Stanford, CA – Rachel Sheffer tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds as the eighth-seeded Michigan Wolverines held off the ninth-seeded Villanova Wildcats, 60-52, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Maples Pavilion.
Kate Thompson led all scorers with 17 points for the Wolverines (22-10), who will play top-seeded Stanford in Tuesday's second round. Jenny Ryan scored 13 points in the triumph, while Nya Jordan added 12 points and nine boards.
Laura Sweeney shot 7-of-10 from the field on her way to 16 points for Villanova (21-11), while Devon Kane came off the bench to add 12 points.
Although Michigan shot just 36 percent from the field in the first half, it drained all six of its free-throw attempts as it went into the break with a 26-24 lead. Villanova shot only 37.5 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, but it used a 7-0 run at the end of the half to close the gap.
After the Wildcats tied the game early in the second half, the Wolverines ripped off a 9-0 surge over the next three minutes. Villanova brought its deficit to just one with under eight minutes to play, but Michigan used a 12-3 run down the stretch to seal its fate.
Michigan won the rebounding battle, 39-28. Villanova was plagued by a poor 3- point shooting night (6-of-26).