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March 06, 1995 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-06

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6 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 6, 1995

Shallow bench sinks
women in tournament

Women cagers get
little fan support

By Ravi Gopal
Daily Basketball Writer
INDIANAPOLIS -- At the 8:37
mark of the first half of Friday's contest
against Michigan State, things were
looking very good for the Michigan
women's basketball team.

,, Court

"ess

Spartan coach Karen Langeland had
just called a time-out after Michigan
scored nine straightpoints, all on three-
pointers.
Michigan State's All-Big Ten se-
lection, Kisha Kelley, wason the bench.
Kelley picked up two early fouls and
sat down within six minutes of tip-off.
The Spartans had given the ball up
nine times, the Wolverines, four.
An upsethad already occurred ear-
lier that day. Ninth-seeded Iowa
knocked off No. 8 Minnesota, 57-44.
Just prior to Michigan's game, No. 10
Illinois gave No. 7 Ohio State all it
could handle before collapsing at the
end, 87-73.
Everything pointed to a Wolverine
victory and a Saturday night date with
third-seeded Wisconsin.
But the Spartans came out of the
time-out possessed, going on a 24-4
run tocloseout the half with a 13-point
lead, 36-23.
It got uglier in the second half, as
Michigan State went on a 20-8 run to
end the game. Kelley, playing just 16
minutes, racked up 16 points.
For Michigan, it shouldn't have
ended this way. Not with nearly a half-
dozen players either injured or
redshirted.
Where were the post players coach
Trish Roberts could insert? Where were
the bench players Roberts could put in
when her starters became weary? Last
year, the Wolverines only played seven
players the entire season. Then, fatigue
was to be expected.
But this season, it shouldn't have
been a topic of conversation, with the
No. I 1 recruiting class in the country.
The heat had been taken off the starters.
A 22-point loss to its intrastate
rival - a team Michigan has
matched up with well before? No,
that wasn't the way it was supposed
to happen.
...
Jennifer Brzezinski, who led the
Wolverines this season in nearly every
offensive category, got confused on a
play at the 17:28 mark of the second
half. Laying low at the top of the key
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with teammate Amy Johnson motion-
ing her to move, Brzezinski didn't see
the ball come at her from Akisha
Franklin.
The ball bounced off her and was
stolen by Michigan State's Paula Sand-
ers. Brzezinski was promptly benched.
At the 5:39 mark of the second
half, with the Spartans in the midst
of their game-ending spurt, sopho-
more Catherine DiGiacinto was as-
sessed a technical foul for arguing a
call with a referee. It was her fifth
foul, so she took a seat on the bench
as well.
Amy Johnson, one of the few Wol-
verines who can create something off
the dribble, was on the bench nearly
half the game. Her one-for-seven
shooting performance from the field
didn't help matters.
***
"Our kids are mentally and physi-
cally drained," Roberts said after the
game.
Playingjust seven women over 10
minutes apiece Friday night, the Wol-
verines were shorthanded. Entering
the contest, Michigan had lost 11 of
its past 12 games. Four of those losses
were by seven points or less.
"Playing three post players...we're
small in the post," Roberts said.
Losing players left and right due
to injuries left the Wolverines very
thin; just having warm bodies on the
bench could have gotten Michigan a
couple more victories. As it was,
Michigan often competed against
teams that were bigger and deeper .
This week, Michigan will re-
turn to weights, conditioning and
workouts. The '94-'95 campaign
may be over, but the '95-'96 season
has begun.
Forward Tennille Caruthers and
guard Semelda Everton will get
themselves back to their playing lev-
els of fitness after redshirt seasons.
Guard Jennifer Kiefer and center
Pollyana Johns will be back after
injuries. Recruits will arrive, mak-
ing the Wolverines greater in num-
ber. None of the current players will
graduate.
Come next year, will there be
losses? Yes.
Will there be setbacks? Yes.
Will there be injuries? Probably.
But will there be a seven-person
Michigan team, doing what it can to
avertloss after loss, not having enough
players to conduct a five-on-five
scrimmage, thoroughly fatigued by
the end of the season?
No.
And will that be better for Michi-
gan?
Yes.

JOE WESTRATE/Daily
The efforts of Tiffany Willard, Jennifer Brzezinski and the Wolverines have
gone largely unnoticed by Michigan fans this season.
Hardwo o vio ries
grabbed on boards

By David Rothbart
Daily Basketball Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - Hinkle
Fieldhouse may never have been qui-
eter since its construction in 1928
than it was during Michigan's 81-59
loss.
In the game that preceded the
Wolverines',which pitted Ohio State
against Illinois, the Fieldhouse was
rocking. Swarms of people in red and
orange sweatshirts threatened to blow
the roof off with the force of their
cheers.
During Michigan's game with
Michigan State, the arena was near-
silent.
Indianapolis is only a four-hour
drive from Ann Arbor, but only a
handful of Michigan fans made the
trip. One who cheered on the Wol-
verines Friday night was LSA se-
nior DeOndre Sims.
"Michigan fans are spoiled," Sims
said. "Unless the teams are winning,
they don't get any support."
Senior cheerleader Zeghai
Tekeste agreed. "(The women's
team) isn't supported at home
games, so you can't expect support
away," he said. "Women's hoops
(at Michigan) just hasn't caught on
yet."
Even Michigan's cheerleaders
were quiet Friday, silenced by a rule
that forbids bands and cheerleaders to
perform on school days. If Michigan
had advanced, the cheerleaders would
have been allowed to perform Satur-
day and Sunday.
"We didn't know about the rule
until we got here," freshman cheer-
leader Carla Perez said. "It's really
frustrating. It's too bad there's not
more Michigan fans here to cheer
them on."
W-OMEN
Continued from page 1
seconds, and again found herself on
the bench. Michigan was unable to
take advantage of Kelley's absence
by cutting into the Spartans' lead.
Michigan State guard Christine Pow-
ers knocked down two treys and fresh-
man forward Bella Engen muscled
her way in the lane for two putbacks.
The Wolverines whittled the defi-
cit to nine with seven minutes to go,
but Kelley returned to ignite a 9-1
spurt that put the game out of reach.
Franklin finished the game with
15 points, five assists, six rebounds
and three steals. Shellman added I11
points and Jennifer Brzezinski had 10
rebounds and seven points. Powers
led Michigan State with 19 points,
while Kelley scored 16 points in only
16 minutes.
For the contest, the Wolverines
shot 36 percent to the Spartans' 49
percent. Michigan State had the re-I
bounding edge, 42-28.
Roberts said Michigan State's
zone defense was to blame for
Michigan's shooting woes.
"We knew they would go with the
zone," she said. "We worked on
swinging the ball around in the post,
we just didn't play as well as we did
(the last two times) we played them."
"The zone really threw us,"
Brzezinski said. "They double-teamed
underneath and it was hard to kick it
out. They'd collapse two or three play-
ers on you."
Roberts said, "Michigan State

wanted (the win) more than we did."
Langeland said the offensive pro-

"The team does need support,"
Carlotta Willard said. Her daughter,
Tiffany, plays forward and contrib-
uted seven points and three rebounds
Friday.
"They've worked very hard, and
their hard work paid off some this
"Michigan fans
are spoiled. Unless
the teams are
winning, they don't
get any support.
-DeOndre Simms
Michigan basketball fan
year," Willard said. "Next year, the
results will really show. Hopefully,
the fans will come then."..
The crowds for women's games at
Crisler Arena this year have been
higher than previous seasons. Coach
Trish Roberts credits the home crowd
for giving her team a lift.
"When we're up, they keep us up,
when we're down, they keep us go-
ing," Roberts said.
The lack of fans may have hurt the
Wolverines Friday. Michigan took a
19-12 lead, but there were few fans to
keep the team excited.
As Michigan rallied in the second
half and cut the Spartans' lead to nine,
there were few fans to urge them on.
"Playing athome is best," forward
Jennifer Brzezinski said.
LSA sophomore Mark Cousineau,
a Michigan fan, outlined the paradox.
"The team plays better when they
have more fans," he said. "But they
won't have more fans until they play
better."
duction of Kelley and Powers was 0
crucial.
"Kisha, the hacker that she is, still
played a good game, and Christine
kept us in the game when we were
down," Langeland said. "We focused
on outrebounding Michigan and we
did."
The Spartans' victory kept them
alive in the single-elimination tour-
nament. The winner receives an auto-
matic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Roberts said her team will return
to Ann Arbor and rest for a week
before beginning preparations for next
season.
"We'll work on improving indi-
vidually and as a team," Roberts said.
"Right now, we're mentally drained.
It's been a long, frustrating season for
us. We started strong, but all the inju-
ries really hurt us. At the beginning of
the year, I never thought we'd finish
8-19. I had higher hopes."
MICHIGAN (59)
FG FT Reb.
Mi . M-A M-A O-T A F Ps,
Brzezinski 32 3.9 1-3 3.10 0 4 7
Shellman 23 46 0-0 0-2 2 1 11
DiGiacinto 23 3.5 0-2 2.4 0 5 6
Franklin. 32 5-14 3-6 3-6 5 3 15
Johnson 31 1-7 2.2 1-3 4 2 4
Murray 28 3-13 00 0-0 1 2 7
Ross 8 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 3 2
Sykorski 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Willard 25 3-6 1-2 1-3 2 3 7
Totals 200 23-63 7-1710-28 14 23 59 4
FG%- .365. FT%- .412Three-point goals: 6-20,
.300(Shellman 3-4, Franklin 2.5, Murray 1-6, Brzezinski 0-
1, Ross 0.1, Johnson 0-3). Blocks: 2 (Brzezinski.
DiGiacinto). Turnovers: 15(Franklin 6, Murray 2, Ross 2.
Shellman 2, Brzezinski, Johnson, Willard). Steals: 14
(Shellman 6. Franklin 3, Willard 2, Brzezinski, DiGiacinto,
Ross). Technical Fouls: DiGiacinto.

By Ravi Gopal
Daily Basketball Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - Instead of
playing six halves in its three games
against Michigan State this season, the
Wolverines could have played three.
That's because in all three contests,
the winner was decided by halftime.
Whichever team held a rebounding ad-
vantage going into the lockerroom
wound up with the victory.
In Michigan's 80-75 win against
the Spartans Jan. 6, the Wolverines held
a commanding 47-32 edge on the glass.
Jennifer Brzezinski led Michigan with
21 points and 14 rebounds.
On Feb. 19, Michigan State paid
back Michigan for its loss at Crisler,
70-65. The Spartans held a slim 38-36
margin on the boards.
Who won the battle of the boards
Friday night?
The Spartans, 42-28.
ALONE IN THE ZONE: Michigan had
trouble with Michigan State's zone
defense Friday night. The Spartans
collapsed on any Wolverine who re-
ceived the ball in the paint, forcing
them to either take a bad shot or kick
the ball outside. Michigan did a little
of both - with disastrous results.
Brzezinski, Catherine DiGiacinto
and Tiffany Willard weren't able to
establish much of an inside game (20
pts. combined).
"Their zone really threw us in the
first half," said Brzezinski, who was
held nearly six points below her scor-
ing average (seven vs. 12.6).
As a result, the heat was on the
perimeter players all night long. The

Wolverines were forced to launch
bombs from beyond the arc, putting
up 20 treys altogether. And with long
shots come long rebounds, which
Michigan State hauled down and con-
verted into fast-break layups at the
other end.
"We practiced (playing against
the zone) all week long," Michigan
coach Trish Roberts said. "For some
reason, our post players weren't get-
ting the ball to the open players."
SOPHOMORE SLUMP: After a sensa-
tional freshman season in which she
averaged 15.6 points per game, guard
Amy Johnson's play took a turn for
the worse this year. Although she was
Michigan's second-lcading scorer this
season (11.4 ppg), her field goal per-
centage declined (.388 last season
compared to .367 this year, .377 3-
point percentage last season against
.283 this year) as did her faith in her
shot.
"(Johnson's play) has been one of
the biggest disappointments for us all
year long," Roberts said.
As the focal point of the offense last
season, Johnson had control of the ball
for most of each game. This year, with
the addition of guards Akisha Franklin
and Molly Murray, Johnson has had a
hard time adjusting to life without the
ball.
"Amy Johnson doesn't play well
without the basketball," Roberts said.
"She's lost a lot of confidence in her
shooting throughout the season."
Her lack of confidence was evi-
dent Friday, as she closed out the '94-
'95 campaign by hitting just one-of-
seven shots from the field in 21 min-
utes of action.

MICHIGAN STATE (81)
FG
Sanders 29 3-6
K. Kelley 16 6.1345 .4 5 1
Engen 23 2-54416 0 8
Powers 30 6-11
Euler 27 3-70-12 1 6
Place 23 3-8012- 2 7
D. Kelley 6 0-0
Collier 2 0-0
Wesley 22 4-5
Burn 4 0-0
Gray 16 2-4
Smith 2 0-0

FT Reb.
4- 1
4-4 0-5
0-0 1-2
0-0 0-0
4-6 0-2
0-0 o-0a
2-4 2-5

A
4
2
1
4
3
2
0
0
3
0

F
a
5
a
2
1
2
a
a
z
a
z

Pts.
6,
16
6
19
6
7
0'
0
13
0
6
0'

- ,,
_

I

L

I I

a-o 0-0 0 0

(ACT

Totals 200 29-59 18-2610-42 15 14 81
FG%-..492. FT%-.692. Three-point goals: 5.12,.417(Pow-
ers 3-7, Wesley 1-1, Place 1-3, Engen 0.1). Blocks: 5
(Sanders 3, Place, Wesley). Turnovers: 18 (Sanders 4,
Euler 3, Powers 3, Gray 2, Place 2, Wesley 2, Engen, D.
Kelley). Steals: 10 (Euler 2, Sanders 2, Engen, D. Kelley,
K. Kelley, Place, Powers, Wesley). Technical Fouls: none.
Michigan ...........2311,36 - 59
Michigan State.........36' 45 -81
Hinkle Fieldhouse

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