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March 11, 1994 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

------------- ----- ----------

Men's Gymnastics
Michigan Invitational
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Cliff Keen Arena

S

S

Hockey
vs. Kent State
Friday, 7 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena

0

Blue seeks
conference
crown in
Evanston
By CHAD A. SAFRAN
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
For several seasons the slogan
"Expect Victory" has been the calling
card for the teams of Northwestern.
Those triumphs for the men's basket-
ball team have been few and far be-
tween in recent years. The 1993-94
season, however, has been different.
Under former Detroit-Mercy
coach Ricky Byrdsong, the Wildcats
(4-13 Big Ten, 13-13 overall) have a
chance at a winning record for the
first time since the 1982-83 campaign
when they finished 18-12. Unfortu-
nately for Byrdsong, Northwestern
will have to knock off No.8 Michigan
(13-4, 21-6) to reach that standard as
the Wolverines invade Evanston for
tomorrow's 1 p.m. game.
Michigan, coming off a 81-72 vic-
tory over Penn State Wednesday,
needs a triumph to secure at least a tie
for the Big Ten title, its first since
ending the 1986 conference season in
first. Should the Wolverines win and
Purdue lose to Illinois Sunday, Michi-
gan would win the conference title
outright.
In most seasons a victory would
seem eminent, considering the Maize
and Blue's opponent, but the Wolver-
ines realize that this version of the
Wildcats is much improved.
"Northwestern used to be a team
where people would say it's an auto-
matic win, but they've been playing
really well," Jalen Rose said. "They'd
like nothing more than to knock us
out of Big Ten contention. We've got
to be ready."
The Wildcats play picked up their
biggest win of the season when they
knocked off Wisconsin last Saturday,
66-54. Northwestern then fell to Ohio
State, 76-73, Wednesday, giving the
Wildcats one final but difficultchance
to secure a bid to the National Invita-
tional Tournament.
"Any 14th victory may not do it,
but one over Michigan would cer-
tainly help," Byrdsong said. "If we
can beat Michigan, it would be a win
that would gain us respect."
Byrdsong feels the key to his team
having a change against the Wolver-
ines would be the play of Kip
Kirkpatrick. The senior guard is aver-
aging 11.1 points per game.
"He's the reason why we win or
play well," Byrdsong said. "Most
teams respect (Pat) Baldwin and
(Kevin) Rankin, but Kip has been a
surprise."
Baldwin and Rankin are part of a
five-man senior class that has en-
dured more of its share of downs than
ups during its time in Evanston. After
four years, the quintet has finally been
able to enjoy some success.
Rankin, the 6-foot-I I senior cen-
ter, grabs an average of 8.4 rebounds
per conference game and nets 15.4
points. Both figures lead the team.
Baldwin and Todd Leslie provide
much of the Wildcats outside shoot-

ing power. Leslie leads the team in
three-pointers with44during Big Ten
play. However, he has connected on
only 38 percent of his chances.

'M' drops a close one, again
Women fall short to tourney-bound Indiana, 67-64.

BY BOB ABRAMSON
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
If there was any other incentive
besides trying to escape the Big Ten
season with a victory, the Michigan
women's basketball team had a shot
at keeping Indiana from getting a bid
to the NCAA tournament.
The Hoosiers (10-7 Big Ten, 19-7
overall) on the verge of their first
NCAA tournament appearance since
1983, needed a victory over Michi-
gan to lock up a bid to the tourney.
Try as they may, the Wolverines
(0-17, 3-23) could not be spoilers, or
first-time Big Ten winners, falling
short once again, 67-64.
"We knewhcoming into this bas-
ketball game there was a large amount
of pressure on our basketball team,"
Indiana coach Jim Izzard said. "But
our players responded in the second
half, and this victory puts us in the
NCAA tournament."
Trailing 67-64 with 23 seconds
remaining, Michigan had a chance to
knot the game up, but an Amy Johnson
three-point attempt clanged off the
rim, and went over the top of the
backboard. Thus giving Michigan a
team-record 18 straight losses.
"I think Amy forced her shot at the
end," Michigan coach Trish Roberts
said. "I think if she would of waited a
little bit for another pick, we could've
gotten the shot. But again, she pan-
icked- freshman mistake. Hopefully
next year, she can capitalize on those."
The Wolverines looked like they
might come away with their first Big
Ten victory of the -season, after a
Jennifer Kiefer three-pointer and a

Catherine DiGiacinto pull-up jumper
put Michigan ahead 50-44 with 13:16
left in the contest.
But just as they have been prone to
fold in the second half all season long,
the Wolverines suddenly began to
unravel. Michigan went scoreless until
the 5:41 mark, allowing the Hoosiers
to go on a 13-0 run, including two
three-pointers from Kris McGrad to
retake the lead, 57-50.
"We just went on a cold spell,"
Roberts said. "If we could've scored
three or four buckets right there, I
think that would of made a difference
in the game,"

Michigan cut Indiana's lea(
down to 65-64 on a Johnson bank sho
with 36 seconds left, but with the
Wolverines forced to foul, Indiana'
Lisa Furlin (23 points) nailed boti
free throws to preserve the victory.
"I think we let it slip away a littk
bit," DiGiacinto said. "But then I think
we caught ourselves. We didn't let i
slip away as much as we had in the'
past. We tried to hold on to it."
Michigan came out on the defen-
sive in the first half, holding Indiana
to an impressive 34 percent from the
field.
See BASKETBALL, Page 12

Lack of leadership leads to
numerous on-court breakdowns

By BRENT McINTOSH
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
Would anyone have heard of the
Merry Men if they didn't have Robin
Hood? Would there be movie about
the Doors without Jim Morrison on
lead vocals? .
Not to slight the little people, but
the frank answer is no. Friar Tuck and

this band just doesn't have a-leader.
"I think that if our team did have a
dominant leader, it could make the
difference," Michigan coach Trish
Roberts said.
The maize and blue mantle should
fall on the shoulders of junior forward
Shimmy Gray, the team's lone upper-
classman. While Roberts claims tha9
Gray is the team's off-court leader,
the eldest Wolverine's concentration
lapses have kept her from becoming
Michigan's clutch player.
Take last night's 67-64 loss to
Indiana. Gray had 12 points, but ac-
cording to Roberts, Michigan "didn't
get very much of a defensive effort
from Shimmy.
So maybe freshman guard Am
See LEADERS, Page 12

JOE WESTRATE/Daily
Shimmy Gray goes up for a block on an Indiana player during the Hoosiers'
67-64 win over the Wolverines last night at Crisler Arena.

Ray Manzarek weren't enough - the
groups needed a leader to succeed.
And that"s the problem for the
Michigan women's basketball team:

ockey playoff run
starts with Kent State

By JAESON ROSENFELD
DAILY HOCKEY WRITER
Michigan hockey fans might want
to bring their thesauruses to this
weekend's CCHA first-round home
playoff series against Kent State.
The Yost Ice Arena faithful may
need to look up alternatives for sieve,
a taunt itshouts attheopposingteam's
goalie after each Wolverine score.
With the Golden Flashes' mediocre
goaltending, sieve will certainly be-
come a tiresome word in the best-of-
three game series.
Kent State netminder Scott Shaw
sports a 5.43 goals against average,
worst among all first-string goalies in
the CCHA. The Golden Flashes' scor-
ing defense, which allows 5.51 goals
per game, may be just the medicine to
shake the Wolverines' out of their
recent slump.
"It's a good weekend to build some
confidence," David Oliver said.
"Right now, we're not looking at who
we're playing. We're just trying to
focus on playing better hockey."
Michigan has lost four of its last
five games, including a lethargic,
regular-season ending 6-2 loss to
Ferris State last Saturday. The six
goals by the Bulldogs are the most the
Wolverines allowed during the regu-
lar season. Michigan coach Red
Berenson hopes the defense can step
things up for the post-season.
"Our efforts are going to be fo-
cused on playing good defense,"

Berenson said. "We have to do a bet-
ter job of protecting our goalie and
not giving up unearned goals."
Although the Golden Flashes' de-
fense is worst in the league, their
offense possesses the capability to
test the Michigan defense. Bill
Switaj's team averages 3.89 goals per
game, fourth in the conference. The
Golden Flashes goal scorers managed
to top Michigan's 2.67 goals against
average in a 10-4 loss Feb. 4 at Yost.
Claude Morin leads Kent with 55
points, ninth in the nation, and
linemateDean Sylvester follows with
45 points.
Blueliner Blake Sloan's return
should help the Wolverines' defense
stop Morin and Sylvester and avoid a
repeat performance of last Saturday.
The freshman CCHA All-Rookie
team member missed the Ferris State
game due to a minor concussion suf-
fered the previous night at Bowling
Green.
Additionally, the conference's
highest-scoring freshman, Brendan
Morrison, will don the Michigan
sweateronce again, after missing both
games last weekend due to a shoulder
injury.
The freshman rejoins a power-
play unit which was switched up a bit
against the Bulldogs. Berenson slid
Oliver from his usual left circle posi-
tion to the left point, and moved Brian

N

..... .. .... ........... ................. ............ . .........
JONATHAN LURIE/Daily
Freshman forward Mike Legg and the Wolverines face Kent State in first round CCHA playoff action tonight.
Men gymnasts written off into history

By AARON BURNS
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Fifty years.
For fifty years now they've flipped,
tucked and twisted.
For fifty years they've pushed
themselves in practice, toiling away
in empty gymnasiums so that when
the seats filled up and the routines
counted, they could stand proudly
after each landing.

See HOCKEY, Page 11

"We are the Michigan men's gym-
nastics team," they could say. "The
leaders and best."
On Saturday night, that half cen-
tury of athletic excellence enters its
first phase of expiration. Barring a
future change of heart by the Univer-
sity, the Wolverines will compete in
the final home meet of this sport when
they host the Michigan Invitational at
Cliff Keen Arena.
What makes the University's de-
cision to terminate the program so
painfully ironic for coach Bob Darden
and his team is the fact that they are
performing better right now than any
other team in that storied fifty-year
past.
Michigan set a new school record
for team score last week when it posted
a 282.25 in a loss at No. I Ohio State.
Make no mistake about it - the
Wolverines are peaking. Ask any
member of the team how long that
record will stand and the answer is

instantaneous; it's destined to fall this
weekend.
"(Setting a new school record is)
not even a goal, but a plan," said
sophomore Bob Young, who leads
Michigan in the all-around with a
score of 56.15.
"If I can just remember to stay out
of the way," Darden joked, "we'll
break 283 or 284."
Such moments of levity are rare
for Darden these days as his team's
apparent fate becomes more and more
concrete.
The University officially an-
nounced the decision to drop the pro-
gram in March, 1993, as a first ste
toward meeting the Big Ten mandat
on gender equity. Since then, the team
has repeatedly asked the Regents to
rescind the decision and to direct the
Michigan Board of Intercollegiate
Athletics and Athletic Director Joe
See GYMNASTS, Page 11

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