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January 10, 1996 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-10

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSWednesday - Wednesday, January 10; 1996

'BASKETBLL/H**KE

Women hit cold spell at start of the Big Ten season.

By Jim Rose
Daily Sports Writer
With four wins in the season's first five
.games, the Michigan women's basketball
team got off to its best start in six years.
Then came the holiday break.
Nine games later, the Wolverines found
themselves on the other, less desirable side
of the .500 mark, after a difficult span that
included six road games and seven losses.
At 6-8 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten,
Michigan is in a precarious position, as the
all-important conference season kicks into
full gear.
Nebraska 70, Michigan 59
After falling behind by 11 in the first
half, the visiting Wolverines played even
with the Corhuskers the rest of the way,
but were unable to catch up.
Sophomore point guard Jennifer Kiefer
was one of the bright spots, scoring 11
points to go with six rebounds, five assists
and three steals in 38 minutes.
Michigan coach Trish Roberts was not
pleased with her team's performance.
"We have got to show up game after
game," she said. "We have a good team
but we have to learn to play with more
heart."
Kansas State 66, Michigan 63
The road woes continued in Kansas, as
the Wolverines once again found them-
selves playing catch-up.
Tiffany Willard, who led Michigan with

nine rebounds, missed a three-pointer to tie
the game as the clock ran out.
Freshman Ann Lemire led the Wolverines
with a career-high 19 points to go with seven
rebounds. Kiefer chipped in 14 points, in-
cluding four three-pointers.
The Wolverines had a good night from the
charity stripe (86.7 percent), as well as 10-21
shooting from three-point range.
Michigan 72, Houston 66
After an eight-day layoff, the Wolverines
regrouped to earn Roberts her 100th career
coaching victory.
"I have to say that I am very pleased with
the way our team played," Roberts said.
Sophomore center Pollyanna Johns led the
Wolverines with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Sophomore Molly Murray scored 19 points
off the bench to spark the squad.
Michigan overcame 39 points from Hous-
ton junior Pat Luckey, which equaled the
most points scored by a Michigan opponent in
a single game.
Michigan 104, Canisius 67
With the second highest point total inschool
history, the Wolverines destroyed the Golden
Griffins in a game that was decided long
before the final buzzer sounded.
Akisha Franklin paced Michigan with 17
points, while Silver Shellman added 16 to go
with five assists.
The Wolverines, who led 54-30 by half-
time, pulled down a season-high 59 rebounds
in the "contest."

Wisconsin 89, Michigan 48
In the Big Ten season-opener, the No. 17
Badgers took advantage of35 Michigan turn-
overs.
Johns, in her first Big Ten game after
missing last year with a knee injury, hauled
down 17 rebounds in the loss, but the Wol-
verines were unable to overcome a balanced
Wisconsin offense. Four Badgers scored in
double-digits, while Franklin was the only
Michigan player to do so. But her 13 points
were offset by nine turnovers.
The Wolverines dropped to 6-4, while
Wisconsin improved to 7-1.
The loss marked the sixth straight year in
which Michigan lost its Big Ten season opener.
Iowa 69, Michigan 53
The Hawkeyes improved to 26-2 all-time
against the Wolverines with the victory in
Ann Arbor, despite a late run by an inspired
Michigan team. The Wolverines cut the defi-
cit to three points with 10 minutes to play, but
were unable to come any closer.
"I thought we played real tough," Roberts
said. "But we have got to learn how to win
games. We were in this thing and could have
won, but failed to execute when we had to.
Catherine DiGiacinto gave us a spark off the
bench and Jennifer Kiefer was excellent. If
all of my players had the heart of Jennifer
Kiefer we would be undefeated."
DiGiacinto had seven points to go with
eight boards and three steals. Johns contrib-
uted 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Junior Amy Johnson hit a three-poivtcrty-
ing her with Jen Nuanes for first on Micigan's
all-time list with 85 three-pointers.
Northern Illinois 81, Michigan #9 ,
Michigan, after leading 41-38 at haIftin,
scored just 28 second-half points, while the
Huskies burned the Wolverines by shooting a
blistering 60 percent from the floor in thE last 0
minutes. It was Northern Illinois' third vict
The Huskies hit 10 straight free throw
the game's final four minutes to seal the win.
Johns led Michigan with 15 points, while
Franklin chipped in 14 points, six assists and
four steals.
Michigan State 66, Michigan 65
The Wolverines lost a heartbreaker in East
Lansing last week, despite a stellar 30-pqln,
15-rebound performance by Johns.
With 2.2 seconds left and the game tied,
Michigan's Akisha Franklin fouled Spartp
Tamika Matlock. Matlock connected onR
of two free throws to give State the win.
The Spartans were led by freshman.Nicole
Cushing, who scored 17 points and had 10
rebounds.
Northwestern 88, Michigan-65
Despite three players in double figures
(Johnson and Franklin with 14, Johns with
10), the Wolverines were beaten soundly by
an improved Northwestern squad. The Wild-
cats are 3-0 in the Big Ten.
Michigan shot just 37.1 percent frotrI
floor, and committed 25 turnovers. Th'Wol-
verines fell to 6-8, 0-4 in the Big Ten.

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
The Wolverines won four out of their first five games before
dropping the first four of the Big Ten season.

DOMINANCE
Continued from Page 1B
"The Little Caesar's and
Compuware youth programs in Michi-
gan, from the mites to the bantams,
regularly go up to Canada and knock
off the best teams in Ontario," Beagan
said. "The finest players in Michigan
and in Canada are playing hockey
right here in Michigan."
In the last decade or so, Michigan
teams have had A stranglehold on the
top spot in the CCHA. In the past 11
years, Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green
are the only non-Michigan teams to win
the CCHA regular season title. And
since 1980, only the Falcons have sto-
len away the CCHA playoff trophy
from Michigan teams.
"Michigan has a strong tradition of

hockey, from college hockey all the
way down to the lowest levels," said
Lake Superior coach JeffJackson, who's
led the Lakers to four CCHA playoff
championships and two NCAA titles in
the past five years.
"Midget hockey in the state ofMichi-
gan is playing basically the same sys-
tem as the Canadian teams play. The
amateur program is as much respon-
sible for our success than anything."
After winning the CCHA playoff
championship in 1992 and 1993 and
finishing second in 1994, Jackson's
teams made three consecutive appear-
ances in the NCAA championship game,
winning twice and losing in 1993 to a
Maine team that had lost only one game
the entire season.
The state of Michigan has placed a
team in the NCAA Final Four every

year but one since 1986 which includes
five national championships - three
by the Lakers and one each from North-
ern Michigan and Michigan State.
"We've got a lot of championship
caliber coaches in this league," Beagan
said.
Excellent coaches attract good play-
ers, a reason why Michigan teams are
so successful.
Take Jackson at Lake Superior who's
made that program competitive every
year. Red Berenson, a Hall of Fame
player in this league, is now a Hall of
Fame coach. Then there's Ron Mason,
the winningest coach in college hockey
history.
Mason's 742 wins as coach of Lake
Superior, Bowling Green and, for the
past 16 years, Michigan State are nearly
100 better than any other active coach.

Berenson is the largest CCHA threat to
Mason's record with 282 wins.
But more impressive than Mason's
durability, is his post-season success in
the mid-to-late '80s. The Spartans en-
joyed their own dynasty that included
three final four appearances between
1984 and 1989, highlighted by Mason's
only NCAA championship in 1986.
Michigan State won seven of nine con-
ference playoff trophies between 1982
and 1990 as well as four regular season
titles.
Western Michigan has been one the
emergent teams of the '90s. It has im-
proved each year and sat atop the CCHA
standings until Michigan State took
three games from Alaska-Fairbanks this
weekend.
The Broncos are ranked sixth nation-
ally, trailing only Michigan as the high-

est-ranked CCHA team.
"Michigan teams and the CCHA have
worked hard to establish good pro-
grams," Berenson said. "For a lot of.
these Michigan schools, hockey is their
big sport and they put a lot of heart into
it. It's a real tribute to these schools and
these two leagues that these teams have
been doing so well. Seven teams makes
a lot of arenas for one state to fill, but we
all do it."
The bottom-line is Michigan teams
win, and now there is quite a rivalry
among in-state teams. The Great Lakes
Invitational always draws well at
Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. Every year,
Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan
Tech and an at-large team (this year
Northern Michigan) battle in one of
college hockey's most exciting tourna-
ments.

Western Michigan has alreay' won
two of three games against the Wolver-
ines - the first time that has happened
in years. Competitive balance isn't
something that needs to be worked at-
it's always there.
Michigan players have consistently
stepped up when the regulaisear
winds down. Since 1991, everyp1 ,r
on the CCHA All-Tournament team
has been from a Michigan school.
So at the season's midway'point,
Western Michigan, Lake $SperiOr,
Michigan State and Michigan ire within
a couple of wins of each other,'ddiniat-
ing the CCHA and mystifying the
NCAA. And in late March, when only
four teams are still playing, don't be
surprised if two, three, or all fov f
those teams just might be froin e
Great Lake State.

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