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.”
That journey toward respectability could take a big jump over the next two weeks. Michigan travels to rival Michigan State tonight followed by home games against No. 8 Ohio State on Saturday and at No. 22 Penn State on Jan. 12.
So while it may be early in the season, this becomes a massive early Big Ten stretch for Michigan’s ultimate goal.
“Coming here, we’ve always wanted to turn the program around and make women’s basketball more of a tradition here,” senior guard Carmen Reynolds said. “We’re able to do that now and hopefully we’ll continue to do that with the momentum we’ve carried and the great start we’ve had.”
The next game, though, will be the toughest. For Michigan, it always has been. The Wolverines have historically struggled against the Spartans.
Michigan State has won nine straight games against Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t won in East Lansing since Jan. 25, 2001.
No current Michigan player has beaten Michigan State. Borseth has only beaten Michigan State once in his tenure with the Wolverines.
It is something he planned on bringing up to his team this week before the game.
“Oh yes. We haven’t beaten them in a long time,” Borseth said. “I’ll leave it at that.
“They know it. We know it. And everybody knows it.”
So a win would be massive. It could be another piece in the rebuilding of a program.