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November 24, 1997 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-24

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - November 24, 1997 - 5B

'M' women improve to
beat State, win tourney

By Josh Kilanbaum
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - Saturday, the
Michigan women's basketball team
showed just how good it can be.
Friday, it showed just how bad it can
be.
Luckily for the Wolverines, they
played the tough competition
Saturday.
Despite playing an extremely slop-
py game, the Wolverines defeated an
even sloppier St. John's team in the
opening round of the MSU-Felpausch
tournament, 72-55. Michigan played
just the opposite in the championship
game, defeating host Michigan State,
89-72.
Anne Thorius lead the Wolverines
with 22 points in the championship
game, and Pollyanna Johns added 21
points and 16 rebounds. Bella Engen
paced the Spartans with 18 points.
Michigan used an early 14-0 run to
jump out to a quick lead.
Several times in the second half,
the Spartans threatened the
Wolverines' lead. But every time, the
Wolverines responded with strong
runs, putting more distance between
themselves and the Spartans.
With just more than 14 minutes
left, Engen hit a driving layup, cap-
ping a 12-5 Michigan State run and
cutting the Michigan lead to nine.
But then Thorius took over. The
freshman point guard made two 3-
pointers and a jumper to lead
Michigan on a 10-point run and
regain control of the game.
But the Spartans did not give up.
With nine minutes left, Christie Pung

hit an easy layup, drawing the
Spartans to within 12. Then the
Wolverines put the game away.
Johns converted a three-point play,
and Akisha Franklin added four
points as the Wolverines put together
another run, this one for 11 straight
points, giving the Wolverines a 23-
point lead with just six minutes left.
After that, Michigan State never
pulled within 15 points.
Johns quickly established herself as
a dominant force in the post. In the
first eight minutes of the game, she
hit three layups and one jump shot.
Incredibly, she was fouled on all four
shots and converted two of four from
the line.
"I knew Michigan State might have
a little trouble inside defending
Johns," Michigan coach Sue Guevara
said. "We took advantage of her
strength."
By halftime, Johns had already
compiled a double-double, scoring 13
points on 5-for-7 shooting from the
field and grabbing 12 rebounds -
five of them offensive.
The Spartans soon realized that
they had no one strong enough to
defend Johns and resorted to hacking
her, sending her to the free-throw
line.
But that backfired on the Spartans.
Time and again, Johns hit the shot on
which she was fouled and went to the
line to try to complete the three-point
play. The fouls also put Michigan
State center Kristen Rasmussen from
into foul trouble early, leaving a
freshman, Erin Skelly, to guard Johns.
Rasmussen fouled out after playing

11

I I

only 19 minutes.
"It was good for me and the kids to
see the improvement from yesterday
to today," Guevara said Saturday.
"That's what we talk about every
game. We need to improve on the
game before."
And improve they did.
In the opening-round victory over
St. John's, the Wolverines won a game
that was flat-out ugly. The two teams
combined for 47 turnovers. Neithet
team shot above 31 percent from the
field in the first half. Passes were
completely missing their intended tar-
gets - if they had intended targets at
all.
"It was a win, but it was ugly,"
Guevara said. "I've watched our team
for 25 days, and I didn't know that
team that was out there."
Despite the sloppy play, the
Wolverines never trailed after seven
minutes had gone by. But it was much
closer than the final score indicated.
Three minutes into the second half,
the Red Storm cut the Michigan lead
to just one. With just eight minutes
left in the game, Michigan held only a
three-point lead.
"We came out very tentative; we
couldn't score," Guevara said. "We
were a little impatient, and we're
lucky that we won."
It wasn't just luck, though. It was
Stacey Thomas.
After the Red Storm, cut the lead to
three, Thomas scored five straight
points, giving the Wolverines a little
breathing room. Thomas would add
nine more in the last seven minutes,
giving her 19 for the game.

4

i

A

MLLOY S.E. FLOY/UDil
yanna Johns led the Michigan women's basketball team to victories over St. Johns and Michigan State in this weekend's
U-elpausch Tournament in East Lansing. Johns had a double-double in the championship game against Michigan State,
ting 21 points and 16 rebounds.

Vsing voice from stalls, Thorius picks Blue out from toilet
Freshman plays entire 40 minutes in tournament championship game, scores 22 points to lead 'M' women's basketball team

By Jish Kl.inbaum
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - Just minutes before
he championship game of the MSU-
Felpausch tournament on Saturday, Anne
Thorius, the starting point guard on the
Michigan women's basketball team, was
s1,814in a bathroom stall, minding her
own business.
Then a voice came from the next stall.
"Anne," the voice said, "we need you to
scorg today."
Thorius took coach Sue Guevara's words
to heart and led the Wolverines with an
astounding 22-point performance. She
played all 40 minutes of Michigan's 89-72
victory over Michigan State.
"I should have told her that Friday, huh?"
Cbvara said of the bathroom comment.
Friday was when Michigan survived a
scare from St. John's in the tournament's
opener. In that game, Thorius looked like
what she is - a freshman. She seemed
unfamiliar with her teammates, missing
passis and turning the ball over.
Thorius was only 2-of-3 from the field,
scoring five points. She recorded just two
assists and turned over the ball four times.
She played sloppy in a game that was slop-
p 11 around.
hat a difference a day made.
In the championship game, Thorius, who
was named to the all-tournament team,

took Guevara's advice and came out scor-
ing. She took 10 more shots than she did in
the opener, but she wasn't. selfish, adding
six assists.
But the most remarkable thing about
Thorius's performance was the minutes she
played. In just her second game at the col-
legiate level, she played the entire 40 min-
utes.
"I didn't know she played 40 minutes,"
Guevara said. "I just realized I never took
her out."
Guevara compared her to players like
Stacey Thomas and Pollyanna Johns, who
only come out of the game if they do some-
thing that Guevara needs to talk to them
about, or if they get into foul trouble.
In the second half, the Wolverines shot
an astonishing 69 percent from the field -
a testament to Thorius's ability to find the
open player.
After a solid first half - eight points,
one assist, one turnover, two steals -
Thorius had a dominant second half.
In the half, she was 6-of-8 from the field
- including two 3-pointers - for 14
points. She added five assists and two
rebounds.
The highlight of her game was a two-
minute stretch midway through the second
half.
First, Ann Lemire found Thorius open in
the corner. Thorius took the feed and

"of course there's a
lot of pressure
coming out and
having to run the
plays. But I feel
pretty comfotable
out there."I
-- Anne Thorius
Michigan freshman guard
knocked down a trey, giving Michigan a
12-point lead. One minute later, Thorius
took the ball at the top of the key and drove
to the hoop, easily penetrating the
Michigan State defense for a layup. Just 45
seconds later, Akisha Franklin dished the
ball to Thorius, who nailed another 3-
pointer.
Thorius' offensive explosion led a
Michigan run that turned a nine-point lead
into a 19-point cushion.
"Of course there's a lot of pressure com-
ing out and having to run the plays,"
Thorius said. "But I feelpretty comfortable
out there. The pressure is on everybody."

MALLORY S.E. FLOYD/Daily
As she sat minding - or doing - her own business before Saturday's game at Michigan State, fresh.
man guard Anne Thorius heard a voice booming from the stall next to hers in the bathroom. it was her
coach, Sue Guevara, imploring her to do more scoring. Thorlus responded, wiping away the Spartans by
scoring 22 points and by playing all 40 minutes of the game.

Facing Michigan
tate, Guevara faces
ormer team, boss
3 Wolverines make All-Tournament Team
By Tracy Sandier
Daily Sports Writer "The bottom line
Teacher versus student always pre-
S.ts an interesting dynamic, espe- is Michigan played
Ywhen talking about coaching.
Michigan women's basketball very well. We did
coach Sue Guevara was an assistant
under Michigan State coach Karen not.

---""p9

A

Langeland for 10 years. Last season,
Guevara coached against her former
team and lost.
At this weekend's 1997 MSU-
Felpausch Tournament, the
Wolverines played
Spatan inthe
game, giving
Guevara another
chance at victory.
She and the
Wolverines suc-
ceeded, winning
the game, 89-72.
"I learned a lot from (Karen)

- - Karen Langeland
Michigan State women's
basketball coach
champs. It's my job to catch you.' We
have to take steps, and today, we
took a big step."~
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: The
Wolverines accounted for three of
the five members of the weekend's
All-Tournament Team - Stacey
Thomas, Anne Thorius and
Pollyanna Johns. The other two
members of the team are Fresno
State's Connie Krueger and

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