The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 6, 1990 - Paq 3
One team soared to new
levels while the other
failed to tame the monster
Carol Szczechowski's determination drove Michigan into the NCAA
tournamnent last year. This season, coach Bud VanDeWege envisions
moving his star from point guard to shooting guard.
. Biggest' wins kept
coming for women
by Phil Green
Daily Basketball Writer
After years in the Big Ten basement, Michigan's women's basketball
team finally climbed the conference's stairs last season.
Before the season, the conference coaches figured the Wolverines would
spend the year in their usual bottom location - predicting Michigan for
eighth place. Michigan, however, saw the season unfolding a different way,
shooting for the upper division and a possible NCAA tournament bid.
Led by a core group of seniors, last year's Wolverines accomplished
these goals. Michigan reached the 20-win plateau for the first time in team
history, including a team high seven game winning streak that helped the
team earn its first ever NCAA berth.
After an 8-2 non-conference record and Big Ten opening win, the team's
upward mobility stalled. The Wolverines went on a four game skid
including a devastating road sweep at Ohio State and Indiana. Michigan
quickly found itself establishing residency in a familiar place - the cellar.
Last season's senior co-captain Tanya Powell recalled how coach Bud
VanDeWege initiative some changes.
"After the Ohio State and Indiana trip the coach just sat the seniors down
and we just talked about what we wanted to do. If we wanted to make the
NCAA tournament, if we wanted to finish in the upper division, we had to
take it in our own hands and work harder and I guess everyone decided they
wanted it," she said.
Shortly after the seniors-coach conversation, the Wolverines got their
motor running and began venturing up through the conference. Rookie
center Trish Andrew led the way as Michigan stomped over Wisconsin.
On the ensuing weekend, senior Val Hall played the game of her career as
the Wolverines went to overtime to defeat intrastate rival in what VanDe-
Wege called "the biggest win of my career." Little did he know at the time,
but VanDeWege would be saying that a few more times during the season.
The Wolverines rebounded from a tough road loss in their next game
against nationally ranked Purdue to defeat the University of Illinois for their
first conference road win.
The victory started them on a seven-game winning streak, marching Mi-
chigan over the rest of the Big Ten. Along the way the Wolverines defeated
Ohio State for the first time since 1981, only the second time ever, and "the
biggest win" of VanDeWege's career, and upset fifteenth ranked North-
western in Evanston for yet another "biggest win" of VanDeWege's career.
Many players stepped up to power Michigan during the run. Although
VanDeWege and the players consistently emphasized this team aspect for the
stretch, the key might just have been Leslie Spicer's re-acquired shooting
touch. She averaged over 15 points per game during the streak, including 20
and 22 points respectively in a crucial road weekend sweep over Wisconsin
and Northwestern, to become the team's second leading scorer.
"It was just that my role was different," Spicer said. "Coming off the
bench earlier in the season I was more of a sparkplug, but then as a starter I
was looked to more as a scorer."
When Michigan finally lost it came at the hands of Purdue on a 3-point
shot with less than one minute remaining. Still, the Wolverines resided in
the Big Ten's upper division, with a conference record standing at 10-6,
good for a fourth place tie with Ohio State. They had reached one of the
plateaus they strived for all season.
A split of the final two regular season games left the team's record at 19-
9 overall, 11-7 in the Big Ten; Michigan became a team "on the bubble" for
the NCAA tournament.
On Sunday, March 11, the Wolverines' dream came true as they became
one of the record five Big Ten teams to receive a bid - Michigan was
headed to the tournament. The Wolverines played Oklahoma State on the
Cowgirls' home floor in the first round. Behind 40 points from co-captains
Tanya Powell and returning senior Carol Szczechowski, Michigan overcame
a three point halftime deficit to win, allowing VanDeWege to once again
Eric Riley is expected to post up inside for the men's basketball team
this year. After winning the national championship in 1989, last year's
the c ea ed by w i ni g early ,xifrom the tournament disappointed true Bltue tans.
they created by winning a.
.~ Questions surround
National Championship. Quetionwsrrund
Fisher's new squad
No more Rumeal
by Mike Gill
Daily Basketball Writer
Last season, Michigan returned
four starters from a squad which
"shocked the world," to use a term
Now those four, Loy Vaught,
Terry Mills, Rumeal Robinson,
and Mike Griffin have moved on.
In addition, key reserve Sean
Higgins, who was expected to be
Michigan's star this year, opted
for a professional career.
When Fisher enters Crisler
Arena this year to begin practice,
it will be missing some familiar
faces associated with the Michigan
"It's going to be lonesome,"
Fisher admitted. It's going to be
lonesome for us."
During the past three years, the
four graduating seniors were
instrumental parts of the Michigan
program. The Wolverines won
alnost 80 percent of their games,
compiling a 79-23 record.
"They scored a lot of points,
won a lot of games and meant a
lot to this program. They're going
to be missed on and off the floor.
They were terrific representatives
of Michigan period - not just
Michigan basketball. I'm hoping
that we'll continue to turn out
people like that."
by Mike Gill
Daily Basketball Writer
During the entire 1989-90 basketball season, Michigan coach Steve
Fisher battled the lofty expectations that came with having four potential
NBA first-round draft picks on his team and already wearing national
This season, though, Fisher will march to the beat of different
expectations. There are questions that were assumed givens in past years,
but will not be guaranteed in the upcoming season. One such question is,
"Will Michigan make the NCAA tournament?" Another is, "Can Michigan
be a contender in the Big Ten?"
To be able to answer those queries with a "yes," Fisher has some other
personnel questions he needs to clear up which arose with the graduation of
four starters, as well as the early departure of Sean Higgins.
"It's going to be a rebuilt basketball team," ESPN and ABC basketball
guru Dick Vitale said. "It's going to be a very talented team in certain
Michigan's backcourt is strong. Demetrius Calip, who moved into the
starting lineup midway through last season, will provide leadership for
Fisher's attack. Calip's biggest attribute is his willingness to adjust t9 the
type of offense his coach wants to run. When he took over the point guard
duties from Rumeal Robinson, he allowed Fisher's more controlled offense
to take shape, while Robinson consistently pushed the tempo.
For Fisher, he is not sure what type of offensive flow he will ask Calip
"I don't know," Fisher answered. "I haven't given that any thought at all.
A lot of that is going to depend on the makeup of our team from my
perspective once we get going with them, when I get a chance to first-hand
"I don't know how those three freshmen are going to blend in and adapt.
"I don't know if they are going to come in and give us instant help. l'm
hoping that they are. But that will dictate what we do.
"I don't know how much improvement we're going to make with this
"So I don't know. We're going to do whatever we think is best suited for
this team to make us win.
"Right now, I don't know. I really don't.
"I don't know if that means we'll be more conservative.
"I don't know if that means shoot more threes with a more guard oriented
While this might not having quite the emotional affect of Martin Lther
King's dabble in parallel structure with the "I Have a Dream" speeh
Fisher's "I Don't Know" speech's message comes ringing through. -
What Fisher may know is .that with Calip and sophomores MciabI
Talley and Tony Tolbert, who both saw significant action in their first'Tar;
the guard position is set. In addition, Kirk Taylor will try to step baj oi
the court after missing a season and a half with a torn anterior cruciate-ut
again, questions abound.
"I don't know (if Taylor can play,)" Fisher said a month after last season.
"The knee still hasn't gotten to the level where he feels totally comfortabl
with it. I say his status is still iffy. It's a mental thing right now. It's a
mental thing that you have to break through and some do it quicker thai
others. Some never do it."
But those who have seen Taylor play have been impressed by the leg'
strength and Taylor's basketball ability despite such a long layoff.
The biggest question marks remain in the front court. Eric Riley, a seveui
footer who has less fat on him than a pound of lean bacon, will man the
center spot. Riley, who subbed for Terry Mills and Loy Vaught last season,
will need to remember that this isn't baseball - there is a maxinium
number of fouls you are allowed. Despite limited minutes, Riley kept
officials from swallowing their whistles.
"A lot of it's going to depend on the development of Riley," Vital:
agreed. "He's got to get bigger and stronger to give them a big player on the
inside. They'll still have some active athletes. However, they won't be the
dominant force they've been."
The rest of the lineup will revolve around little-used veterans Chrs
Seter, James Voskuil as well as frosh Sam Mitchell, Rich McIvor, and Jason
Bossard, and junior-college transfer Chip Armer.
Mitchell is actually the final Bill Frieder-stamped recruit to come to
Michigan. Frieder recruited Mitchell out of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix two
years ago, where he averaged 24.2 points per game and 15.6 rebounds. The
6-foot-9 forward attended Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New
Hampshire last year to avoid becoming a casualty to Proposition 48, and
resigned with Michigan. Mitchell may immediately move into the stating
Fisher's first recruiting class did not match the recruiting classes Friede
consistently brought to Michigan. Bossard, a 6-foot-4 guard from Charlotte
was a first team All-State selection by the Associated Press and averaged 3(
points, five rebounds and five assists per contest in his senior season.
McIvor, a 6-foot-9 forward was the Class 4A Player-of-the-Year in
Texas, after averaging 20.9 points and 14.1 rebounds per contest last year.:
In May, Michigan signed Armer (6-foot-9) from Sante Fe Community:
claim that "this was the biggest win of my career."
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the joyride ended the following
Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina against No.11 North Carolina State.
But even though the season ended with a loss, the Wolverines couldn't have
asked for anything more from their magical season.
"It's nice to know that all the hard work paid off, and it couldn't have
come at a better time," Spicer said of her final season in a Wolverine
In the end, VanDeWege, with all of his career "biggest" wins, earned Big
Ten Coach of the Year honors.
Women's future not as
bright as last year's success
by Phil Green
Daily Basketball Writer
Following last season's tremen-
dous success, there could be pres-
sure on this year's women's basket-
ball team to repeat the performance.
However, the likelihood of high ex-
pectations for Michigan is slim.
Michigan lost four out of five
starters to graduation, and five of its
top nine players from last year's
squad. While the rest of the Big Ten
will probably count out the inex-
perienced Wolverines this year,
her from point guard to shooting
guard. The improved play of the
other point guards, Leah Woolridge
and Stacie McCall, grant VanDe-
Wege the opportunity to change.
Another major difference this
year for the Wolverines will be up
front, where all three starters
graduated. Last season's rookie
sensation, the Big Ten's leading
shot blocker, Trish Andrew will
anchor a front line that should
maintain the height advantage it had
over most teams this ewn.n