The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, December 11,1990- Page 11
Women take on Hurons
FU COURT Blue women not
LL PRESS WI.;dealt full house
by David Schechter
Daily Basketball Writer
In the last two games played, the
Michigan women's basketball
sam's train has derailed. The
Wolverines hope to get back on
track tonight against Eastern Michi-
After opening the season with
impressive play, Michigan has be-
gun to slouch, dropping three games
in a row. The Michigan offense is
sputtering, while opposing offenses
have begun to expose weaknesses on
#e, other end of the floor.
Tonight's game will be another
test for the once-optimistic team, as
the Wolverines aim to turn the tide
against the Hurons.
Eastern promises to keep Michi-
gan guessing by throwing a variety
of defensive sets at the Wolverines.
"Defensively they give you full
court pressure, half court pressure,
and they'll come at you for forty
0 mutes," Michigan coach Bud
It was that type of varied pressure
that gave the Wolverines such a hard
time against Central Michigan and
"We're going to have to show
our ability to come down the floor
and break the press for some baskets,
and get into a half court offense and
be productive," VanDeWege said.
0 Offensively, EMU launches a
consistent quick attack, utilizing ball
movement and the offensive skills of
point guard Tonya Watson (12.5
points per game). The Wolverines
will need to implement stronger de-
fense to contain the Hurons.
Containment has been a problem
for Michigan, and Saturday's game
against Youngstown State demon-
"We just couldn't guard anyone
against Youngstown," VanDeWege
said. "That was one of our prob-
VanDeWege doesn't believe his
team's slump is a result of poor play
by any one player, but rather is a
team problem. Defensively, he
hopes for improvement from the
point guard position, and the inside
by Matthew Dodge
Daily Basketball Writer
During most Michigan women's basketball home
games, Crisler Arena is empty.
So empty that the Michigan athletic department tried
to banish the team to the intimate confines of Varsity
So empty that the total combined attendance for ev-
ery home game over the last two seasons - with an
average of 449 fans per game - would not fill Crisler
So empty that most fans save the two bucks for a
Coke by reaching over the bench to borrow the Wolver-
ines' Absopure water bottles.
Well, it's not that bad - but it often seems as if
Michigan and its opponents have been quarantined as if
they had some disease. The Wolverine women seem to
have been shunned for having caught the epidemic of
basketball, and that is quite a shame.
Many basketball fans live in a cave of ignorance
when it comes to the women's game. Regretfully, the
preconceptions of too many fans claim that the
women's game is inferior - so why bother seeing
them play? Here are four reasons:
To provide motivation.
College women's basketball players have generally
spent their careers accustomed to the silence. They have
learned to accept the apathy. But this can make the oc-
casional roar of the crowd seem that much more intense
"It just elevates the games," frosh guard Yeshimbra
Gray said. "You really know you're being watched. It's
just an emotional charge."
Sophomore Trish Andrew agreed. "I get excited with
a lot of fans. It doesn't matter if they're for or against
you. At the NCAAs last year, all the fans were against
us. But it was nice to know that they were there to sup-
port women's basketball."
To prove the athletic department wrong.
This summer, plans were made to move the team to
the cramped Varsity Arena. This eviction fell through
because of several limitations - the greatest of which
is size. The team would have had more room to play if
it had cleared the tables and chairs out of the West Quad
cafeteria and set up two Nerf hoops.
Why should the women's team be forced to leave
Crisler while the men - who have yet to sell out this
year's MSU game - get the place all to themselves?
The departmenit would have dragged the women's
squad down Hoover Street anyway, except for one bu-
reaucratic mishap. The maintenance crew had laid down
the entire basketball court in Varsity Arena before it re-
alized that there would be no room for an out-of-bounds
area. Good thinking, guys. Almost as intelligent as the
idea to move the team in the first place.
"I am glad we didn't go to Varsity. I would have felt
degraded," captain Carol Szczechowski said. "I want to
keep working to fill Crisler. Other teams expect to play
here, and this is our home court. So why change the
setting just because we have less fans? It is degrading to
put us in what is essentially a high school gym."
To see a rising program.
Last season, Michigan made its first-ever NCAA
tournament appearance. This success would normally be
expected to bring out hordes of curious, converted fans,
but the experience has taught the Wolverines to wait
"I would only hope that because we are a better
team, we'd get more people here," Gray said. "But I just
As Michigan wrapped up its best regular season in
memory last March, the fans stayed away. The atten-
dance for the final two home games of the year were
384 and 423, which were close to the season average of
"It will be interesting to see if we get more this
year," junior Leah Wooldridge said. "I'm sure winning
It is the right thing to do.
"People have just not become interested yet,"
Szczechowski said. "The people are at home, but they
are not apt to go out to the game. They have stereo-
types. Women's basketball is not like it was in the
past. But if they don't get out to see us, then they as-
sume the stereotypes are true.
"We are doing what we can to make it interesting.
We can't dunk, and we won't be able to for a long time
- and that is what attracts crowds.
"You would think that older women who go to
men's games would drag their husbands to the women's
games. They should want to see the new opportunities
that they never had. But they are just accepting the
mainstream. They should be happy to see women's
basketball. It has to start from there."
And it has to start now.
Wolverine Jennifer Nuanes chases a loose ball in last week's game
against Central Michigan. Michigan travels to Eastern Michigan tonight.
At the point, Stacie McCall and
Leah Wooldridge will be called on
for greater offensive production and
defensive stops, while the shooting
guards, Char Durand and Jennifer
Nuances, must make similar im-
Forward LaTara Jones saw her
first significant minutes against
Youngstown and may get the call
again against the Hurons.
"She'll be a factor, because she's
playing physical inside," Van-
Win or lose tonight, the Wolver-
ines will take some time off before
their December 22 game against the
University of Toledo. The recent
three-game slide has given clear indi-
cation of what needs to be worked
where we need to, and emphasis dif-
ferent things," VanDeWege said.
"No matter what happens tomorrow,
you're gonna see a different team."
Michigan plays some difficult
games during the winter break. The
Wolverines will face the University
of Toledo, the University of Wis-
consin-Milwaukee, and Michigan
The Spartans will be the Wolver-
ines' first Big Ten opponent. Van-
DeWege hopes a concentration on
fundamentals will set his team in the
right direction in all the games dur-
ing the holiday season.
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