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February 12, 1996 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-12

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 12, 1996

BASKETBALL

i

No.12 Penn State hands women's
hoops conference loss,83-63

By Chris Murphy
Daily Sports Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK - No matter how fast this team
spins its wheels, it just isn't going anywhere.
The Michigan women's basketball team is caught in a
major rut. Friday night's game against Penn State was all too
indicative of this; Michigan came out looking to assert itself,
but no matter how hard the players tried, they were still
i clearly overmatched.
The Lady Lions (9-2 Big Ten, 18-5 overall) simply were
better in all facets of the game. Penn State trounced the
Wolverines, 83-63, handing the team its fourth straight loss.
"They just pretty much overpowered us," said Michigan
coach Trish Roberts.
While the Wolverines (1-11, 7-15) were able to get off to
a strong start, the team just wasn't able to sustain its intensity
throughout. A swarming Lady Lion defense didn't help the
situation.
Penn State's defensive scheme was able to neutralize both
Michigan's inside and outside games. This game marked the
-first time a team was able to successfully defend center
Pollyanna Johns without constantly double-teaming her. The
Lady Lions used the extra defensive player to stop the
Wolverines' perimeter shooting.
Roberts expected Penn State to come out playing a zone
defense. Michigan looked confused when faced with a man-
to-man scheme.
"We thought they would play some zone on us but they
ieally stuck it to us," Roberts said. "We weren't setting good
picks and getting our perimeter players open."
In the absence of the outside shooting, Michigan went to its
inside game for help. The Wolverines did outscore Penn State
down low, 28-26, but missed layups kept them from cutting
,he ever-widening deficit.
The Lady Lions were able to make good use of their size.
- "They're a lot bigger than we are," Roberts said. "We've

only got one player that's over 6-3."
Penn State's height advantage gave the Lady Lions the
rebounding edge, 38-31.
Michigan's main problem was that it didn't take care of
the ball. Offensive miscues were the team's downfall; the
Wolverines had 28 turnovers on the night.
Penn State's ability to capitalize on Michigan mistakes
was the difference in the game. The Lady Lions scored 39
points off turnovers.
"When they turned up the defensive pressure our guards
turned the ball over," Roberts said. "And they capitalized."
The Lady Lions' offensive game utilized efficient pass-
ing. While the Wolverines were unable to create shooting
opportunities from the perimeter, Penn State continually
had shooters open behind the arc. The team was led by the
shooting of Tiffany Longworth. The junior guard shot 4-9
from 3-point land and finished with 13 points.
Tina Nicholson had a team high six assists. The senior
point guard leads the league in that category, averaging 8.7
per game. In addition, senior guard Katina Mack led the
Lady Lions with 14 points.
Michigan was able to control the pace of the game for
most of the first half. The team was successful in slowing
down Penn State's fast break-style offense. The Wolverines
also took advantage of a lack of emotion on the part of Penn
State.
"I wasn't very pleased with the first halfofthe game," said
Penn State coach Rene Portland. "There were too many
turnovers and we weren't playing with any thought of what
we'd done in practice the last few days."
It wasn't long before the Lady Lions were able to take
control of the game, though. Michigan could only watch as
Penn State started the second half with a 19-6 run. The
Wolverines just could not rotate to Penn State's open shoot-
ers. The run effectively ended any chance of a Michigan
comeback.

Michigan
no match
for Lady-
Lions 4
By Jim Rose
Daily Sports Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK - The Wol-
verines were not unusually bad Friday
night.
They were bad, but that's nothing
unusual.
The Michigan women's basketball
team stayed true to its recent forn, losing
an 83-63 laugherto avastly superior Pe
State team.
r ---> - .The No. 12

I

OPI

Lady Lions are
fighting fora share
of the Big Ten
lead, while the
Wolverines, are
struggling 'might-
ily just to stay out
of the conferenc
cellar. ~

Michigan point guard Jennifer Kiefer
(left) plays around 33 minutes a game.
Lately, the point guard has seen her
minutes reduced, though, as the
Wolverines search for a winning
combination on the floor. The junior did
see extensive action Friday against
Penn State, playing 33 minutes in the
83-63 loss.

MICHIGAN (63)_

46o +bcA JrCS. NY ''6 .+

Gift Shc
Michigan Le

tenses are a

Z00"'t / t6

1; elte

'P
ague
L

FG FT RED
MIN M-A M-A O-T A F PTS
Johnson 36 4-5 3-4 0-1 1 3 12
DiGiacinto 15 3-5 5-5 1-3 0 2 11
Johns 34 5-12 4-14 3-12 2 3 14
Franklin 31 2-4 7-8 1-1 1 4 11
Kiefer 33 0-4 0-0 2-0 2 1 0
Murray 7 1-2 0-2 0-0 0 3 3
Brzezinski 22 1-7 2-3 2-6 4 1 4
Shellman 9. 0-2 1.2 2-2 0 3 1
Willard 7 2-3 1-2 0-1 1 1 5
Poglits 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 2
Sikorski 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 194523-4012-31 ±122 63
FG%: .422. F1%:.57 5. Three-point goals: 2-4,_500
(Murray 1-2, Johnson 1-1, Franklin 0-1). Blocks: 3
(Brzezinski, Johns, Pogits). Turnovers: 28 (Franklin 8,
Kiefer 5, Johnson 4, Johns 3, DiGiacinto 2. Shellman
2. Willard 2, Murray, Brzezinski). Steals: 14
(Shellman 3, Johns 2, Franklin 2, Keifer 2, Murray 2,
Johnson, Brzezinski, Poglits). Technical Fouls: none.
PENN STATE (83)
FS FT REB
MIN M-A MA 0-T AFPTS
Longworth 25 4-10 1-2 3-4 5 1 13
Potthoff 18 4-6 1-4 2-3 2 2 9
Calhoun 17 2-2 4-4 2-4 0 3 8
Parsons 24 1-7 0-0 0-2 3 1 2
Nicholson 31 4-6 0-0 0-1 6 3 10
Mack 29 610 2-3 1-6 1 2 14
Brewer 14 3.7 4-4 1-4 0 4 10
Portland 11 0-2 0-0 0.1 1 1 0
Hrivnak 11 2-3 1-1 1-3 0 4 5
Hall 14 0-2 2-2 0-4 0 5 2
Jarosz 6 2-2 6-6 1-2 0 1 10
Totals 200 28-57 21-26 12-38 1827 83
FG%: .491. FT%: .808. Three-point goals: 6-17. .353
(Longworth 4-9, Nicholson 2-4, Mack 0-2, Parsons 0-
1, Portland 0-1). Blocks: 5 (Calhoun 4, Jarosz) -
Turnovers: 24 (Nicholson 6, Mack 4, Brewer 4,
Longworth 3, Potthoff, Parsons, Portland, Hrivnak,
Hall). Steals: 11(Mack 5, Longworth 2. Nicholson 2,
Calhoun, Parsons). Technical Fouls: none.
Michigan...30 33-63
Penn State .... 41 42--83
At: Bryce Jordan Center; A: 8.091

Michigan's Catherine DiGiacinto has rotated In at power forward. WALKER VANDYKE/Daily
Wolverines' siump
leads to lineup shuffle
By Jim Rose
Daily Sports Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK - Looking for a way to jump-start the Michigan
women's basketball team, coach Trish Roberts has been shuffling her lineup quite,
a bit lately. At one point or another, most of the players have found themselves on
the bench for extended periods of time in recent games.
Jennifer Kiefer started every game of her Michigan career (47) until last
weekend against Illinois. The point guard had been averaging 33 minutes per
game, but played just 18 against the Illini. At 5-foot-7, the diminutive Kiefer has
struggled to get her shot off recently.
Amy Johnson is another player whose minutes have fluctuated over the past
few games. After playing 35 minutes against Ohio State Jan.21, the junior forward
saw just 10 minutes of action five days later in the Wolverines' contest with
Minnesota. Since then, her minute totals have been up and down, varying between
21 and 36 in the past four games.
Roberts says the changes have been related to the duo's shooting woes.
"Amy and Kiefer have not been shooting the ball well
lately," Roberts said. "It takes Jennifer a while to get her shot
off."
Johnson didn't have much trouble with her shot Friday
against Penn State, though. She hit four of her five attempts,
Notebook including one of Michigan's two treys in the game.
Akisha Franklin has seen her minutes go up lately, as
Kiefer's have gone down. Roberts thinks the aggressive sopho-
more can provide the team with a spark.
"(Kiefer) doesn't penetrate like we would like our point
guard to, like Akisha does," Roberts said. "Some point guards
penetrate to dish off- (Franklin) penetrates to score."
Silver Shellman and Tiffany Willard have shared duties at the power forward
position, rotating with Catherine DiGiacinto.
Through all of this, the only player to consistently chalk up minutes in the 30s
has been Pollyanna Johns.
Other players, like Molly Murray and Jennifer Brzezinski, have seen reduced
playing time, as the Wolverines have searched for a combination that can result in
some victories.
As yet, that combination remains to be discovered.
JOHNS STANDS ALONE: Despite Michigan's anemic record - 1-II in the Big
Ten, 7-15 overall - sophomore center Pollyanna Johns is making a name for
herself around the Big Ten. After missing all of last year's conference season,
Johns is the Big Ten's leading rebounder, averaging 10.2 boards per contest.
That total also places her at 24th in the nation.
Johns is the only player in the conference averaging double-digits in
rebounding. Her average of 15.7 points per game is also notable, as it makes
her the ninth-leading scorer in the Big Ten. She also ranks 10th in blocks, with
13 for the season.
In Big Ten play, Johns has been even more impressive, putting up 16.8
points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Blue items 14/o off
Friday, February 9th-
Friday, February 16th

Ifyou're-think-
ing that this sounds a little bit like
David vs. Goliath, you're forgetting
one thing.
David had a chance, because he had
a weapon.
The Wolverines had neither Friday.
PollyannaJohns wound upwith decent
numbers (14 points and 12 boards), but
she was ineffective for most of the game.
The usually steady Jennifer Kiferw
unable to find the basket, going scorele
in 33 minutes. She did manage to turn the
ball over five times, though.
After leading the team in scoring twice
last weekend, Akisha Franklin's major
contribution came in the form of eight
turnovers.
Penn State was nowhere ne,,spec-
tacular, but it didn't matter.
"(Our players) weren't respecting
Michigan," Portland said. "That's
acceptable. We shouldjustbe Penn State.
Realistically, the Wolverines should
feel lucky. Lucky that the Lady Lions
didn't come ready to play. Lucky that the
Lady Lions turned the ball over2times.
Most of all, lucky that the Lady Lions
only won by 20 points.
Wereit notforthe sloppyball handling
and suspect decision-making of Penn
State's usually stellarTinaNicholson, the
final score could have been even mo
lopsided than it was.
Despite an unspectacular performance
offensively, Nicholson's defeii<pres-
sure was largely responsible f6r
Michigan's inept offense. In paticular,
her second-half defense frustrated Kiefer
and Franklin, causing turnover after turn-
over.
"Tina gets really annoyed vWhe the
team's intensity level is notwhereit'should
be," -Portland said. "So she was thrill
when I let them have it at halftime.'
For most of the game, Michigan
played timidly. Maybe it was b'ecause
Penn State is a nationally ranked-pow-
erhouse. Maybe it was a sense of u'r-
gency, brought on bythe reflatien
that with only one conferenc'Victory
andjust four games remaining, the Wol-
verines are in danger of not even equal-
ing last year's three Big Ten wins.
it's more likely that it was the crowd
of more than 8,000, which sfetc4
way back into the upper deck. IPs easy
to see why Michigan would b'eibtimi-
dated by the crowd's size, sintdhdme
crowds at Crisler Arena are st'mall,
fans aren't even allowed to sit in the
upper deck.
Whateverthe reason, the Wolvetines
seemed to spend most of-the game in a
state of panic.
All season long, Michigan iis suf-
fered when opposing teams colhapseb
Pollyanna Johns. The sagging defense
eliminates guard penetration and ex-
poses a lack of 3-point shooting.
But Friday night was adifferent-story.
Instead of daring Kiefer and Franklinto
hit the three, Penn State's gurds put
pressure on the pair - and theiestil'ts
were disheartening for the Wolverines.
Even though Johns was rarely double-
teamed in the low post, Michigan's
guards were unable to get the ball@
her. But an even bigger problem was
exposed when the top two Wolverine
guards were unable to handle th afen-
ive pressure.
If nothing else, this game served as a
not-so-gentle reminder that in a onfet-
ence full of Goliaths, Michigan is still
just a David - without.a slingshot.
AP women's
basketball Top 25'
1. Georgia 1&2
2. Louisiana Tech 19-1,
3. Connecticut 204-
4. Stanford 162,.
5. Iowa 19
6. Tennessee 17 4

7. TexasTech 17-2

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