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February 27, 1995 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-27

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6- The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday, February 27, 1995

Rivalry with State
is still the fiest
By John Lerol
Daily Basketball Write
EAST LANSING- As promised, the Michigan-Michigan State matchup
was spectacular. A battle raging with intensity, a raucous crowd and a will to
win - two days before Steve Fisher's bunch even stepped onto the floor.
That's right, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center was rockin' to the beat
of women's basketball, a six-game Spartan winning streak and a showdown ,
for state bragging rights. The contest also happened to be the most exciting of
Michigan's four games over the break.
The game didn't end the way the Wolverines would have liked. After
Spartan guard Chris Powers drilled a three-pointer to cap a 9-0 run and erase
Michigan's seven-point lead with nine minutes left in the second half,
Michigan State never looked back. Almost all of the 7,147 fans, a Michigan
State women's hoops record, stayed until the very end of the Spartans' 70-65
victory.
This was a Michigan-Michigan State game that had a little bit of every-
thing. A little revenge for the Spartans after an 80-75 Wolverine victory
January 6 in Crisler Arena. A little drama as Powers became Michigan State's
all-time assist leader, passing Deb Traxinger, with 446 and counting. Even a
little bit of a point guard showdown between the venerable Powers and
Michigan freshman Akisha Franklin.
Powers dished out eight assists and tallied eight points, including two keyj
three-pointers. The senior's experience showed in her ball-handling and her1
court leadership.
Although Franklin poured in a team-high 19 points, 13 above her average,
and grabbed three rebounds she could only muster two assists. Her triple with
seven minutes remaining brought the Wolverines within one point of the lead.
However, Franklin had three missed field goals and a five-second call in the
last three minutes which detracted a little from an otherwise stellar perfor-
mance.
Coach Trish Roberts showed great confidence in Franklin, never pulling
her off the floor once during the game, even with Mekisha Ross, the Wolver-
ines' starting point guard at the beginning of the season, back in action after
a two-month layoff.
Roberts had only praise for her first-year point guard.
"Powers played very well, but Akisha played an excellent game for us -
especially for a freshman," Roberts said.
The Spartans had a freshman sensation of their own in 6-1 forward Bella
Engen. The spindly youngster from Hoenfoss, Norway racked up 18 points
and nine boards to solidify her position as a Big Ten Freshman of the Year
candidate. I
The win put Michigan State's winning streak at six games, the longest since
1991, the last time the Spartans' went to the NCAA Tournament. After a paltry
2-6 conference start, Michigan State went to 8-6, following last Sunday's
victory, and vaulted out of the cellar and into fourth place in the Big Ten
standings.
But Michigan didn't make it easy on the Spartans. The Wolverines led by
as many as seven points in the second half. Michigan State's lead climbed
greater than five points only once in the final 22 minutes. Michigan cut the lead
to one twice in the final eight minutes.
There was a little bit of electricity running through the stadium. The fans
cheered loudly for more than just made baskets. The players and coaches felt
like they were part of a big time basketball game.
"The crowd definitely helped out a lot," Michigan State coach Karen
Langland said. "I'd be lying if I said (the crowd) didn't affect our play."
See RIVALRY, Page 9

Women locked
in Big Ten cellar

.

TONYA BROAD/Daily
Akisha Franklin will direct Michigan's offense in the Big Ten Tournament.
Hoops matters in the South

By David Rothbart
Daily Basketball Writer
Three thousand miles. twelve play-
ground courts. Four high school gym-
nasiums. Two college arenas. One
week. That's the line score for my
spring break.
After we finished our classes the

Court
drss

Friday before break, Mike, Seth, Tim
and I piled into Tim's van and hit the
highway for seven days of sun,
beaches and basketball.
We stopped in Louisville, Ky., and
looked for a court to stretch our legs.
Under a dim streetlight on the Louis-
ville campus we found a rim stuck to a
colossal backboard and started to play.
Two security guards arrived on a mo-
torized buggy and we thought our game
was over, but they wanted to play, so we
ran three-on-three. I joined the secu-

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rity guards, Archie Dixon and Larry
Tackis, against Mike, Seth and Tim.
Dixon, a longtime employee of the
Louisville security force, proved bet-
ter at guarding campus buildings than
Tim's jumper and we lost, 15-4.
After the game, when Dixon
learned we were Michigan students,
he unbuttoned the blue collared shirt
of his uniform to reveal a maize and
blue t-shirt: 1989 National Champi-
ons. Dixon said he'd become a Wol-
verines fan during their run to the title
in '89 and that he still follows Michi-
gan faithfully.
"Who's your favorite player on
Michigan this year?" Seth asked him.
"Chris Webber," Dixon replied,
re-buttoning his shirt.
Sunday afternoon, we reached
Pensacola, Fla., and went to a girls'
high school playoff game between
district rivals Pensacola Central and
Gulf Breeze. Central's shooting guard,
Veronica Strauss, couldn't miss. She
stung Gulf Breeze for 37 points and
added five assists and five steals as
Central coasted to a 81-41 victory.
In a brief press conference after
the game, Central Coach Dan Kisor
said Strauss is the best player he's
ever coached.
I talked to Strauss to congratulate
See DOWN SOUTH, Page 9
T.SHIR T
PRINTING
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DISTINGUISHED
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WEDNESDAY
MARCH 1, 1995
4:00 P.M.
RACKHAM
AMPHITHEATRE
PANEL DISCUSSION AND
RECEPTION TO FOLLOW.

By John Lero
Daily Basketball Writer
Zero for four is not a very good
spring break. Neither is ending with
losses in 11 of the last 12 games
including a current five-game skid.
But then again, not much has gone
right for the Michigan women's bas-
ketball team this season.
The Wolverines (3-13 Big Ten,
8-18 overall) finished the season
where most people expected them to
-in last place. After losses to North-
western , Michigan State, Iowa and
Wisconsin the last two weekends,
Michigan will carry the worst Big
Ten record into the first annual con-
ference tournament beginning Fri-
day.
Last Friday, Michigan dropped a
disappointing game to Northwestern
(8-7, 13-13) in Evanston, Ill, 69-62.
After spotting the Wildcats a seven-
point lead, the Wolverines came back
to tie the score 10 minutes into the
game. The teams traded baskets on
the next five possessions before
Northwestern took the lead with three
minutes left before the intermission.
Michigan knotted the score at 46
apiece on forward Catherine
DiGiacinto'slayup with 14:35remain-
ing, but the Wildcats took the lead for
good four minutes later. Northwestern
went on an 11-0 run that spanned seven
minutes and left the Wolverines down
by nine with three minutes in the game.
Amy Johnson's fourth three-pointerof
the evening brought Michigan within
six with 46 seconds on the clock.
Akisha Franklin lead Michigan
with 13 points and three assists.
Johnson added 12 points, all from
behind the three-point arc. Forward
Jennifer Brzezinski chipped in 12
points before fouling out with one
minute remaining. The Wildcats held
a 16-6 edge in offensive rebounding.
"Their inside game hurt us and
they hurt us on the offensive boards,"
coach Trish Roberts said. "When
Brzezinski wentdown with her fourth
foul, we felt we seeded to pack it
inside ... Northwestern did a good
job, wejust let (the game) slip away."
Michelle Ratay led Northwestern
with 23 points. Maureen Holohan
had 19 points, eight rebounds, six
assists and five steals for the Wild-
cats.
The following Sunday, Michigan
came up short against a streaking
Michigan State squad. The Wolver-
ines lost, 70-65, despite a career-
high 19 points from Franklin. The
Spartans (8-7, 14-10), whose win-
ning streak reached six games against
Michigan, moved into fourth place
in the Big Ten and left the Wolver-
ines in the conference cellar.
Michigan held substantial leads
against the Spartans in both halves.
The Wolverine lead stretched to as
many as seven points in the second
half. But, Michigan State went on an
11-0 run and took the lead on guard
Chris Powers' three-pointer from the
left baseline with 9:08 remaining.
After scoring only four points in
the first stanza, DiGiacinto rattled
off 12 points in eight minutes. The
forward's layup nearly two minutes
into the half broke a 39-39 tie.
DiGiacinto's six-foot jumper with
11:29 remaining gave Michigan its
largest lead of the game, 58-51. But
Spartan forward Zareth Gray held
DiGiacinto scoreless in the last 12
minutes.

"We really wanted them," Gray
said. "All the talk in the locker room
before (the game) was paying them
back. We didn't think we should have
lost to them the first time. We knew
they hadn't seen even close to our best
game."
With just over a minute left in the
first half the Wolverines trailed by
seven. But a free throw by Brzezinski
and a jumper from DiGiacinto cut the
Spartan lead to four. After a 16-footer
from Michigan State guard Tanya
Place, Franklin drained a desperation
heave from the old pro three-point
range that banked off the glass with
:00.1 left on the clock.
Brzezinski, who scorched the Spar-
tans for 21 points in Ann Arbor, was
held to just five points and nine re-
bounds. DiGiacinto finished with 16
points on 8-for-12 shooting and col-
lected seven boards. Silver Shellman
added 12 points for the Wolverines.
Michigan turned the ball over 22
times and scored only four points in
the last seven minutes. The Wolver-
ines had five chances to cut into Michi-
gan State's five-point lead, but they
bumbled all but one opportunity.
"I don't think Michigan State beat
us," adisgruntled Roberts said. "I think
we beat ourselves. We made a lot of
mental and physical mistakes."
Kisha Kelley led Michigan State
with 22 points. While Spartan guard
Chris Powers eclipsed Michigan
State's all-time assist record against
the Wolverines, Kelley climbed within
three points of the all-time scoring
record. Freshman forward Bella Engen
chipped in 18 points and nine rebounds
for the Spartans.
Friday, the Wolverines were treated
to a 71-43 drubbing on their home
floor at the hands of Iowa. The
Hawkeyes (5-10, 9-16) jumped out to
a 12-5 lead and never looked back.
Michigan went over five minutes with-
out scoring while Iowa increased the
We got off to
another slow
start."
- Trish Roberts
Michigan basketball coach
deficit to 37-9. Iowa outscored the
Wolverines 42-16 in the first half.
Iowa held Michigan to 28 percent
shooting. The Wolverines hit only one
of 12 shots from three-point range in
the second half.
"We got off to another slow start,"
Roberts said. "We were playing against
the No. I defense in the Big Ten. Their
record is not indicative of how good of
a team they really are."
"We didn't get back in transition
and should have played betterdefense,
but Iowa is definately a good team,"
she said. .I look for them to possibly
win the conference tournament."
Brzezinski led Michigan with 17
points and six rebounds. The
Hawkeye's had a 47-35 edge on the
boards. Freshman center Tangela
Smith had a game-high 21 points and
ten boards for the Hawkeyes. Fellow-
freshman Tiffany Gooden chipped in
14 points and grabbed eight rebounds
for Iowa.
Yesterday, the Wolverines let All-
Big Ten selection Barb Franke rack up
31 points in Wisconsin's 80-64 vic-
See HOOPS, Page 9

6

I _

The Office of Student Activities & Leadership is
looking for student interns for the 1995-1996
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A Great Opportunity
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ARE ONE OF YOUR
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