10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 16, 1996
Struggling women's cagers hope once-hot
Wildcats, suddenly-hot Spartans go cold
By Andy Knudsen
Daily Sports Writer
Fora while, it looked like Northwestern might have
two dream seasons in one year.
After its football team shocked the nation by winning
the Big Ten Championship and finishing 10-2 for the
season, the women'sbasketball team tried to follow suit
by starting out 15-1 and 5-0 in the conference.
While the gridiron Wildcats climbed the polls with
wins in front of Touchdown Jesus and in The Big
House, the Lady Wildcats used their home floor of
Welsh-Ryan Arena to knock off then-No. 4 Penn
State, No. 16 Kansas and No. 25 DePaul.
But shortly after the purple sea closed on top of
Northwestern in the Rose Bowl, it also swept away
the hopes of its women's basketball team.
Since New Year's Day, the Wildcats (5-8 Big Ten,
16-9 overall) have lost eight straight conference games,
with their only relief coming in an easy non-confer-
ence win at Illinois-Chicago Feb. 6.
Tonight they hope to break their slump when they
take the floor against a struggling Michigan team (1-
11, 7-15) at 7:30 p.m. at Crisler Arena.
"We were a little surprised at (Northwestern's)
early pace since we played them last year and beat
them," Michigan coach Trish Roberts said.
The Wildcats, who were picked to finish in the
middle of the conference in the coach's preseason
poll, handily won their first meeting with the Wolver-
ines Jan. 7 in Evanston, 88-65.
"Their big players ran the floor well and got a lot of
layups on our girls," Roberts said.
But Roberts hasn't seen Northwestern play with
the same aggressiveness during its slump.
"They have not played with that intensity lately,"
she said. "This is a good time for us to be playing
The Wildcats still have four starters averaging
double digits in scoring, though. Seniorguard Michele
Ratay leads the team, averaging 17.4 points per game.
Junior forward Katrina Hannaford is chips in 17
points and 7.4 rebounds per contest.
Roberts said Michigan will play a zone defense
against Northwestern since the Wildcats have
struggled against it recently. In the Jan. 7 loss, the
Wolverines played man-to-man, defensively.
But Roberts hasn't figured out what lineup she
wants to put on the floor. Sophomores Pollyanna
Johns, Akisha Franklin and Jennifer Kiefer should
start, while senior Jennifer Brzezinski and juniors
Molly Murray, Amy Johnson, Catherine DiGiacinto
and Silver Shellman will compete for the two
remaining starting positions.
Michigan's weekena continues Sunday when it
hosts Michigan State (6-6, 14-8) at noon.
The Wolverines will have a score to settle against
the Spartans for the heartbreaking 66-65 loss Jan. 5 in
Michigan State didn't play like a .500 team last
weekend, however, when it gave first-place Iowa (11-
1, 20-2) a run for its money in a 71-65 loss and handed
second-place Wisconsin (10-2, 18-4) its second con-
"(Michigan State) started out slow, but with each
game they have improved," Roberts said.
But the Spartans don't have a true center in their
starting five, a flaw which Michigan hopes the 6-foot-
3 Johns can exploit.
The Wolverines will switch back to man-to-man
defense for Sunday's game in hopes of containing
Spartan point guard Tamika Matlock, who Roberts
called, "the key to their game."
With four games remaining, Michigan is still trying
to match its conference win total from last year when
it finished 3-13 in the Big Ten.
"We definitely don't want to finish lower than last
year," Roberts said. "We think our chances of winning
(this weekend) are great."
The Wolverines dove into second place after one day of the Big Ten Championships.
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Continued from Page 9
ines, setting a pool record in the prelimi-
naries of the 200 individual medley. He
finished first in the championship, aswell.
"I swam pretty well in the 200 IM,"
Lancaster said. "I had no idea that I had
even broken the record this morning.
"Last year I set the Big Ten record,
so I was a little disappointed that I
was off that this (year), but the pool
record made me feel better."
The 50 freestyle was amonochromatic
art lesson, consisting mainly of red hues
- Indiana crimson and Minnesota ma-
roon. No Michigan swimmer even en-
tered the event.
Last year's Big Ten and NCAA one-
meter diving champion, Minnesota's P.1.
Bogart, repeated his title, while
Michigan's Alex Bogaerts finished fifth.
The 400 relay team of Buyukuncu,
Dolan, Lancaster and Piersma finished
first on the scoreboard but were disquali-
fied for a false start on one leg.
The disqualification was not seen as a
complete loss for the Wolverines.
"We all know we swam our best,"
Lancaster said. "Things happen and (the
disqualifidation) is what happened. It was
a good swim for us, though."
Another bnght note of the disqualifica-
tion is that Buyukuncu's backstroke split
time of 47.70 seconds qualified him for
Continued from Page 9
all four teams can finish in the top spot or
in fourth place.
Here's the outlook (You may want to
brush up on your math skills first):
" MICHIGAN STATE
The No.5 Spartans have the best record
in the CCHA and have sat atop the league
standings since the new year. They have
the upper hand because they are three
points ahead of the other contenders.
However, Michigan State has played
one more game than Michigan and Lake
Supenor - which means its lead could
shrink by two points without having a
chance to make up the difference.
But the second-place Broncos have
played one more game than the Spartans,
which can only help Mason's club. The
key for Michigan State is to beat Lake
Superior tonight at the Joe -a venue that
the Spartans found so much success in
during the 1980s, that fans dubbed it
"Munn East,"in honor oftheirhome rink.
Then they'll only need a split with
Michigan coupled with wins on the road
against Notre Dame and at Munn against
fifth-place Bowling Green to secure their
first regular-season title since they won
two straight in 1989 and 1990.
That would put Michigan State in a
first-place tie with the Broncos and give
the title to the Spartans due to a 2-1 series
The No. 4 Wolvennes are in somewhat
of a bind, even though they control their
own fate. Michigandroppedtothirdplace
with Western's victory Tuesday.
Tying Ohio State twice and dropping a
6-5 decision to Bowling Green the last
week of January didn't help matters ei-
ther. Even worse for the Wolverines,
should they find themselves tied with
Western Michigan for first place at the
end of the season, the Broncos win the
The Wolvennes also have the toughest
schedule of the four teams. After this
weekend'sgames, Michigan makes along
trip to Lake Superior, then meets Michi-
gan State and Bowling Green on the last
weekend of the season.
Even if the Wolverines beat Bowling
Green, sweep the Lakers and get by Notre
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With two days of competition remain
ing, the Wolverines hop --to become drop-
outs. Of the school of hard knocks, that is.
"Everything's turned out Ok consider-
mg the 50 freestyle, the relay and the fact
that the 500 didn't turn out the way we
wanted," Lancaster said. "(But these)
problems we have to take care of in the
next two days, but it is possible."
Competition continues today and Sat-
urday with preliminaries at noon and fi-
nals at 7 p.m.
Dame, two wins over the Spartans is a lot
If Michigan and Michigan State split,
Berenson will have to root for Lake Supe-
rior and Bowling Green to knock the
Spartans off. A tie would favor Michigan
Ifthe Wolverines split with the Lakers,
but manage to take two games from thq
Spartans, then only one team will need to
beat Michigan State because the Wolver-
ines would hold a 2-1 series advantage.
. WESTERN MICHIGAN
The No. 7 Broncos certainly have the
easiest remaining schedule of any team.
They entertain Miami (Ohio) tomorrow
and then travel to eighth-place Alaska-
Fairbanks for three games next week.
If Western had swept Michigan State
last week, coach Bill Wilkinson would be
partying in Kalamazoo right now.
The Broncos have played one more
game than Michigan State and two more
than both Michigan and Lake Superior.
Even if they can go unbeaten in their next
four games, the Broncos need Michigan
State to lose twice and Michigan to tie at
least once to win the title.
* LAKE SUPERIOR STATE
Okay, here's where it gets a little tricky.
If the sixth-ranked Lakers win their reb
mnaining six games, they'll be wearing'
championship rings no matter what any
other team does.
No. 6 Lake Supenor already has the
series edge over the Spartans and Michi-
gan State has played one more game than
the Lakers. So if Lake State beats Michi-
gan State and either Ohio State or Miami
(Ohio)the first weekend ofMarch, every-
thing comes down to head-to-head play.
If the Lakers split with Michigan and
win the rest of their games, includin@
tonight against the Spartans, they'll need
the Broncos to tie once and Michigan
State to lose one other game. Michigan
would have to lose another game as well
K HIGHEST QUALITY!
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'Gin 0Fi VeC19
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Location: Michigan Union
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