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January 20, 1998 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-20

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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

The Michigan Daily - SPORTSTuesday - January 20, 1998 - 78

Johns' knee injury prompts day-to
day status, no major damage

By Josh Kieinbaum
Daily Sports Writer
There was no cry of pain. There was no
crash on the floor.
But there she was. Pollyanna Johns, the
star center on Michigan's women's basket-
ball team, sitting on the sideline, watching
her team beat Michigan State as she iced her
left knee.
An MRI taken yesterday showed no sig-
nificant damage - just a very small tear -
to the knee. The injury, which did not affect
the .anterior cruciate ligament, will not
require surgery.
"It's good news," Michigan coach Sue
Guevara said. "It could be scar tissue or a
torn meniscus."
Johns will be evaluated on a day-to-day
basis, and it is doubtful she will play in
Friday's game at Wisconsin. In all likelihood,
the best case scenario for the Wolverines will
have Johns returning to practice at the begin-
ning of next week.
"She's a little upset," Guevara said, "but
knowing Pollyanna, I expect her to work her
tail off in rehab."
The fateful play was a routine one. With
about five minutes left in the first half of
Sunday's game, Johns jumped up to try to
block a Spartan shot. She landed awkwardly
on her left leg and heard a pop from the
knee.
"I didn't even see it during the game,"
Guevara said. "I watched the tape this morn-
ing. I couldn't even find it on the tape, I just

saw her limping a little around the court."
Almost no one saw the incident during the
game. Johns got into foul trouble early on,
and sat on the bench for a 10-minute stretch
with two fouls. After re-entering the game,
Johns came dangerously close to picking up
a third foul just before the injury occurred.
When she was taken out of the game, the
general consensus on press row was that
Johns was removed to make sure she avoid-
ed the third foul.
But when Johns reached the bench, she
put a bag of ice on her knee, and stayed that
way for the rest of the game.
Guevara is preparing for Friday's game as
if Johns will not be able to play.
"We're going to change up the post
defense," Guevara said. "We may look to
double in the post or double on the guards, or
maybe even throw in some junk defenses."
Losing Johns - albeit temporarily -
changes the face of Michigan's lineup. With
Johns, Michigan poses a fierce inside-out-
side threat to any opponent. As an All-Big
Ten center who averages 20 points and 10
rebounds per game, Johns is usually double-
or triple-teamed, making it easier for perime-
ter players such as Molly Murray and Ann
Lemire to find open looks at the basket.
But that all changes when Johns leaves the
lineup. Johns is one of just two true centers
listed on Michigan's roster - the other is
Katie Dykhouse, a seldom-used bench play-
er.
Guevara plans on starting Tiffany Willard

in Johns' place. Willard, a forward, averagos
7.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, a fir
cry from Johns' numbers.
While Willard's large frame is intimidat-
ing on the court, she will not draw the extr
defenders that Johns does. The guards will
find it more difficult to find the open looks.
Against a zone defense, they will likely have
trouble driving, and Michigan's game will
rely on its outside shooters.
This is what happened in the first half
Sunday against Michigan State, when 1 7 of
35 shots were from beyond the arc.
"Our perimeter players did pretty darn
well without Johns," Guevara said.
But can they continue to shoot more than
42 percent from 3-point range? Michigan
offense will likely live and die with its ou-
side shooters.
Johns' absence will give some freshmen
more playing time. Guevara plans on playing
freshmen Dykhouse and Mandy Stowe much
more until Johns returns.
Knee injuries are not new to Johns. Three
years ago, she tore her ACL in the same knee
in the last non-conference game of the sea-
son, and missed the final 18 games of the
season. She has experienced no problems
since then. This injury could be related to the
earlier one.
The tear may be in scar tissue from the
surgery to repair the torn ACL, or it may be
in the meniscus. Doctors said they were
unable to target the exact location becaude
the tear was so small.

lclhigan center !
: Fllyanna Johns
a :ore some carti-
Ipge in her left
knee against
ZMchlgan State.
*on-Sunday. It is
doubtful she will
-,play in Friday's
game at
Wisconsin.
MALL ORY S. E.
,~. FLOYD/Daily
Blue guard
K3yndy Latack
Daily Sports Writer
The thought of losing your best player to an
injury is enough to make any team cringe.
bui the dark cloud that formed Sunday at

s step up in Johns' absence to help beat Spartans

Crisler Arena had a
Michigan women's
basketball team.
With five minutes
remrning in the first
halt Michigan center
PWI1yanna Johns went
out of the game with a
knee injury. Johns,
who played sparingly
after picking up two
early fouls, would not
return to the game,

silver lining for the
B a

their season.
Their inside strength considerably weak-
ened, Michigan coach Sue Guevara called
upon her perimeter players to respond.
Enter Ann Lemire, Molly Murray and
Stacey Thomas.
The three starters, along with considerable
help off the bench, made the program's record
crowd at Crisler forget about the hole in the
middle. They systematically dismantled
Michigan State with penetration, ball move-
ment and clutch outside shooting.
With 4:26 remaining in the first half and
Johns icing her knee on the bench, Michigan
found itself down, 29-28, to the pesky
Spartans.
It was at this point that Murray, Michigan's
career 3-point leader, and Lemire decided to
assert themselves from long range.
For the remainder of the half, the two
launched a barrage of 3-pointers at the hapless
Spartans, hitting two each, with the clincher
coming from Lemire with six seconds remain-

ing.
When the dust settled, the Wolverines had
taken a 10-point lead and Michigan State's
confidence with them into the lockerroom.
In the second half, Murray and Lemire
cooled off, hitting one more trey each, but
another Wolverine would step up, as they had
been doing all day.
Thomas, able to beat Michigan State's
defenders off the dribble for pull-up jumpers
and easy layups, broke the Spartans' back,
never letting them cut the lead to less than
seven.
Even more importantly, Michigan was able
to shoulder the rebounding load usually
assumed by Johns, who is averaging a Big-Ten
best 9.9 rebounds per game. Lemire and for-
ward Tiffany Willard, who filled in for Johns,
grabbed eight boards each, while Thomas
grabbed seven.
"With Pollyanna out, Stacey and I knew we
had to go to the boards,' Lemire said.
The two 5-foot-10 guards used the same

quickness that allowed them to penetrate and
score to keep the rebound game even with the
taller Spartans, whose frontline featured two
6-4 players.
While the victory over the mediocre
Spartans, who have had just one conference
victory all season, may not seem impressive in
the grand scheme, it was something much big-
ger for the Wolverines.
This is a game they easily could have lost.
Johns, also second in the conference in
scoring, had clearly been the go-to player for
Michigan, leading the team in scoring in 12 of
its 17 games. With her out of the game, it was
anybody's guess how the Wolverines would
respond.
"If you take away someone who gives you
20 points and 10 rebounds a game, that's a
pretty big hole," Guevara said.
But the Wolverines filled that hole, in the
process proving that they can handle the
adversity that is thrown at them by the turbu-
lent conference season.

logging just six minutes and three points in the
* test.
Without their leading scorer and rebounder
for the first time all year, the Wolverines faced
a crucial juncture, both in the game and in

Ann Lemire shined in Johns' absence, scoring 23 points.

'M' shuts down Hoosiers, Spartans

SPARTANS
f tinued from Page 1B
"Give Michigan a lot of credit,"
Langeland said. "Any time you can lose
someone that's averaging 20 points a
game and win the way they did with 3-
point shooting and outside shooting,
you've got to give a lot of credit to
coaching."
The 3-point shot played a tremendous
rold in the Wolverines' 81-65 victory.
They took 21 shots from beyond the arc,
tg 43 percent. Guard Ann Lemire
5-of-7 from 3-point land on her way
to a team-high 23 points. Lemire also
contributed on the boards, ending the
game with eight.
"We had people that were able to hit
the 3-point shot for us," Guevara said.
"Obviously, one of those was Ann
Lemire. Molly Murray was able to hit
the 3 point shot. I was especially proud
of this team that they played this game
out Pollyanna Johns."
loth teams came out strong, and the
game remained close throughout most
of the first half, with the score either tied
or spparated by less than four points.
That all changed with about three min-
utes to go in the opening period.
With 3:20 until the half, Murray hit
one of her three treys to make the score
3429. At 1:53, she hit another, while
Lemire scored another three with six
seconds left in the half, putting the
*lverines up, 40-30.

The game's second half saw much of
the same, as the Spartans never got clos-
er than seven points. The Wolverines
were strong throughout the game, end-
ing with a .441 shooting percentage and
.750 free throw percentage. They had a
total of 40 rebounds and 19 assists. The
Spartans finished shooting 39 percent
from the field.

"With Pollyanna out, Stacey and I
knew that we had to go to the boards
more, and Coach G talked about that,"
Lemire said. "Whenever a team plays a
zone, you always want to shoot your
way out of it. They had to come out and
play a little different defense on us in the
second half, because we did shoot well
with 3-pointers."

11

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