CINCINNATI — Tenishia Benson (Akron, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) scored 11 points in her debut as a Bearcat but the University of Cincinnati women's basketball team lost their season opener, 55-46, to the University of Michigan on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Arena.
UC (0-1) outrebounded the Wolverines, 39-30, and played solid defense — giving up only 55 points for the game — but five different UM players landed three pointers and the undeniable presence of Krista Phillips was too much for the Bearcats. Phillips, a 6-6 sophomore center, finished the game with 17 points and six rebounds for Michigan (2-0).
"It was a hard fought game for 40 minutes," said UC head coach J. Kelley Hall. "We asked our kids to do two things, play defense and rebound. They did what we asked them to do."
Kahla Roudebush (Noblesville, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) propelled the Bearcats with seven points in the first five minutes of the game and Cincinnati led by as many as seven in the first half, going ahead 21-14 at the 5:54 mark. The Wolverines went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 21 with 1:50 left. Benson put the Bearcats up 23-21 with a reverse layup but UM's Jessica Minnfield landed a three-pointer with six seconds left to put Michigan up 24-23 at the half.
The Bearcats went on an 8-0 run to start the second half and led, 31-24, with 17:48 remaining in the game. A layup by Phillips sparked a 7-2 run for the Wolverines and pulled the game within two, 33-31. Back-to-back three pointers by Michigan gave UM a 37-34 lead that the Bearcats could not counter. The Wolverines finished the game with 11 three pointers as a team, led by Janelle Cooper, who hit four treys and finished the game with 12 points.
"Michigan brought their A-game tonight. They are much improved from last year and are a well coached team," said Hall. "We gave ourselves a chance to win, we just didn't shoot the ball well enough."
Jill Stephens (Mineral Wells, W.Va./Parkersburg South) scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Cincinnati. Both Stephens and Natasha Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) played the entire game for UC. Graboski also grabbed eight rebounds. Roudebush finished with nine points and five rebounds for the Bearcats.
The Bearcats play Friday, Nov. 16 at Fifth Third Arena in a 4 p.m. matchup against Valparaiso. Cincinnati women's basketball season tickets are available by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or logging on to CATSTIX.com.
UC Women's Basketball Loses To Michigan
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