WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Naz Hillmon scored 21 points, Leigha Brown added 20 and No. 12 Michigan returned from a three-week COVID layoff with a 62-49 win over Purdue on Thursday night.
The Wolverines had not played since Jan. 21, a memorable game in which Hillmon set school record for points — male or female — with 50 in an 81-77 loss to No. 11 Ohio State. A department-wide pause in athletic activity followed and six games were postponed.
The Wolverines (11-1, 6-1 Big Ten Conference) may have been a little rusty on offense but certainly not on defense. Michigan shot 39% (21 of 54), including 2 of 15 from 3-point range and had 20 turnovers. However, the defense forced 22 turnovers and had a 39-18 rebounding advantage.
Akienreh Johnson grabbed 12 rebounds and Hillmon 10 for her ninth double-double of the year and 28th of her career. Brown, who had not played since Jan. 3 because of individual cornavirus protocol, was 4 of 13 from the field but 11 of 14 from the foul line. Michigan made 18 of 23 free throws, Purdue 7 of 16.
Kayana Traylor had 15 points for the Boilermakers (6-10, 3-6), who have lost four straight. Madison Layden added 13.
Despite the almost matching turnovers, Michigan got 24 points after miscues to just 12 for Purdue, which was outscored 17-2 on second-chance points after being outrebounded 15-1 on the offensive end.
The lead was double figures throughout the fourth quarter.
Rutgers is at Purdue on Thursday. Michigan is off for a week before heading to Indiana on Thursday.
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