The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, December 5, 1994 - 5
BASKETBALL SEASON PREVI EW
r . .
Purdue and Penn State
look to repeat as champs
By RODERICK BEARD
Daily Basketball Writer
Depending on the poll, as many as
four Big Ten teams are ranked in the
top 25 in the country. By the time the
conference season rolls around later
this month, a fifth team could be there,
as well. The addition of a postseason
conference tournament this season
will make the Big Ten an interesting
inference to watch.
With that level of competition, the
Big Ten's grueling conference sched-
ule will prepare the teams for the
conference tournament and the NCAA
tournament. Here is a sneak peek at
the predicted conference standings,
with last year's conference and over-
No. 2: Penn State
ence to take them to the top. Coach
Nancy Darsch has but one freshmen
on her roster, with three seniors, five
juniors and three sophomores.
No. 1: Purdue
The Boilermakers return all five
starters and ten of eleven total players
from last season's squad. Purdue ad-
vanced to its first-ever Final Four
after sharing the Big Ten title with
Penn State. A year ago, the coaches
picked the Boilermakers to finish fifth
e conference - they won't make
that mistake again.
Center Leslie Johnson, last
season's conference and national
Freshman of the Year is a menace
inside. She was the first woman named
to the all-Big Ten team as a freshman
and was an honorable mention all-
America in 1994.
Aiding Johnson in the frontcourt
* junior Stacy Lovelace, who aver-
aged 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per
game and junior forward Tonya Kirk.
Purdue's senior guard tandem of Jen-
niferJacoby and Cindy Lamping could
be the best backcourt in the confer-
As if veterans aren't enough, Boil-
ermakercoach Lin Dunn also recruited
two outstanding freshmen. Nicole
Erickson will see time at point guard.
*chele VanGorp, a 6-foot-6 center,
can dunk with one or two hands.
Purdue's non-conference sched-
ule, including games against Stanford
and Tennessee, will test them early.
In only their second season in the
conference, the Lady Lions tied for
the Big Ten title last year. Penn State
is 30-6 in conference games since
joining the Big Ten. Coach Rene Port-
land, in her 15th season with the Lady
Lions, has them ready for another run
at the title. Portland, last year's Big
Ten Coach of the Year, will start all-
Big Ten point guard Tina Nicholson,
who averaged 12.0 points per game
and a conference-leading 6.2 assists
per game last season. Nicholson, a
junior, will be joined in the backcourt
by senior Katina Mack, who poured
in 12.0 points per game and 3.6 re-
bounds per game.
Portland also welcomes two fresh-
men centers who will make Penn State
more physical inside. 6-foot-6 Julie
Jarosz and 6-foot-5 Stacey Hrivnak.
The two will play behind senior starter
Missy Masley and junior Kim
Calhoun, who broke the school record
with 77 blocks in 1994.
Portland's Lions have won at least
20 games each of the past five sea-
sons. This one won't be any different.
No. 3: Ohio State
* (7-11, 14-14)
All-Big Ten performer Katie
Smith anchors an experience-laden
Ohio State squad that finished a dis-
appointing .500 last season Smith, a
preseason All-America, led the con-
ference in scoring at 22.4 points per
game and pulled down 6.1 rebounds
per game. The Buckeyes have three
other returning starters in guards
Adrienne Johnson and defensive spe-
cialist Alysiah Bond and forward/cen-
ter Lisa Negri.
Ohio State will also get produc-
tion from senior Peggy Evans, who
transferred from Tennessee. Evans,
an All-Southeastern Conference se-
lection at Tennessee, was instrumen-
tal in the Lady Volunteers' 1991
The Buckeyes will rely on experi-
No. 4: Iowa
Iowa coach C. Vivian Stringer re-
turns with another talented squad.
Stringer, in her 12th season coaching
the Lady Hawkeyes, has brought six
Big Ten titles back to Iowa city.
With all that success, it would
seem easy to pick Stringer's Iowa
squad to finish in the top three of the
conference. Wrong. Stringer lost four
starters and only senior Arneda
Yarbrough remains. Gone are Necole
Tunsil's 17.0 points per game and
center Cathy Marx's 12.2 points per
But don't feel sorry for Stringer.
She managed to garner seven fresh-
men, forming the No. I recruiting
class in the nation and simply refuel-
ing her arsenal.
Add to the mix preseason All-
America Tia Jackson and Stringer's
squad doesn't look so bad after all.
It will take some time for the fresh-
men to get accustomed to Stringer's
system, but watch out for them in the
postseason tournament in March.
No. 5: Indiana
Last year, the Hoosiers advanced
to their first NCAA tournament since
1982-83 campaign. Conference
coaches picked Indiana to finish 10th
in the Big Ten. They went to the
NCAA tournament. Enough said.
Senior forward Shirley Bryant
(13.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg) is one of the most
underrated players in the conference.
She has led the team in scoring each
of the past three seasons and her .587
field goal percentage was second over-
all in the conference.
Senior guard Emma Urzua is one
of two active Hoosiers to start every
game in her career. Coach Jim Izard
will count on Urzua to add more scor-
ing punch and play 30-35 minutes per
seniors, one junior (Jennifer
Brzezinski), five sophomores and
eight freshmen. If the Wolverines find
team chemistry during the confer-
ence season, look for them to surprise
some teams in the postseason confer-
No. 7: Northwest-
ern (9-9, 17-10)
The Wildcats and coach Don
Perrelli have had five consecutive
winning seasons. This will not be
the sixth. With the graduation of
center and leading scorer Patricia
Babcock (17.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg),
Northwestern will have to find
someone else to shoulder the
burden. Seniors Maureen Holohan
(15.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Colleen
Swift (6.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg) will attempt
to fill the void in the frontcourt.
The backcourt will miss Moira
Kennelly, who also graduated last
year. Kennelly finished second on
the all-time Northwestern assist list.
Very few of the returning
Wildcats have playing experience,
and seven freshmen will take
awhile to mesh into the system.
S No. 8: Michigan
In her 19th season with the Spar-
tans, coach Karen Langeland is look-
ing for her first winning season since
1990-91, Michigan State was 21-8.
She may have the key to accomplish-
ing that goal in senior forward Kisha
Kelley. Kelley, a second-team All-
Big Ten selection, led the team and
was fourth in the Big Ten, averaging
19 points per game. She tacked on 8.8
boards per game, which was third in
Tanya Place, a senior guard, pro-
vides a long-range threat for the Spar-
tans attack. She is Michigan State's
all-time leader in both three-pointers
made and attempted and will only add
to her record this season.
Point guard Christine Powers was
third in the conference, dishing out
5.2 assists per game.
To succeed, Michigan State needs
to avoid the 2-7 mark it posted in its
last nine games last season.
No. 9: Minnesota
Last season, Minnesota advanced
to the NCAA tournament for the first
time in school history. This year, the
Golden Gophers will not.
Minnesota has a huge void in the
post, where Carol Ann Shudlick used
to play. Shudlick led the conference
in scoring at 23.4 points per game,
hauled down 6.8 rebounds per game
was named to the Kodak All-America
team in her senior season. She punc-
tuated her career by winning the Wade
Trophy, given to the most outstand-
ing senior in the country, and being
named the Big Ten Player of the Year.
In the absence of their all-time
leading scorer, the Gophers will count
on senior guard Shannon Loeblein to
for more than her 11.9 points per
game last season. Eight freshmen will
have to gradually work their way into
No. 10: Wisconsin
The Badgers welcome new head
coach Jane Albright-Dieterle after 10
seasons at Northern Illinois. Albright-
Dieterle inherits four starters from
last season's. Junior forward Barb
Franke, a member of the preseason
All-Big Ten team, was led the confer-
ence in field goal percentage and was
third in scoring (19.2 ppg). Franke, a
second-team All-Big Ten selection
last season, sat out the 1992-93 sea-
son with a knee injury.
Sophomore Katie Voigt started
every game last season and was sec-
ond on the team with 12.2 points per
game and 6.4 rebounds per game. Her
4.6 assist average led the team and
was fifth in the conference.
As a team, Wisconsin had the best
team field goal percentage (.466) in
Conference tourney to
benefit weaker teams
By RAVI GOPAL
Daily Basketball Writer
The return of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament could not have
come at a more opportune time for Michigan. The tourney will be held in
Indianapolis from March 3-6, and the winner will receive an automatic bid to
the NCAA Championship. Although March Madness is a long way away, the
Wolverines hope that Cinderella's glass slipper will fit them come tournament
This year, Michigan looks to have its finest season under third-year head
coach Trish Roberts. And after shoring up their arsenal with the No. I
recruiting class in the nation, the Wolverines hope for at least a .500 season.
A winning season would allow Michigan to take on a sub-.500 team in its first
game, in which the Wolverines would likely be favored.
In the tournament, the Nos. 6-11 teams at the end of the regular season will
play one another, with No. 6 facing No. 11, No. 7 playing. No. 10 and No. 8
going against No. 9. The top three seeds will play the winners of these games
in the second round, with No. 4 playing No. 5 in this round as well. Then,
possible matchups in the semis look to be No. I vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3,
with the top two seeds set to battle in the final.
Taking last season's records into account, Michigan, at No. 11, would have
played No. 6 Northwestern in the first round. The Wolverines' 0-18 confer-
ence record paled in comparison to the Wildcats' 9-9 mark. However,
Michigan would have at least had a chance to participate in postseason action,
something that it hasn't done in the last five years. And an upset of the highly-
favored club from Evanston would have put a bright spot on an otherwise
gloomy landscape for the Wolverines last season.
This year's Michigan squad could get as high as a fifth or sixth seeding.
However, even if they receive a lower seed, the Wolverines' experience should
benefit them greatly. Returning four starters from last season - Jennifer
Brzezinski, Catherine DiGiacinto, Amy Johnson and Silver Shellman - and
possessing a deep bench, Michigan has the potential to make some noise.
Even if the Wolverines don't get far, they will benefit from the experience
that comes from playing in a postseason conference tournament. The Big Ten
is one of the last remaining conferences to institute such an event, with the Pac-
10 being the sole major conference without a tourney.
The Big Ten at one time had a conference tournament for women's
basketball. In 1981, Ohio State defeated Illinois to take the Big Ten postseason
crown. After that season, the Big Ten decided to eliminate the tourney entirely,
opting instead for a double round-robin format, which existed up until last
The drawbacks of the double round-robin format are many. Teams must
perform exceptionally well during the regular season in order to receive a bid
to the NCAAs. A regular-season conference title gives a team an automatic
bid, but everybody else's fate is in the hands of the NCAA selection commit-
tee, who decides the recipients of the at-large bids. This system puts primary
importance upon the health of players throughout the season.
On a squad with a fairly thin bench, just one injury to a starter could wipe
out that team's chances for postseason play. Teams will pay less heed to the
health of a player, caring more about whether they get to the big dance or not.
This could result in allowing a person to play when she is not physically able,
putting the player in unnecessary risk.
Coaches of title contenders will feel the pressure to excel during the regular
season, in order to grab the automatic bid. With university administrators, alums
and fans breathing down their necks and money granted to NCAA qualifiers, a
mediocre regular season will leave both coaches and players in the dust.
The double round-robin format also does not allow youngsters to experi-
ence the highs of postseason play. Without this year's tourney, it is still
doubtful whether the Wolverines will go to the NCAAs in the foreseeable
future. The teams at the top of the heap - namely Penn State, Purdue and Iowa
- would have used their games against the other eight teams as tune-ups for
their battles with each other.
The disparity of talent level is so high in the Big Ten that some teams can
perennially bring up topics such as Final Fours, All-America honors and Big
Ten crowns, while others spend all their time retooling and revamping.
Although the advent of the tournament will not necessarily change this fact,
at least the haves will have to contend with the have-nots one more time before
they are granted a bid from the NCAA. And in that one extra game, in the
postseason, anything can happen.
To draw a comparison to men's basketball, look at teams such as Detroit.
A few years back, the Titans finished their regular season at the bottom of the
pile in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. But in their postseason confer-
ence tourney, Detroit pulled off two shocking upsets before falling in the
conference final. The postseason allows for such events to happen; it is the
place where Cinderellas are born, and where Goliaths come tumbling down.
This year's Cinderella team could hail from Ann Arbor. Will the glass
slipper fit? We won't know till March. But at least the slipper is now available.
Date Opponent Result/TIn*A
Fri, Nov. 25
t, Nov. 26
res, Nov. 29
Thurs, Dec. 1.
Sat, Dec. 3
Tues, Dec. 6
Thurs, Dec. 8
Sat, Dec. 10
Wed, Dec. 14
Tues, Dec. 20
Wed, Dec. 28
Fri, Dec. 30
@i, Jan. 6
Sun, Jan. 8
Sun, Jan. 15
Fri, Jan. 20
Sun, Jan. 22
Fri, Jan. 27
Sun, Jan. 29
frl, Feb. 3
Sun, Feb. 5
Fri, Feb. 10
, Feb. 17
un, Feb. 19
Fri, Feb. 24
2Sun, Feb. 26
Fri, Mar. 3
Sat, Mar. 4
Fri, Mar. 10
Sat, Mar. 11
Big Ten Tournament
Big Ten Tournament
Big Ten Tournament
Big Ten Tournament
No. 6: Michigan
Michigan will be the biggest sur-
prise in the conference. The Wolver-
ines lost their last 19 games overall
and did not win a conference game
last season. This year will be differ-
ent, though. With the addition of eight
exceptional freshmen, Roberts not
only doubled the squad, but added
depth, speed and size.
Sophomore guard Amy Johnson's
15.6 points per game led the team in
her first season with Michigan and
she will get better.
The Wolverines will work their
magic without point guard Jennifer
Kiefer, also a member of the All-Big
Ten Freshman team. Kiefer injured
her knee last summer and received a
medical redshirt to retain eligibility
for this season.
But Roberts will have the services
of the freshmen. 6-foot-3 center
Pollyanna Johns has played organized
basketball only a few years but is a
good shot blocker and rebounder.
Molly Murray, runner-up for the Miss
Basketball title in Michigan, will add
needed depth at the guard position.
Michigan's young team will take time
to develop and they have nothing but
time. The Wolverine roster has no
* - At Iowa State Cyclone Classic
Home games in ALL CAPS
* All times local to site
Continued from page 1
solid defense helped the Wolverines
start the game on the right foot. After
taking the lead, 8-6; Michigan never
qinquished the advantage.
"In the past, we've started off very
slow and put ourselves in a hole,"
sophomore forward Silver Shellman
said. "We tried to dictate the pace of
the game (Saturday)."
'Our rebounding has
offense," Shellman said.
Michigan continued its solid play
into the second half, blistering the
nets with a 54.8 percent performance
from the floor (17-of-31). The low-
post trio of Silver Shellman (17 points,
9 rebounds, 6 steals), Tiffany Willard
(11 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks)
and Jennifer Brzezinski (10 points, 4
rebounds, 4 assists) dominated the
"Our rebounding has been going
very well," DiGiacinto said. "We're
just doing our job."
Yet, the Panthers remained in the
MICHIGAN (79)F TR
FR FT RES
WN *A *A OT A F PTS
Shellman 34 614 5-7 6.9 3 2 17
Brzezinski 16 3-3 4.4 1-4 4 5 10
DiGiacinto 19 2-8 0-1 0-4 0 3 4
Ross 1 0-0 00 0-0 0 0 0
Johnson 39 12-17 0-0 3-9 4 1 28
Murray 39 0-2 5-7 03 4 4 5
Willard 24 3.8 5-8 2.12 0 3 11
Johns 21 1-3 0-1 4-13 0 3 2
Dubois 4 0.1 0-0 0.0 0 1 0
Sikorski 3 1-1 00 0-0 0 1 2
Totals 200 28.57 19.28 1842 1ST23 79
FG%: .491. FT%: .679. Three-polnt goals: 4-7,
.571(Johnson 4-4, Shellman 0-2, DuBois 0-1).
Blocks: 3 (Willard 2, Brzezinski). Turnovers:
42(Murray 11, Shellman 8, Willard 7, Johnson 6,
DiGiacinto 3, Johns 3, Brzezinski 2, Ross,
Sikorski). Steals: 11(Shellman 6, Brzezinski,
DiGiacinto, Johnson. Murray, Johns). Technical
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