Page 4 -The Michigan Daily- Sports Monday - November30, 1992
Blue switches styles
Roberts introduces new fast break offense
by Jaeson Rosenfeld
Daily Basketball Writer
The 1992-93 Michigan women's
basketball team is laden with some
familiar faces, but if you're expect-
ing to see the same Wolverine team
as last year, think again.
New head coach Trish Roberts
has migrated south to Ann Arbor
from the University of Maine, and
has brought with her a new look for
The Michigan team of old was
one that depended on its half-court
offense. The Wolverines were
coached to bring the ball upcourt and
to get it in the hands of 6-foot-2
center Trish Andrew in the post,
leading to a slower tempo, ball-
The Wolverines new offensive
philosophy is to push the ball up-
court at every opportunity.
"The (old) mentality was, the
other team scores, (we) jog back and
set-up in our half-court offense. Now
it's the other team scores, grab the
ball, push it up on designated fast-
break and if we can't score off that
then we'll go into our offense," se-
nior co-captain Nikki Beaudry said.
The effectiveness of the Wol-
verines new "run-and-gun" offense
will depend on several factors. First
and foremost is the ability of
Andrew, the Wolverines leading
scorer last year (18.6 ppg), to adjust
to the new style of play. Andrew has
been very effective in the Wolverines
half-court offense, but Roberts feels
that Andrew will fit quite well into
the new scheme.
"We're running a fast break where
she's the last player down the court.
She has the green light to stop there
and take that jump shot if she wants
it. I think that's one of her
strengths," Roberts said.
In order for Andrew to get the
ball in position to shoot a jumper
on the fast break it is absolutely tan-
tamount that Michigan finds a ball-
handler capable of making the right
decisions. This is a difficult role to
fill, as the ball-handler must have
the sure-handedness not to turnover
the ball on the break, the quickness
to cut past defenders on the way to
the hoop, the vision to see the court,
and the timing to know when to
throw the pass.
In her first collegiate game
against the Finland National Team,
5-foot-8 guard Tannisha Stevens
made a strongbid that she might be
just the ball-handler the Wolverines
are looking for. Stevens ran the
court on many occasions and showed
good "court sense", taking the ball
to the basket and drawing fouls.
"One of the bright spots this year
has been Tannisha Stevens. She adds
the type of quickness I'm used to in
players," Roberts said. "We want to
play her at point guard, but at this
time we'll probably play her at the
number two position. She's proba-
bly our best ball-handler."
In addition to Stevens, the
Wolverines will depend on a pair of
senior guards, Stacie McCall and Jen
Nuanes, to guide the Wolverine of-
fense on the fast-break. Nuanes led
the Wolverines in assists last season
while also averaging 11.5 points per
game. McCall is one of the
Wolverines' top ball-handlers, and
will be called upon' to be the field
general of her team at the point
Michigan's corp of forwards must
score points on the break, by con-
verting short jumpers and layups
when good passes are made by the
guards. Beaudry should be a major
contributor at this position, as the
by Rachel Bachman
Daily Basketball Writer
If you're failing your eight o'clock chemistry class
because you've slept through it too many times,
don't complain to Trish Roberts. The new woman's
basketball head coach is not fond of whiners.
Considering that she worked 25 hours a week to
put herself through college, while carrying a full
course load and playing Division I basketball, she
knows what it's like to do it the old-fashioned way.
Sitting in her office on State Street, away from
the glaring lights of Crisler Arena, her eyes have the
same intensity as they do just before tipoff.
"I look at the opportunities kids have today," she
says, resting her elbows on the arms of her chair and
making a steeple with her hands. "They don't realize
how lucky they are."
Practically "raised in church," Roberts grew up in
Monroe, Ga., with her six siblings. The only one
who did not go to a black college, she opted to attend
and play basketball for Tennessee.
"My siblings seem to think that I missed out on a
lot by not going to a black university," she says. "I
think they missed out, too."
If nothing else, her brothers and sisters could not
see her put up 30 points and take down 10 rebounds
per game her senior year on her way to winning all-
With her post-college career came even more deco-
ration. In tue late seventies, she was a member of the
World Games team and captain of the 1978 U.S.
National team. It was at the 1976 Olympic Games
that Roberts took home her most prized basketball
"Winning the silver medal was my greatest mo-
ment as a player," she states.
After her playing career wound down, Roberts held
assistant coaching positions at North Carolina,
Illinois and Central Mihigan. Most recently, Roberts
was at Maine, her first head coaching job. With the
Black Bears, she enjoyed a 72 percent winning per-
centage during her four-year tenure.
"The kids there had very limited talent, but I don't
think I've ever been associated with a group of young
women that worked as hard," she says. "If there was a
loose ball, I knew it was going to be ours."
One wonders why such a suc,"essful player and
coach would want to head a Michigan team that
had only three winning seasons out of the past f9.
What common thread could Roberts hope to find be-
tween coaching a perennial losing team and playing
in the Olympics?
"It's a gold mine here s ,g forward.
"I had my eye on this joi time ago," she
continues. "There's so much this state. If we
go out and sell this progra n, a. k.!i this team.
I just don't think we'll be at twc botto theIN
With track-like conditioning workouts and a firm
approach, Coach Roberts has already implemenLC
some of the techniques she used at Maine. 3
"The thing that surprised me about Michigan waF
the work ethic and the lack of winning attitude of tl
kids," she says. "Our kids went through a very strenoi
ous preseason conditioning program and they're-be
ginning to see what hard work is all about. We're get
Her undaunted determination lulls one into beii
ing that the 'hard work equals success' equatioir
always been true for Roberts. But when she first ap
plied for head coaching positions, she learned tha
politics can be as important as credentials.
Her initial applications to schools all over thi
country solicited a number of responses, one of whici
was from a Big Ten school.
"The response was, 'We would love to hire you as
an assistant coach,"' Roberts says evenly.
Thinking there had been a mistake, she called thI
school's athletic director (who no longer holds
position) and restated that it was the head coachti
job for which she had applied. The woman saidsh(
understood, but hat they wanted Roberts as an assis
"She could have given me reasons why she couk
not hire me as a head coach," she says, then pause
and looks at her hands. "She could have said, 'Yo
don't have the qualifications,' but she didn't."
As a.Black coach, Roberts chooses her battle
carefully, determined to work harder to offset the prej
udice she encounters.
"I've always felt that I had to be not only good bb
better," she says matter-of-factly.
Back in her playing days, she also had to deal witl
Guard Jen Nuanes returns as one of the five seniors that Coach Roberts is
looking to for leadership. Nuanes averaged 11.5 points per game last year.
6-foot senior averaged 9.5 points per
game last year.
Sophomores Carrie Stewart (3.0
ppg) and Shimmy Gray (3.9 ppg),
who both saw a considerable amount
of playing time in Michigan's exhi-
bition against the Finland National
Team, will be asked to run the court
opposite Beaudry. Fellow sopho-
more Molly Heikinnen also saw
playing time in the season opener
Along with a new running of-
fense, Roberts is also looking to
implement a defensive strategy that
is just as intense. Michigan, which
has played a mix of man-to-man and
zone defense in the past, will switch
to a high-pressure man-to-man de-
fense this year, looking to cause
turnovers and facilitate the Wol-
verines' fast break.
A major factor in the effective-
ness of Michigan's defense will be
the stamina of the Michigan players.
While zone defense allows players to
rest on the defensive end, man-to-
man defense coupled with a running
offense should push the Wolverines'
endurance to the limit.
"(Man-to-man) is much more in-
tense then we're used to. It's contin-
uous and there is no resting on de-
fense," Andrew said. "It's definitely
more conducive to stopping the
Andrew herself was quite
formidable in stopping the other
team, as she was number two in the
nation in blocked shots averaging
nearly five per game while also lead-
ing the Wolverines on the boards
(9.9 rpg). It is crucial to Michigan's
defense that Andrew stay out of foul
trouble so that she may contain the
other team inside.
The importance of Andrew's pres-
ence on the court is augmented by
the fact that Michigan has lost four
low-post players to injury. Fresh-
man Jennifer Brezezinski and juniors
Michelle Hall (5.2 rpg), Rhonda
Jokisch and LaTara Jones will all
start the season on the sidelines.
"Looking at the injuries, they're
all big people, so we're a little slim
on the inside this year," Roberts
said. "One of them is to freshman
Jennifer Brezezinski who we were re-
ally counting on to come in and con-
tribute right away. We're hoping
that she'll be back by our first or
Because of the loss of these in-
side players and the fact that man-to-
man defense does not allow for
Andrew to camp out in the lane as a
zone defense does, the forwards will
be called upon to pull down more
In the exhibition against Finland,
Gray was a force on the glass and her
presence must continue. Beaudry was
the team's second leading rebounder
last year (6.6 rpg) and will also be
called upon to hit the boards.
Despite being picked to finish
last in the Big Ten coaches' poll, the
Wolverines have set some high
goals for themselves for the season.
Among them is defying the coaches
by finishing in the top seven of the
Big Ten and posting a winning
record for the season.
It seems that Roberts, listed as
one of the nation's up and coming
women's basketball coaches by
Sports Illustrated, has alre:ady
breathed life into a program that tied
for last (7-21 overall, 3-15 Big '1cn)
in the Big Ten last year and has qua?
ified for the NCAA tournament on
once since its incep, ion in 1973.
"She's come in an 'already raised
the program to a new le s' l," Baudry
Conference plagued by m 0
Coaches project Hawkeyes to survive casualties
by Rich Mitvalsky
Daily Basketball Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - Injuries. Vi-
vian Stringer's top-ranked Iowa
Hawkeyes. These two topics domi-
nated conversation between coaches
at the fourth annual Women's Big
Ten Basketball Luncheon. And for
most of their preseason training,
many Big Ten teams have tried to
figure out just how to eliminate both
The primary encumbrance staring
directly in the faces of most the Big
Ten coaches are their respective in-
jury reports. Virtually all conference
squads have suffered some, if not
significant, losses thus far in train-
ing. And the cause seems to remain
"Well I just got my injury report
back ycsterday, and 10 of my 15
players had something significant
enough to put on the injury list,"
Wisconsin coach Mary Murphy said.
"Wly' I don't know. We just hope
to have t a people to go five on five
Badger Barb Franke, preseason
a-American honorable mention,
and last season's Freshman of the
; eu is lost for the season because
a torn anterior cruciate ligament
her right knee. And although
Michigan first-year coach Trish
Roberts may be a stranger to the
league, her injury reports seem to
match all too well those of the other
Big Ten coaches.
"Right now, we have four players
who are injured, and of those four
we don't know when they'll be
all the trainers, sports psychologist)
nutritionists, sexologists, and eyei
one telling me why they're injured
This is a big joke. But we've ply
in the shoes before, so now they4-
saying the treads are a little woin
and this and that. But I don't buy
They've been playing in worn. hoe
all their lives, and those are str
The cause of rash of injuries.
not be as elusive as it seems.,
season, each Big Ten team:sa
forced to start practice two we
later than in years past because Qf
new mandate. Consequentl
coaches conference-wide were pet
haps squeezing too much training'
to too small a time slot, and the w
and tear may have become evi
in the player's bodies.
"I am not happy that the season i
beginning so soon this year,'
Roberts said. "We definitely -cou4
have used the extra two weets
prepare. With all of our injuries.
don't think we're ready to play jug
In a preseason poll announced
the Tipoff Luncheon, confers
coaches selected Stringer's-I
Hawkeyes as the unanimous favdri
to win its 12th Big Ten women
basketball title. And while othe
coaches were quick to talk ua-
talented Iowa squad, Stringer won'*
have no part in that.
"We're at the point where wba
got to ignore what happens in ih
poll," Stringer said. "I think the-y j
vote us number one every year,
it amazes me how they come
with that. I think they just do itbo
cause they think 'OK this is somi
thing we just have to do.' The-othe
may have placed us there, but the
don't intend for us to finish there."
Surprisingly, however, were.tb
varying degrees to which some,
the coaches approved the Big Ten'
recently implemented gender-equit
proposal, mandating a balancedr
of participation between men's
'We have two people
out with back injuries,
and I don't buy a lot of
the reasons that our
trainers are giving.'
Iowa basketball coach
Wolverines Michelle Hall (foot
surgery), LaTara Jones (injuries to
both knees), and Rhonda Jokisch
(shoulder surgery) help comprise
Michigan's injured reserve list, and
are all players in whom Roberts
hoped to rely in strengthening
Michigan's inside game.
"We haven't got to the point
where all of the coaches have got
.,-. -n"A ,... -1 Aot..na e acnn