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January 09, 1995 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, January 9, 1995
Loss to Penn State magnifies Michigan
weaknesses; NIT looms large in future

By SCOTT BURTON
Daily Basketball Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK - If
Michigan had any illusions of gran-
deur after opening its Big Ten sched-
ule with a victory over Purdue, they
were effectively creamated after

Court
ress

rather comprehensive reality check.
And this check list is longer than a
DC-20 aircraft.
Reality Check No. 1: Michi-
gan must win with defense.
The days of the Wolverines out-
running and outgunning their oppo-
nents is over, and the reason is
simple-they can't shoot.
Michigan's 43 percent field goal
shooting is atrocious, exemplified
by 34 percent shooting against the
Nittany Lions.
Part of the problem is the three-
point shooting; 28 percent is Divi-
sion III caliber material. The other
part is unfinished shots-easy
chippies that aren't put home.
Yet, Michigan plays tough with
most every opponent it plays be-
cause of sound defense. It is kind of
ironic that the freshman who have
struggled so apparently with their
offense-seem comfortable and
even confident playing defense. But,
with two superb defenders leading
the way in seniors Ray Jackson and

Jimmy King, the young Wolverines
make the opposition beat them with
tough shots every game.
But the defense has to get even
tougher. Games like yesterday's
could have been won, despite their
inept offense, if the defense avoids
major breakdowns, stays out of foul-
trouble and forces more turnovers.
® Reality Check No. 2: The
Point Guard play is inadequate
One things must be said for Dugan
Fife-he has taken the leadership
role seriously and has contributed to
the team by not making mistakes
and playing smart.
But two things stand out when
analyzing the Michigan basketball
team. One is that a forward, Jack-
son, leads the team in assists (3.2)
The second is that only 13 of Fife
and Bobby Crawford's 74 shots are
taken from within the three-point
line.
While these are only statistics, it
underscores the fact that Michigan's
point guards aren't making any im-

yesterday's 73-63 loss to Penn State.
Without any doubts about it, the
Nittany Lions kicked the Wolver-
ines butts. Ten points may have
been the margin of defeat, but Penn
State was stronger, meaner, and
tougher by a degree three times larger
than that.
Indeed, for a team aspiring to
reach the NCAA Tournament, the
loss to the Nittany Lions serves as a

pact. They haven't taken the ball to
the hole enough, which affects the
way defenses guard the entire team,
and they haven't distributed the ball
efficiently, which is reflected in the
team's poor shooting percentage.
Reality Check No.3: It's gonna
take guts to make the NCAA Tour-
nament.
As Michigan's first two Big Ten
games illustrate, the Wolverines are
right now a middle-of-the-road- con-
ference team. But after a disap-
pointing 6-5 pre-conference record,
a fifth or sixth place finish won't be
enough to get Michigan in the NCAA
tournament.
So it is gut-check time for Michi-
gan. They are going to have to win
games they shouldn't, junk their
ways to wins in games they will be
outmanned, find ways to win in the
absence of favorable matchups. It is
called overachieving, and if Michi-
gan prefers the letters NCAA versus
NIT, they are going to have to invest
heavily into the concept.
MICHIGAN (63)
FO FT RES
MIN MA M-A O-T A F PTS
Jackson 39 9-16 5-5 2-3 0 4 24
Taylor 15 1-5 1-2 1-3 2 5 3
Ndiaye 15 0-2 0-0 1-1 1 5 0
Fife 23 0-1 0-0 0-5 1 3 0
King 32 5-13 3-4 4-8 0 2 8
Mitchell 33 5-14 2-5 7-15 1 3 15
Crawford 13 0-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Ward 23 3-12 3-3 5-9 1 4 11
Conlon 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 0
Totals 200 23-68 14-19 23.49 618 63
FG%: .338. FT%: .737. Three-point goals: 3-18,
.167 (Ward 2-4, Jackson 1-5, Conlan 0-1, Fife 0-
1, King 0-2, Mitchell 0-2, Crawford 0-3). Blocks:
5 (Fife 2, Mitchell 2, Ward). Turnovers: 18
(Jackson 5, King 4, Fife 3, Ward 3, Ndiaye 2,
Mitchell). Steals: 7 (King 2, Fife, Jackson,
Mitchell, Ndiaye, Taylor). Technical Fouls: none.

JOE WESTRATE/dail)

Jimmy King goes up for a reverse layup in Michigan's 73-63 loss at Penn
State yesterday. King scored eight points in the loss, which dropped the
Wolverines to 7-6 on the year.

PENN STATE (73)
FO FT REB
MIN M-A M-A O-T
Carlton 29 2-9 4-4 2-5
Sekunda 27 1-9 4-6 0-3
Amaechi 38 9-14 8-12 6-14
Earl 33 3-6 6.8 0-0
Williams. 0. 19 0-3 0-0 0-1
Williams, P. 13 1-2 4-4 4-7
Lisicky 24 1-7 6-6 0-3
Bartram 11 0-0 24 1-4
Joseph 2 0-0 0-0 0-1
McKnight 4 0-1 0-0 0-0
Totals 200 17-51 34-44 15.40J

A F PTS
0 2 9
1 3 6
1 1 26
2 4 15
1 1 0
0 2 7
4 4 9
1 0 2
11 0
0 0 0
1518 73

FG%: .333. FT%: .773. Three-point goals: 5-17,
.294 (Earl 3-5, Carlton 1-3, Lisicky 1-6, McKnight
0-1, Sekunda 0-2). Blocks: 4 (Amaechi 2,
Sekunda 2). Turnovers: 15 (Sekunda 4, Amaechi
2, Earl 2. Joseph, McKnight, 0. Williams, P.
Williams). Steals: 9 (Carlton 2, Earl 2, Bartram,
Lisicky, Sekunda, D. Williams, P. Williams).
Technical Fouls: Lisicky (hanging on the rim).
Michigan............15 48 - 63
Penn State.........29 44 - 73
At: Recreation Hall; A: 7,452.

'We just don't fight, and thas
uncharacteristic of a Michigan team.
We just haven't-fought the fight.'
Ray Jackson
Michigan forward

AP PHOTO

John Amaechi of Penn State shoots while Michigan's Willie Mitchell and Makhtar

Ndiave defend.

WOMEN
Continued from page 1
giving the Wolverines some
breathing room. Brzezinski had a
huge game, tallying 21 points and
snatching 14 rebounds.
"I just felt I could take it in-
side," Brzezinski said. "They had
(low-post) girls in foul trouble."
Brzezinski was aided by her
teammates on the perimeter.
Shellman and Franklin combined
for 11 assists, with Franklin also
tossing in 11 points in her first
career start.
"Akisha came in and did a great
job," Roberts said.
Other Wolverines in double fig-
ures were Willard (14 points),
Catherine DiGiacinto (11) and
Johnson (11).
Yesterday's matchup ended a
bit differently. Instead of going
down to the wire, Michigan was
able to pull away in the latter part
of the second half. With 9:52 to
play, the Wildcats were down by
just four, 53-49. Then the Wolver-
ines took over.
With Brzezinski cleaning up
down low and freshman Molly
Murray knocking them down from
the outside, Michigan went on a
21-6 run to close the game. Murray
and Brzezinski combined for 11
points to key the torrent.
Brzezinski had another solid
outing, notching 11 points and 14
rebounds. Murray exploded for 20
points on 8-of-15 shooting after

11 just thought that as
soon as 1 get in there,
to look for my shot.'
Molly Murray
Michigan forward
going scoreless in four minutes of
action against the Spartans.
"I just thought that as soon as I
get in there, to look for my shot,"
Murray said. "It was on today."
In stark contrast,
Northwestern's free-throw shoot-
ing was off. The Wildcats .shot
44.4 percent from the charity
stripe, converting on 12 of 27 at-
tempts. Northwestern missed nu-
merous lay-ups as well, blowing
opportunities to get in the game.
These missed chances hurt im-
mensely, since the Wolverines
didn't surrender anything on de-
fense. Michigan's tenacious "d"
hounded the Wildcats into 29 turn-
overs, many coming in the sec-
ond-half.
The Wolverines also stole the
ball 13 times, with Franklin and
Murray posting three takeaways
each. For a change, it was
Michigan's opponent that was flus-
tered at the end of the game - not
the Wolverines.
"We always let it go at the end,"
Roberts said, in reference to her
team's ability to let victory slip
from its grasp at the last instant.
"The last two games, they've hung
in there."

Confidence the reason for Michigan's surprisil

By RODERICK BEARD
Daily Basketball Writer
If the Michigan women's basket-
ball team continues at its present rate,
there could be an NCAA investiga-
tion. Either coach Trish Roberts has
been tainting the team's water supply
or the Wolverines are designer impos-
tors. There has to be some explanation
for Michigan's surprising play so far
this season.
How much of a surprise are the
Wolverines this season?
Michigan's 7-7 start is its best since
the 1990-91 season, when the team
began with an 8-6 record. That year,
the Wolverines finished the season
with an 11-17 record.
This weekend, Michigan defeated
Michigan State and Northwestern. The
..1:" :.v :.......

victories are Roberts' first everatCrisler
Arena, bringing her Big Ten win total to
three in 40 games. The last time that the
Wolverines beat either the Spartans or
the Wildcats was the 1989-90 season,
when they finished 20-10.
"(The Northwestern game) is a very
big win for us - it was a must-win
game," Roberts said. "It says a lot for
the future of this program."
Michigan is finding new ways to
win while its leading scorer, sopho-
more guard Amy Johnson, is in a
slump. So far in Big Ten play, Johnson
is averaging only 8.8 points per game,
almost seven below last season's av-
erage. She was scoreless against Kan-
sas State, and only scored three versus
Iowa and two against Northwestern.
Still, the Wolverines are managing
to pull out games. Roberts made her
best decision of the season by finally
starting freshman point guard Akisha
Franklin. Franklin has improved her
play dramatically.
In her first start, she sparked Michi-
gan with 11 points, five rebounds and
four assists against Michigan State.

She responded with 15 points and nine
assists yesterday in the win over North-
western.
Junior Jennifer Brzezinski, now
the team's leading scorer with a 13.1
point average, has stepped up as well.
Brzezinski paced the team against the
Spartans with 21 points and 14 boards,
then tossed in 11 points and had 14
rebounds against Northwestern.
Brzezinski has the most experi-
ence on the team, and is the only
player who was around the last time
Michigan won a Big Ten game, a 67-
54 drubbing at Indiana. It doesn't seem
like she goes after rebounds; rather,
she attracts them.
The Wolverines are doing it with-
out two of their key players. Freshman
center Pollyanna Johns tore her ante-
rior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the
last nonconference game against Kan-
sas State and is out for the season.
Johns averaged 5.0 points and 6.8 re-
bounds in nine games. Sophomore
point guard Jennifer Kiefer is also out
for the season after injuring her ACL
during the summer.

Despite those obstacles, Michigan
has posted a respectable .500 record.
Tiffany Willard (a.k.a. "Barkley") has
come through with some outstandi1
performances, including a good defen-
sivejob against Kisha Kelley, Michigan
'This is a very big win
for us - it was a must-
win game. It says a lot
for the future of this
program.'
- Trish Robert'
Michigan women's
basketball coach
State's leading scorer. Center Catherine
DiGiacinto is emerging as the team's
emotional leader, and is showing flashes
of brilliance in the post. -
A lot of the Wolverines' success
due to an improved mental game.
During practice last week, the
lockerroom was decorated in green

NORTHWESTERN (55)

MIN
Hannaford 14
Holohan 37
Braden 33
DeWall 16
Ratay 29
McGarrigle 13
Byington 20
Wrenn 9
Swift 22
Connolly 7
Totals 200

FO
M-A
2-6
7-20
7-8
0-2
3-9
0-3
0-1
2-4
0-4
0-1
21-58:

FT
M-A
1-3
3-6
3-6
2-4
1-2
0-0
0-2
0-0
1-2
1-2

RE
O-T A
1-2 0
4-15 2
2-10 0
1-2 4
0-6 2
0-0 0
1-2 0
2-6 0
1-2 2
1-1 0

PTS
5
17
17
2
8
0
0
4
1
1
655

MICHIGAN (74)
FO FT
MIN MA M-A
Shellman 35 3-13 0-1
DiGiacinto 28 4-11 3-3
Brzezinski 35 5-15 1-2
Franklin 35 5-9 2-2
Johnson 15 1-4 0-0
Murray 32 8-15 2-2
Ross 5 0-0 0-0
Willard 15 3-8 1-2
Totals 200 29-75 9-12

REB
O-T
0-1
0-2
4-14
2-5
1-3
1-5
0-1
1-3
10-38

A F PTS
6 4 8
0 4 11
0 3 11
9 2 15
0 3 2
5 2 20
0 0 0
1 4 , 7
2122 74

12-27 16-52 1016

FG%: .387. FT%: .750. Three-poInt goals: 7-16,
.438 (Shellman 2-6, Franklin 3-5, Murray 2-4,
Rrzezinski 0-1). Blocks: 5 (Brzezinski 3. DiGiacinto.

FnOA .16. F96AA44.Three-nolnt Ugoals: 1.5.

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