New Jersey 2,
NY RANGERS 2
Los Angeles (ss) 8,
KANSAS CITY 5
NY METS 6
Los Angeles (ss) 4
TAMPA BAY 3
Urfje *uign g
Check out the Michigan hockey team, including CCHA.
all-rookie team selections Mike Van Ryn and Mark
Kosick, this weekend as the team takes on Notre
Dame in the first round of the CCHA playoffs at Yost
March 10, 1998
WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T
GO HOME AGAIN?
By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Editor
hile his teammates surrounded the tables closest to the
television as they awaited Michigan's placement in the
VY NCAA tournament, Jerod Ward silently observed from
the back of the room next to a friend.
He would peer at the screen, yearning for the seeding, then turn
to a reporter asking to see the given region's breakdown. After a
careful analysis, the senior would sigh and return to his anxious
The excitement building in the front of the room fell to a nervous
hush as Michigan's bracket - more ominous than others - was
Many Michigan players suggested that the Wolverines were
robbed and deserved better - such as a chance to return to
Chicago for the Midwest regional - than the No. 3 seed in the
South and a trip to Atlanta.
But Ward's excitement was barely containable. Unlike the major-
ity of his teammates, who hail from the Midwest, Ward grew up in
the southern town of Clinton. Miss.
So, he has a few roots to reestablish.
"Oh, I have a lot of family and friends down there," he said. "And
they're all going to come and see me."
The gleam in his eye following the NCAA pairings was unlike
ny seen from Ward, a senior, during his Michigan tenure.
And quite a bit of that glee can be attributed to the "Hotlanta"
The "six to seven hour drive from Clinton" undoubtedly gives
Ward a homey feeling, but the real reason for his ear-to-ear smile
has to be the memories of visits past.
Ward hasn't enjoyed the splendor of the Olympic City since his
trip in the spring of 1994, yet the event lingers as if it were yester-
"I was there to pick up my national player of the year award,"
said Ward, grinning at the recollection. "It was gre t getting my
ONaismith) award with the (college) players of the year. I was there
with (college winners) Lisa Leslie and Glenn Robinson."
being recognized as the top high school player in the nation is a
memory Ward can feel secure about now, but for the past three
years, that day in Atlanta had seemed far more distant.
It has only been this season that Ward has realized the potential
for a return trip to Atlanta for recognition.
But he's just as happy to be leading his teammates into the South.
"''m just so excited to be going to Atlanta," he said.
The normally stoic Ward's enthusiasm comes with good reason.
After garnering numerous national awards throughout his prep
career, last weekend's selection to the Big Ten All-Tournament
eam was just his second collegiate honor, the other coming in the
form of an all-Tournament selection in December at the Puerto
Rico Holiday Classic.
And Wards statistics show his improvement. Ward, who never
averaged more than eight points per game in
each of his first three seasons, is pouring in
13 this season, with four 20-point per-
Over the past six months, he has
obliterated nearly every one of his
career-best performances, and the k
same fans who have booed him forf
three seasons are suddenly giving r
him consistent standing ovations.w
"Nobody remembers what you did
yesterday," Ward said. "It's what you
do today that matters."k
Reasons for the struggles of "yes-
terday" are abundant. Two seasons cut
short by knee surgeries, the adjust- h
ment to not carrying an entire team's
offense and the Midwestern surround-
ings all played a role in Ward's regres-
But when he speaks about the problems.
it all seems so basic.
"Now, it's a different time and a different
day," he says. "Back then, I was looked upon
as 'The Man'. And I have to take on a differ-
ent role here and now."
The ongoing changes in that role have
made Ward's ascent from medical patient to
possible NBA first-round pick that much
Above all else, he credits his improved play"
to a pain-free summer.-
"This summer I had a chance to work on my
game - instead of my knees," he said.
The importance of that preparation time was real-
ized almost immediately after the season began.
With Travis Conlan sidelined by a broken wrist,
Ward took to spotting up for 3-pointers and assumed
other shooting-guard duties. Conlan's return sent
Ward back to the small forward position for what he
thought would be the duration of the season.
But, as if to add to the inconsistency of his college
See WARD, Page 10
South region, first round
When: Friday, 7:40 p.m.
By B.J. Luria
Daily Sports Writer
Less than two weeks ago, the Michigan women's bas-
ketball team wept tears of regret and frustration. The
Wolverines had just watched their Big Ten hopes come
crashing down with a heartbreaking overtime loss to
Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
On Sunday, those tears turned to that of joy, as
Michigan received its second-ever NCAA Tournament
The Wolverines gathered in Crisler Arena to watch the
selection show on Sunday night, anxiously waiting to
see if their 19-9 record would be good enough to earn a
"It feels great," said Michigan coach Sue Guevara
after Michigan had been chosen. "I'm just glad it's over."
The Wolverines, the tenth seed in the Midwest, will
face the seventh seed, No. 23 UCLA (19-8), on Friday.
"It just goes to show that with a lot of hard work and a
commitment from the kids and from the administration
that it pays off," Guevara said. "I hope this says some-
thing to ... the high school kids that 'Yeah, we're going
to get it done at Michigan."'
The Wolverines - especially the seniors - were over-
come with joy after the announcement.
Michigan center Pollyanna Johns, who suffered
through two horrendous seasons under former coach
Trish Roberts, was thrilled about the chance to play in
her first NCAA Tournament.
"To see our name up there was amazing, it was
absolutely wonderful," Johns said. "This just wiped out
the first two years. It makes up for everything."
Johns played an instrumental role in leading the
Wolverines to their second NCAA Tournament in school
history, leading the team with 17.5 points per game.
Although Johns scored the most points on the team,
Michigan also needed the help of the other seniors to
join the party.
Co-captain Molly Murray realized the importance of-
the NCA A Tournament for the entire Michigan pro-
"This is the first step," Murray said. "For Coach G.
and the players we have now, there's no place to go but
The Wolverines' last trip to the tournament came in
1990 when Michigan won a school-record 20 games. The
Wolverines defeated Oklahoma State in the first
See INVITATION, Page 10
draw in the NCAA
looks forward to
Atlanta, Just a
few hours from
Softball, baseball find success in sun
By Rick Freeman
nd Chris Duprey
aily Sports Writers
Michigan's boys and girls of sum-
mer headed for sunnier skies over
The No. 2 softball team dropped
just two of 16 games, including a 2-0
one-hitter to Texas at the hands of
Christa Williams, a familiar Michigan
nemesis. The 1996 Olympic gold
medalist pitched for UCLA last year
and bounced Michigan from the 1997
W The No. 20 baseball team headed
for the Lone Star State to try and erase
the sour feeling left from its last trip
there, just two weeks earlier.
The baseball squad went 4-6 during
the week, dropping its record to 4-8-1.
Sunday's 12-10 loss to Houston
exemplified the Wolverines' trip.
Michigan hung close for a while, but
Oops! We screwed up yesterday. In our men's bas-
ketball NCAA Tournament bracket, on page 8B,
Michigan's first-round opponent, Davidson. was
misspelled. Davidson is not spelled ".N.C Wa-l-n,
i n-g-t-&-n-." We apologize for any confusion.
pitcher Brian Steinbach gave up three
runs and the Cougars stole the game.
The softball team opened its week
by dusting five straight top-10 teams.
No. 7 Arizona St., No. 6 Oklahoma,
No. 5 South Florida and No. 9
Missouri all fell to the Wolverines,
who won the Gold Division champi-
onship in the National Fastpitch
Coaches' Association Leadoff Classic.
Senior Sara Griffin improved her sea-
son record to 10-0 during the week,
and picked up her 80th career victory
against Florida on March 6.
Traci Conrad was named NFCA
played of the week for hitting .455 in
the Leadoff Classic.
The Wolverines rebounded from a
first-round loss to Nebraska by
putting together an i 1-game win
streak before they were trampled by
The baseball squad bounced back to
take the final two games, 12-10 and 9-
6. from Lamar after falling in their
first game of the trip, 11-8.
Michigan pitcher Brian Berryman
started the Wolverines on their four-
game winning streak, and senior Mike
Hribernik retired the side in the ninth
to preserve the victory and earn his
first career save.
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Fee is $10.
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