By Kaia Zimmerman
The Michigan women’s basketball team has had the best start in history, starting 10-1. One big playmaker for them has been junior forward Naz Hillmon who is making history. In their most recent game against Ohio State, Hillmon scored 50 points breaking Michigan’s single game scoring record for both men and women.
The Michigan Women’s basketball team recently had their first loss of the season to Ohio State, but there was only one thing people were talking about after the game, Naz Hillmon.
Hillmon went 20 of 30 from the field, and 10 of 14 from the free-throw line, scoring 50. To add on, she also had 16 rebounds, securing a double-double.
Hillmon gave credit to her teammates and coaches for the scoring performance.
“They just really opened up things for me, running play after play, giving me touches up and down the floor, whether that was in transition or in our half court. And they just believed in me to make those shots.” Hillmon said in an interview with Mlive.com.
She has gained a lot of accomplishments throughout her college career. In her freshman year, she was named Big Ten freshman of the year and Big Ten All-Freshman team. Her sophomore year, she was named to All-Big Ten first team unanimously, and also scored in double figures for 28 out of the 32 games, as well as, picking up 11 double-doubles throughout the season.
Although those two seasons were great, she didn’t get much recognition until this year, when she became a breakout star. This season, she is averaging a double-double with 26.3 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game. This season alone she has been named Big Ten Player of the Week three times, the ESPNW Player of the Week, and Women’s Basketball Coaching Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Player of the Week.
Hillmon received a lot of praise for her top performance from other basketball stars including Los Angeles Lakers star, LeBron James, who posted on his Instagram story praising her saying “Monster!! Keep going, young queen!!”
While this performance by Hillmon gave the team momentum, Michigan athletics has paused all practices and games for two weeks after the new variant of the coronavirus was found at the university.
“Under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) decision made Saturday (Jan. 23), the University of Michigan Athletic Department will immediately pause athletic activities in all sports, including games, team and individual training sessions, until further notice and up to 14 days,” the Michigan University website said in a statement.
The two-week shutdown can affect the momentum of both men’s and women’s basketball teams who have both had electrifying starts to their season. Time will tell how the break will affect the teams.
One of the biggest disadvantages is that while they are in quarantine, other teams are continuing to play games and continuing to practice and get better.
There has been no confirmation on when the postponed games will be played, and if any of the games during the two-week period will be canceled.
Although this performance by Hillmon might not help the momentum for the schedule ahead because of the pause on the season, this was a huge moment for Hillmon, the Michigan program and women’s sports.