are very critical games,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “We had a good start to our non-conference play and we need to continue that.”


Harbaugh: Split With 49ers Not Mutual
ESPN NFL nation reporter Nick Wagoner discusses Jim Harbaugh's comments on "The TK Show," saying that the split between Harbaugh and San Francisco wasn't mutual.