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January 24, 1994 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-24

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, January 24, 1994 - 5

Cagers still looking for Big Ten triumph
60-point first half paves the way for Nittany Lion victory, 97-53

By J.L ROSTAM-ABADI
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
After putting up a memorable fight
against No. 18 Ohio State Friday, the
women'sbasketball team played a game
that was altogether forgettable yester-
day.
The Michigan highlights from the
97-53 drubbing by Penn State were
few, and the afternoon came to a de-
pressing climax when Penn State guard
Carla Coleman crashed to the floor
after colliding in mid-air with a Michi-
gan player on a lay-up attempt. The
accident took place midway through
the second half with the Nittany Lions
ahead, 74-37.
Coleman was later taken by ambu-
lance to the University Medical Center
for the injury initially diagnosed as a
backsprain. Hours later, shewas treated
and released, a relieving end to a fall
that looked much worse when it oc-
curred.
"After Carla's injury, we weren't
really interested in playing basketball
anymore," said her coach, Rene Port-
land.
After the fall, Coleman lay face-
down, motionless, and reportedly had

little feeling in both her legs. She left
the court on stretcher 20 minutes later.
Her departure left the Wolverines
(0-6 Big Ten, 3-12 overall) and Lions
(6-0, 14-0) to finish the rest of the
mismatch. A game effort against the
NCAA Championship finalist Buck-
eyes Friday left the seven-deep Wol-
verines unable to physically deal with
undefeated Penn State.
"We played hard Friday night and
then Sunday, with our lack of depth,
kids played tired," Michigan coach
Trish Roberts said. "I think it's some-
thing that's going to plague us the rest
of the year."
Another problem they will face is
unrelenting full-court pressure. Friday,
Michigan handled the Buckeye press
with relative ease by bringing a for-
ward or center into the backcourt to
provide a passing option for the guards.
Sunday, the Lions' tactics stalled the
Michigan strategy.
"They didn't have a player on the
ball, they just clogged the middle,"
Roberts analyzed in her inimitable style.
"We couldn't get it up the middle."
The Penn State press, spearheaded
by point guard Tina Nicholson,

squeezed the life out of the Wolver-
ines.
The taller, quicker Lions harassed
Michigan into 30 turnovers. Eighteen
of them came before halftime, when
Penn State put together a 43-11 stretch
that led to a 60-27 halftime lead. The
press led to easy baskets for Penn State
guard Katina Mack, who went four-
for-four in the first half and led Penn
State with 16 points.
"They're the best team we've faced
all year. They're an excellent team,"
Roberts said. "They had speed, they
had quickness, they had poise, they had
athleticism.
"It's the best-coached team, it's the
best team I've seen in probably the last
two or three years. They are deserving
of their No. 1 standing."
Following the losses of previously-
unbeaten Tennessee and Iowa, the Nit-
tany Lions will climb two spots on the
charts to claim the top spot in this
week's polls.
"I don't think you want to be No.1
before (the most difficult part of the
season)," Portland said, "but we've
been here before."
They've gotten there this time

behind dervish point guard Nicholson,
last week's Big Ten Player of the Week.
The 5-foot-3 Nicholson hung an eight-
point, 13-assist, five-steal, one-turn-
over line on the Wolverines and left
them gasping for air.
"She's awesome," junior forward
Shimmy Gray said. "She's so fast. I'd
give the ball to our point guard (Jenni-
fer) Kiefer and (Nicholson) would be
nowhere around and next thing you
know she would be downcourt, having
stolen the ball and going for a lay-up.
She's probably the quickest player I've
ever seen. She's like a lightning bug
out there."
Chasing her all day was Kiefer,
who turned in her second consecutive
40-minute effort. Guard Amy Johnson
and Gray also never left the floor.
Kiefer knocked in two threes and
added another basket for nine points,
second on the team behind Gray, who
threw in a game-high 18 on eight-for-
16 shooting from the floor and added
eight boards.
The high-scoring honors did not
impress Gray much.
"This was the toughest game I've
ever played in my life," she said.

MARY KOUKHAB/DaIly
Michigan's Silver Shellman attempts a shot in yesterday's 97-53 loss to
Penn State. The Wolverines are looking for their first Big Ten victory of the
season where as the Nittany Lions should rise to the top spot in the AP poll.

'M' should listen to
letters more often
s
By BOB ABRAMSON
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
Letters don't usually come by the boxload to the
Michigan women's basketball office.
But when letters actually do arrive, there influence can
be overwhelming.
After Michigan's 64-63 heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin
last week at Crisler, a fan who had never seen a women's
basketball game before was inspired to send along a note to
l@oach Trish Roberts and her staff.
"This guy writes us a letter, said he was really impressed
with our team, and felt we should have won our game
against Wisconsin," Roberts recalled.
"At the end of the letter, he said Jennifer Kiefer needs to
shoot the ball more."
Kiefer, Michigan's point guard, took the advice to heart.
It seemed like the
words went straight
- from her ears to her
right shooting
OURT hand.
. .The freshman
R r n -who didn't even
attempt a shot in
the entire first half
of the Wisconsin
defeat - came to
life in Friday night's contest against 18th-ranked Ohio State.
The guard who had been tentative to shoot the ball all-
season long emerged into a gunslinger from long-range.
l.ittle over a minute into the game, Kiefer launched a three-
pointer that ripped through the net.
By the time the buzzer had sounded to end the first half,
Kiefer had nine points, shooting three-for-three from 3-point
land, and Michigan had a 35-32 lead over a Buckeye club
that advanced to last year's Final Four.
While she only managed to score four points in the
second half against a tight-reigned Buckeye defense that
catalyzed the 81-61 win, Kiefer still matched her career high
of 13 points.
"I'm just starting to look for my shot more," said Kiefer,
the 5-foot-7 floor leader of the Wolverines.
This is the kind of guard production Roberts has been
yearning for all season long. She keeps stressing that this
team won't win unless it gets points from her backcourt.
While Kiefer is fourth in the Big Ten in assists (5.4 per
game), and has been handling the press a lot better in the
past couple of games, Roberts has been riding Kiefer to pull
up and shoot the open jumper rather than pass it up. So far
this season, she has averaged only 6.7 ppg, which is too little
,or a guard who has an accurate outside shot.
She is the only starter who is not averaging double
figures. If she and her backcourt partner Amy Johnson (13.1
ppg) can start shooting consistently, Michigan may be able
to pull out its long-awaited first victory in the Big Ten.
When Kiefer poured in 10 points in the second half of
the Wisconsin game and nine in the first half against Ohio
State last week, the Wolverines were right in the thick of
both games.
But in the other halves of those games, when Kiefer

PSU to take over

BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK

By BRENT McINTOSH
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
If you're going to get blown out like Michigan was
yesterday, you might as well be destroyed by the best.
And Penn State is the best, or at least they will be when
this week's Associated Press NCAA women's basketball
poll comes out. The Lady Lions were No. 3 in last week's
poll, but top-ranked Tennessee fell to unranked Rutgers and
No.2 Iowa was handily defeated by Indiana.
Penn State (5-0 Big Ten, 13-0 overall) is now the
NCAA's only undefeated Division I squad, and few are
questioning whether they should occupy the top slot.
"If they're not (No.1), I'd hate to see who is," Wolverine
captain Shimmy Gray said. "This was the worst game of
my life."
The Lady Lions' 97-53 dismantling of Michigan (0-6,3-
12) ran their series record to 3-0 in Penn State's favor, and
there is no sign that the Lady Lions are subject to upset any
time soon. Their ease in dominating the Wolverines was
startling, to the point that Michigan coach Trish Roberts
already has them on top of her personal poll.
"(Penn State is) the best team I've seen in two or three
years," Roberts said. "They're deserving of their No. 1
standing."
SILvER AND Amy: After the Ohio State game Friday
night, Roberts said that it seemed like it would take complete
games from both guard Amy Johnson and forward Silver
Shellman to earn the Wolverines a Big Ten victory. How-
ever, Roberts noticed that whenever one of the pair has an
impressive performance, the other tends to have a sub-par
showing.
Her statement was evidenced by the stat line from that game:
Johnson threw in 13 tough points, but Shellman had only four.
What she didn't say was what would happen if both rookies
played poorly, which was the case against Penn State.
Shellman managed only eight points to go along with
four fouls and eight turnovers; Johnson played all 40 min-
utes, but had only two buckets in 11 attempts.
"Silver hasn't played well the last two or three games,"
Roberts said. "The last two games she's been totally out of
it. Amy'sbeen alittlebit more consistent the last two games.
We didn't get much scoring out of either of those two, and
we've got to have scoring from our perimeter players -
that's a must if we're going to expect to win any games."

top spot in polls
While three Wolverines played the entire contest, no Lady
Lion saw more than 26 minutes. With Penn State subbing
five fresh players into the game once, Roberts' envy should
come as no surprise.
"That's the kind of depth I will have someday," Roberts
said. "I realize this is a rebuilding process and it's going to
take a lot longer than I anticipated, but I'm confident it will
happen."
MYV KINGDOM FOR A SCORING RUN: One of the deciding
factors for Michigan in this weekend's games was scoring
runs: Penn State and Ohio State had them, Michigan didn't.
The Buckeyes, down three at the half, blazed out of the
locker room on an 11-2 run. They never trailed again and
never looked back in outscoring the Wolverines 49-26 after
the break.
As deciding as Ohio State's run was, the Lady Lions
made the Wolverines look absolutely ineffective. Michigan
quickly jumped out to a 8-5 lead, only to see Penn State
outscore them 25-2 over the next seven minutes.
That insurmountable run started the Lady Lions on the
way to a 60-point first half, the most they had scored in a half
this year and the most the Wolverines had given up.
SMILE FOR THE CAMERA: Sunday's game against Penn
State was the first of two Michigan games this season to be
televised. The game was shown live on SportsChannel
Chicago, just as the Wolverines' Feb. 20 contest at Ohio
State will be, but freshman guard Jennifer Kiefer said the
team was too concerned with finding a win to think about
being televised.
INJURY REPORT: Gray played Sunday's game with both
ankles taped, a large brace on her left knee, and the index and
middle fingers on her left hand taped together. While she led
the Wolverines with 18 points and eight rebounds, she said
the pain in her non-shooting hand bothered her during the
game.
"Today was really bad," she said. "I was pretty sore,
pretty tired, but I'm the oldest on the team, and I'm the team
captain. I can't complain and let other girls hear me com-
plaining and asking to be taken out, no matter how tired or
sore I am. That doesn't look good and it doesn't set a very
good example."

MARY KOUKAB/DaIty
Michigan's Catherine DiGiancinto takes a jumper
during yesterday's 97-53 loss to Penn State.
did not put up as many shots, Michigan was a
completely different team.
"Kiefer is a very good shooter," Roberts said.
"And for some reason, she just in the past hasn't
looked for her shot. But I was real proud of Kiefer
because she did look for her shot more against Ohio
State. I think she really thought about that letter
today."
If only the guy who wrote the letter could send
written advice to the basketball office after every
Michigan game.

NEXT UP: The Wolverinesgo on the road for two games
I NEED REST: Perhaps more against Penn State than any next weekend as they face Iowa Friday and Minnesota
other team, Michigan's lack of depth was painfully evident. Sunday.

'Second-half surge pushes OSU by Blue

8y SCOTT BURTON
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
There was one question that needed
tobeasked afterFriday night'swomen's
basketball game between Michigan (0-
5 Big Ten, 3-11 overall) and No. 17
Ohio State (3-1,10-4).
Did the Buckeyes overlook the
olverines going into the contest?
If one lookedat thefinal scoreboard-
Ohio State 81, Michigan 61-theywould
probably imagine that the Buckeyes had
the Wolverines' number all night. How-
ever, a peak at the scoreboard from half-
time - Michigan 35, Ohio State 32-

the Buckeyes in the first half. Defying
the intimidation of Ohio State's domi-
nation of the series (25-2) and its lofty
national ranking, Michigan used pure
hustle to control the first-half action.
"We're not intimidated by ranked
teams," freshman point guard Jennifer
Kiefer said. "We don't have anything
to lose, so we just go in and play hard."
Michigan would have an early lead
it would relinquish only once in the
half. Michigan was able to run the floor
without much obstruction, converting
numerous transition buckets.
The hot shooting of Kiefer (three-

Michigan 49-26 in the half.
"In the locker room I told them that
they were going to tighten the defense
up and that it wasn't going to be as easy
as in the first half-and I was exactly
right," Roberts said. "A lot of times
when you get really fatigued you make
a lot of mistakes, and that's what hap-
pened in the second-half."
Silver Shellman and Catherine
DiGiacinto carried four fouls for much
of the second half, with Shellman even-
tually fouling out with three minutes
left. WithoutShellman defending Smith
-whoshotonly 3-11 inthe firsthalf-

I -

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