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December 01, 1997 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-01

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68 - The Michigan Daily -SPORTSMonday - December 1, 1997

1997-98

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Guevara has Blue back on track
Second-year coach has lofty goals for this year's Wolverines

4 Molly Murray
Senior - forward

By Andy Latack
Daily Sports Writer
"1999 Final Four."
The words race across Michigan women's bas-
ketball coach Sue Guevara's computer monitor -
a screen-saver with attitude.
"That is definitely a goal for us at Michigan,"
the second-year coach said proudly, glancing at
the hefty prognostication behind her. "Right now,
things are only going to get better."
Such talk would have seemed ridiculous a year
ago, as the former Michigan State assistant stood
poised to take over a Michigan program that had
finished above .500 just once since the 1981-82
season.
Yet, in her inaugural season, Guevara shattered
all expectations as Michigan's interim coach,
leading the Wolverines to a 15-1l record, 7-9 in
Big Ten play. In February of last season, then-
Michigan Athletic Director Joe Roberson
removed the interim label from Guevara's title,
handing her the reigns and calling off the planned
search for a replacement.
Now, as Guevara sits in her spacious corner
office in Weidenbach Hall, it appears as if the
optimism surrounding the program is justified.
Michigan is off to a 4-1 start, one that rivals
last year's record-breaking 11-3 beginning. The
Wolverines, picked to finish fourth in the confer-
ence by The Sporting News, are riding high on the
promise of a very bright future.
Not bad for a group of players that has yet to
win a Big Ten tournament game.
Michigan owes this resurgence in large part to
Guevara's fast-paced coaching style, an approach
borrowed from Michigan State coach Karen
Langeland, under whom Guevara served from
1987-96.
During this time, the Wolverines were a door-
mat for the Spartans, winning just four of 21
meetings.

When Guevara was offered the interim position
at Michigan in 1996, she was undeterred by the
Wolverines' previous mediocrity, an outlook rep-
resentative of her unceasingly positive demeanor.
"I knew there was talent on the team," Guevara
said of her attitude upon replacing beleagured
coach Trish Roberts. "There were shooters and a
strong inside game, and I knew the Ws would
come."
Although Guevara and the Wolverines lost to
the Spartans in their only meeting of the 1996
season, Michigan avenged the loss, beating the
defending Big Ten champions last weekend in the
championship game of the Felpausch tourna-
ment.
Guevara has worked hard to elevate the pro-
gram to where it is today. For the majority of last
season, she was branded an interim coach, a label
that limited her freedom, especially in her ability
to recruit.
"We lost some kids because I was an interim."
Guevara recalled. "They really loved Michigan,
they liked me and they liked my coaching staff,
but they were afraid that we weren't going to be
there.
"I had to tell them that the University of
Michigan has so much to offer you academically
and, if I'm not coaching you, someone better than
me is going to."
In hindsight, it would be very difficult to find
someone better than Guevara at what she does.
From the time she assumed the position of
interim coach, Guevara began developing a bond
with her team.
"I'm a communicator," Guevara says of her
coaching style. "I love my kids and I like to let my
kids know when I'm happy with them and when
I'm not."
Because of this straightforward attitude, the
team and Guevara began to gel, even though the
coach's future was mired in uncertainty.

Thus, by the time Guevara became Michigan"'s
permanent coach, cohesiveness between her and
the team was not a concern.
"My approach was: I am the coach, and that's
not going to change," Guevara said. "Being
named head coach didn't change our relationship,
because we never approached it like I was an
interim."
Indeed, Guevara views team unity as essential
to a successful season. Requiring that players
alternate roommates every road trip, Guevara
consults her troops on many decisions regarding
the program.
When a recruit makes a visit to Michigan,
Guevara quickly introduces the newcomer to the
team. After all, Guevara explains, "they're the
ones who will be spending the most time togeth-
er.
"The recruits won't be going to the bowling
alley or out to lunch with me, they'll be going
with their teammates."
Much like Guevara's Final Four objective,
which continually races across the computer
screen in her office, the coach is constantly in
motion. Arriving at 8:30 every morning,
Guevara often stays late into the night, especially
when she needs to perform recruiting duties.
Guevara's commitment is paying immediate
dividends. In her first season, Michigan set
numerous attendance records, a testament to the
fact that Guevara's up-tempo style is breathing
new life into the program.
"People have been waiting for this program to
come out of hibernation for a long time," Guevara
said. "Everything is in place, I just need to do my
job, and that's the fun part.
"I can't think of anything else in my life that I'd
rather do than coach here," Guevara said. With
that, the coach flashed a smile and rushed off to
practice, moving even faster than the large red
letters flashing on the screen behind her.

10 Akisha Franklin
Senior -guard

Michigan women's basketball coach Sue
Tuesday. Guevara has set lofty goals for

Big

T er

Non-conference foes should go down easily

:11 Stacey Thomas
Sophomore -guard

I F

By B.J. Luia
Daily Sports Writer
Over the past several years, Michigan
has fared well in the non-conference
portion of its schedule. Last year, in
coach Sue Guevara's first season at the
helm of the Wolverines, Michigan post-
ed an 8-1 non-conference record. The
Wolverines' only loss outside the Big
Ten came against a top-ranked Stanford
team, which beat Michigan by only
three points.
This year, Michigan plays 10 games
before it opens the Big Ten season Dec.
28, against Ohio State. The Wolverines
opened their season last weekend at the
MSU Felpausch Tournament, where
they beat St. Johns and Michigan State
to win the tournament. In Michigan's
first home game, against Illinois State,
the Wolverines ran their record to 3-0
with a solid, 93-81 victory. this past
weekend, Michigan traveled to Florida
for the Florida International
Tournament. The Wolverines dropped
the first game to the host Golden
Panthers, but rebounded to win the con-
solation game yesterday.
Michigan has five more games before
it opens the Big Ten season, including
one more tournament. The Wolverines
travel to Grand Rapids to take on
Central Michigan on Wednesday before
going to Duke on Dec. 6-7, to compete
in the Duke Tournament. Ohio and
Florida A&M will also compete in the
tourney. Michigan then returns home
for its final non-conference games
before the Big Ten season commences.
Central Michigan: Michigan faces
the Chippewas at a neutral site, Gerald
Ford Field House in Grand Rapids.
Central Michigan coach Fran Voll is
also in his second year at the helm. The
Chippewas finished seventh in the Mid
JOHNS
Continued from Page 1B
Johns got a taste of success, and she
liked it. She averaged 15 points and
10.4 rebounds, and was named sec-
ond-team all-Big Ten, as the
Wolverines won eight conference
games.
And that brings us to the present
- to the Johns who is sitting in the
Crisler media lounge, a room full of
reporters ready to jot down every
word she says. The Wolverines just
beat Illinois State and are 3-0. Johns
is averaging 19.3 points and 10
rebounds per game. She is ready to
go farther.
"My senior season means a lot to
me," Johns said. "This is my last
year, and I don't want it to end after

American Conference last season with a
7-1 1 record. Central Michigan opened
the MAC season with nine straight loss-
es, but rebounded with seven victories
in its last nine games.
Three starters return from last year's
team, including several seniors. Guard
Julie Miller averaged 8.7 points per
game last year for the Chippewas. Their
biggest loss to graduation was starting
forward Traci Renken, who averaged
16.1 points per game. The Chippewas
will look to Miller, junior Darcey Rasch
and transfer Sally Sedlar to pick up the
scoring.
Florida A&M: Michigan faces the
Rattlerettes in the first round of the
Duke Tournament on Saturday. Florida
A&M returns three starters from last
year's team, which won 20 games and
lost only nine. The Rattlerettes finished
13-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic
Conference. Forward Aquenda Clark
returns for her final season after averag-
ing 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per
game. The Wolverines and Rattlerettes
have faced each other only once before,
resulting in an 87-74 Michigan victory
in 1988.
Duke/Ohio: The Wolverines will
play either the winner or the loser of the
game between these two teams, depend-
ing upon the outcome of Michigan's
game with Florida A&M the day before.
Surprisingly, Duke and Michigan
have never faced each other in women's
basketball. The Blue Devils finished in
third place in the ACC last year with a 9-
7 conference record and a 19-11 mark
overall. Duke's leading returning scorer
from last year is junior Payton Black,
who averaged 13.7 points and 5.9
rebounds per game. Duke coach Gail
Goestenkors has Michigan ties; she
graduated from Saginaw Valley State in
sticking in my feet. It hurts whenev-
er I walk or play."
Johns suffered the injury while
running on the concrete floor of the
Crisler concourse, where the team
conditioned over the summer. It
started in her left foot, then spread
to both of her feet.
But she plays through it, and
never complains.
"She's a driven woman," Guevara
said.
Respect has been a problem for
Johns. Last year, she was named
second-team all-Big Ten, but that
wasn't good enough for Johns.
"I know she was disappointed,"
Guevara said.
Last weekend, in the MSU-
Felpausch tournament, Johns aver-
aged 17 points and 10 rebounds a

1985, three years after Guevara graduat-
ed from the same institution. The Blue
Devils are a team loaded with younger
players who will be expected to con-
tribute this year.
Ohio University would be another
mediocre opponent for the Wolverines.
The Bobcats return no starters from a
1996 team that finished sixth in the
MAC with a 9-9 conference record.
Coach Marsha Reall has compiled a
102-93 record in seven seasons at Ohio,
The Bobcats' top returners include
seniors Amy Turner and Marlene
Stollings. Stollings averaged 10.1 points
and 2.2 assists per game last season,
Three freshman and one junior com-
prise Ohio's newcomers.
PRINCETON: Coach Liz Feeley and
her Tigers visit Ann Arbor on Dec. 19.
Princeton returns all five starters from a
team that finished in fifth place in the
Ivy League with a 6-8 conference
record. Outside the conference, the
Tigers posted a miserable I -I I record.
Princeton still fields a young team with

only one senior among its top returners,
guard Zakiya Pressley. Sophomore
guard Maggie Langlas was named to the
Ivy League all-conference team last sea-
son. Junior Lea Ann Drohan is
Princeton's top returning scorer. She
averaged 9.4 ppg last season. This will
be the first ever-meeting between the
Tigers and the Wolverines.
Bowling Green: The Falcons come
to town on Dec. 21 for Michigan's final
warm-up for the Big Ten season.
Bowling Green also lost no players to
graduation and will look to improve
upon last season's fourth-place finish in
the MAC. The Falcons have two return-
ing players who averaged more than 10
points per game last season. Senior
guard Sara Puthoff averaged 16.1 ppg
and senior forward Charlotta Jones
averaged nearly a double-double each
game, scoring 14.4 ppg and pulling
down 9.5 rpg. Michigan leads the series
with the Falcons, 6-3, but Bowling
Green blew out the Wolverines in their
last meeting, 99-79.

By Josh Kleinbaum
and Tracy Sandler
D aily Sports Writers~
If there's one thing that sets the Big
Ten conference apart from some of the
other conferences, it is this - parity.
Coming off of a season in which three
teams split the conference title -
Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa -
five teams were sent to the NCAA tour-
nament, this year's conference looks to
be wide open.
Illinois: Illinois returns this season
with a share of the Big Ten title. -And
coming with that title is experience. All
of last year's starters will be back for the
Fighting Illini, including last year's Big
Ten Player of the Year, Ashley Berggren.
The experience is helping Illinois in
practice, as far as teaching is concer@.
"When we practice, the older ones are
constantly helping the younger ones,"
Illinois coach Theresa Grentz said. "You
can get well real quick if you've got play-
ers who have experience."
Indiana: The Hoosiers finished last
season in an eighth-place tie with
Michigan in the conference. This year,
the Hoosiers have more experience,
which will help them keep their focus
throughout the season, something t v

24 Anne Thorius
Freshman - guard

33 Ann Lemire
Jiunor - guard

I r > I

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