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March 16, 1998 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-16

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Quotable: NCAA first r
"Robert Traylor has a sister, and
her name is Janae Hubbard."
Michigan coach Sue Guevara
on the Bruins'6-foot-4,
245-pound insideforce.
!homas lone bright spot in
vichigan's brief tourney run

The Michigan Daily -- SPORTSMonday, March 16, 1998 - 7B
Player of the Week
Stacey Thomas
The sophomore guard scored 17 points and graobed 11 rebounds
in Michigan's first-round loss to UCLA, recording her sixth double-
double of the season. Last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year,
Thomas finished the season leading the Big Ten in steals and was
among the conference leaders in rebounds

andy Latack
Sports Writer
USCALOOSA, Ala. - There
nany times when things could
gotten ugly for the Michigan
nen's basketball team Friday.
troggling against a quicker,
nger UCLA team in the first
nd of the NCAA Tournament, the
Iverines had many opportunities
tack it in and call it a season.
et, with the Bruins' tenacious
ftse hounding Michigan's guards
swarming Pollyanna Johns in the
here was one player who kept
olverines from falling apart at
seams - Stacey Thomas.
homas was all over the court dur-
Michigan's loss, thwarting
LA runs every time the game
ked to be getting out of hand.
ingly, she scored the Wolverines'
t'basket, last basket and most of
r critical baskets in between.
ast year's Big Ten Freshman of
ear, Thomas' role on the team
ear has been multi-dimension-
And she has played the jack-of-
trades part well.
s the team's best defender,
mas is always assigned to guard
oppotient's strongest perimeter
nd there she was on Friday,
ed on UCLA point guard and
rnsive catalyst Erica Gomez. She

limited the all-Pac 10 performer to ers, Thomas frequently beat her
just four points on 1-of-I I shooting. defender baseline, pumping in quick
She also recorded three steals, on par buckets before the Bruins' post play
with her Big Ten-leading average. ers could slide over and help.
Thomas is also counted on to There she was, making the plays
assume some of the rebounding load on Friday that kept the Wolverines in
for the Wolverines. As the team's the game.
quickest player and best jumper, she It was Thomas, with just more than
often elevates over taller players and a minute left and the Wolverines
gets to balls 5-foot-10 players have closing the gap, picking off an
no business getting to. inbounds pass, starting the break and
Thomas did that all year - and feeding Anne Thorius for a layup.
ranked seventh in the Big Ten in It was Thomas, scoring eight of
rebounding, as the only guard on the the Wolverines' first 13 points, keep-
list. ing the game close as UCLA heated <>-.a-
And there she was on Friday, grab- up from the outside.
bing I1 rebounds and keeping a host And, finally, it was Thomas, after
of others alive as she battled with hitting a jumper to make the score
UCLA's titanic front line. She was a 62-58 with 30 seconds left, coming '
major factor in Michigan's consider- from across the court to knock away -
able rebounding advantage over the a UCLA inbounds pass, typifying the NM.
Bruins, which kept the game close Wolverines' never-say-die attitude.
until the very end. "I just wanted to pick up my play,
Point production is often included because today was do-or-die,"
in the Flint native's job description Thomas said after the game. "I justk
as well. Especially when Johns wanted to go out, be aggressive, and
struggles, as she did for the last three get my teammates involved."
vital games, Thomas is considered The sophomore also kept her first
among the Wolverines' primary scor- NCAA Tournament experience in
ing options. perspective, displaying a level-head-3
And there she was on Friday, knif- ed attitude one would expect from a
ing through the UCLA defense for seasoned veteran.
layups and short jumpers time and "I just wanted to have tun out
time again, theretoday," she said. "Making it to
With the Bruins blatantly over- the NCAAs is a great accomplish-\
playing Michigan's perimeter play- ment."-

Un-bear-able Defense
Z \= Michigan player
U = UCLA player
11 4
Shutting the door...
The UCLA defense forced 30 Michigan turnovers and held the Wolverines to just
38.6-percent shooting from the field. Here's how they did it:
A) UCLA center Janae Hubbard (34), a 6-foot-4, 245-pound presence in the paint,
used her unseemly size advantage to deny Michigan center Pollyanna Johns (41)
the ball.
$ UCLA defenders LaCresha Flannigan (45) and Maylana Martin (13) cheated
inward, cutting off Michigan's passing lanes to Johns, although the Bruins sacri-
ficed the baseline in the process.
C) UCLA guards Erica Gomez (10) and Marie Philman (5) pressured the Michigan
ballhandlers well beyond the 3-point arc, keeping the Wolverines from getting
open looks from 3-point range and forcing many Michigan turnovers.

Bnns swarming defense
frustrates, stymies Blue

By Josh Kleinbaum
Daily Sports Wsiter
TUSCALOOSA. Ala. -They were swarm-
ing like bees, those UCLA Bruins, drawn to
their victims as if they were dripping with
The Michigan women's basketball team
wasn't covered in honey, but they might as
well have been. Bothered by a defense with
quickness the Wolverines haven't seen all sea-
son, they committed a season-high 30
turnovers and were held below 39 percent
from the field.
The key to the UCLA defense was its abili-
ty to keep Michigan from feeding center
Pollyanna Johns in the low post.
Inside the paint, Janae Hubbard, the 6-foot-
4, 245-pound mammoth of a center, used her
bulk - and there was a lot of it - to keep
Johns from getting the ball. After Hubbard got
into foul trouble, Maylana Martin took over.
Martin did an adequate job covering Johns,
and the two held the senior to just nine points.
But what might have been more instrumen-
tal to the Bruins' victory was their ability to
shut down the passing lanes. Guards Erica
Gomez and Tawana Grimes and forward Marie
Philman swarmed on the Michigan ball han-
dlers, playing them tight as far out as six feet
beyond the three-point arc. The Wolverines
had little space to shoot the 3-pointer, and the
Bruins' quickness kept the Wolverines from
getting the ball inside the paint.
"They did a nice job of denying the basket-
ball," Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. "Our
ball handlers had a terrible time of trying to
pass the basketball."
The man-to-man defense the Bruins were
playing wasn't new to Michigan. Ohio State
plays a similar one, and maybe not coinciden-
tally, the Buckeyes twice beat the Wolverines.
But regardless, the Buckeyes' defense was not

as strong as UCLA's because the Buckeyes
weren't as quick.
The Bruins' system was relatively simple.
They played man-to-man, with the Bruin
defender covering her Michigan counterpart
well beyond the 3-point arc. Hubbard or
Martin stayed inside the paint to cover Johns.
The baseline defenders pinched in, closing up
the passing lanes to Johns but leaving the
baseline open to the drive.
"Their defense was relentless," Guevara
said. "They forced us totally out of our
offense. They did a good job of getting over
screens. They did a good job of playing weak-
side defense on Johns. It came down to play-
ing defense and forcing us into turnovers. That
was just the bottom line."
It was the turnovers that hurt the Wolverines
the most. Michigan's 30 turnovers led to 28
UCLA points, almost half of the Bruins' total
points. After the Wolverines cut the lead to
two midway through the second half, five con-
secutive turnovers led to a 10-point UCLA
run, and Michigan never came closer than
The defense kept the Wolverines from get-
ting the ball to Johns and getting an open look
behind the 3-point line, leaving the dribble-
drive as the only alternative. But, except for
Stacey Thomas, the Wolverines generally
struggled with this, too.
"I think we're a pretty good basketball team
when it comes to dribble-drive," Guevara said,
"but we could just not find the basket."
The Bruins held Michigan to 23 first-half
points, their third-lowest scoring half of the
season. In that first stanza, the Wolverines
shot just 32.1 percent, including eight jumpers
from within the paint and two layups.
Michigan had more success in the second
half, shooting 44.8 percent, but by that time, it
was too late.

With the rest of
the Wolverines
struggling offen-
-s' sively, guard
Stacey Thomas
was the only
Michigan player
^ to find her shot.
The sophomore
scored 17 points,
but it wasn't
enough, as UCLA
topped the
Wolverines, 65-
Continued from Page 1B
One of the things that the Bruins did
well was key on Michigan center
Pollyanna Johns - they held the
Wolverines' leading scorer to just nine
poits. They began the game by pound-
ing Johns with 6-foot-4, 245-pound
Janae Hubbard, whose large frame
proved difficult for Johns to get around.
When Hubbard fell victim to foul
trouble, Johns was guarded by 6-3
Maylana Martin, smaller than the mas-
sive Hubbard but able to match Johns'
quickness. With these players playing
behind Johns and UCLA's guards over-
playing Michigan on the perimeter, get-
ting the ball inside was not an easy task.
"They did a good job of playing
weakside defense on (Johns),"'Guevara
said. "We couldn't enter the basketball
into the post."
Johns didr't get her first bucket until
5:44 remained in the first half, and most
ofher points were a result of an impres-
sive rebounding effort. Johns totaled 14
rebounds on the day.
"We've been talking all week about
how she was their go-to player," Olivier
said of Johns. "We really did a good job
of not letting her get the basketball,
especially in the first half."
With Johns bottled up inside,
Michigan was forced to rely on other
sources to pick up point production.
With UCLA'S quicker defenders harass-
ing guards Ann Lemire and Anne
Thorius into nine combined turnovers,
the Wolverines relied on Stacey Thomas
to keep them in the game.
The sophomore was able to use base-
line penetration - which UCLA's
defensive scheme conceded --to score
layup after crucial layup. Thomas fin-
ished with a game-high 17 points and
I1 rebounds, seven of which came on
the offensive end of the floor.
Down the stretch, however, UCLA's
pestering defense just took the
Wolverines out of their rhythm.
"It gets very frustrating for the kids to
come down the floor and get the ball
stripped," Guevara said. "if you're in the
post waiting for the ball, and suddenly
it's down at the other end, that's tough'
After Thomas' layup opened the
game, UCLA went on a 17-7 run in the
next nine minutes, opening up a lead
that they would never relinquish.
Michigan also played stingy defense,
holdirg the high-scoring Bruins to their
second-lowest point total of the season
and holding them to just 33 percent
shooting in the second half.
Murray 34 38 37 25 1 4 13
Tsas 36 0-87 2 711a2n217
Juhns as5 's-s 1in s-s's 3 a
Thorus 22 25 00 -a3 4 4
Leire 33 210 00 2- 1 2 5
Franklin 17 25 0-0 12 1 2 6
Wake it1 -3 2-2 24 0 2 a
Wilar's 12 u-a 02 11 1 1 0
Totas 200 22-37 is-is 2050s at 25
FG%: .386. FT%: 667. 3-point FG: 49, .444 (Franklin 2-
2. Lemire 12 Murry 1-3, Thorus02). Blocks: 3
(hmas2,M uray. stila 7T omas3, 's2ns,
Fraykl, Waker 4Tmovrs4 30 Toas 5Leire 5,
Murray'sons, Toruus, Cranlin 4'sWilad 3)

T Qeia ols one.
UCLA (65)
Phiman t5 18 14 0 -O 2 5 3
Marin 35 713 2's 'o 1 2 56
Hsubbards 10 5-i0 2-3 709 00 's 12
Flannigen 30 13 13 11 1 4
Gomez 3 30 1-11 13 1-6i1 4
'earson 20 4-1 GO0 -4 1s 0515
Jackson 7 03 0O0 0-1 0 2 0
Veasley 20 22 12 1-3 515
Cuniello 5 0-0 0-0 is-i t 0 0
urimes l's 25 2-2 0's 1i0
Tots 200 19-531 .16 7-24 12 21 53
FG%: .379. FT%: .476 3-point FG: 5-11 .476 (Pearson
3-6, Flannigan 1-1, Goats 13, urimes 0-ti. Stocks: 2
( osmea, Veasey).Steals: e(Burns 2 ,Sheberuson,
Iverson, Whitfield). Tumovers: 14 (Martin 6, Gomez 2,
Piman, SHubaarFlanngan, Grimes, Jackson
Pearona. TechnicaiPouts: ante
Michigan......... 23 35 - 58
UCLA-......... .. .-..33 32 -65
At:colemane sseum

4o happily-ever-after - Michigan
ids fairytale season with a thud

losh Kieinbaum
Y Sports 'Writer
USCALOOSA, Ala. -- It wasn't
posed to end like this.
he Michigan women's basketball
f's storybook season was supposed
g a storybook ending.
TV Wolverines, who in two years
it from the joke of the Big Ten to the
class of the Big
----------- Ten, were sup-
isketball posed to beat sev-
e enth - seeded
m y UCLA in the first
----------- round of the
AA Tournament, then shock mighty
bama, the midwest region's No. 2
i, in the second round.
anna Johns was supposed to
re 20 points in each game, etching
elf into Michigan basketball history
he leader of the best women's team
school ever produced. After fresh-
n and sophomore years from hell, this
rmaisesst was supposed to be her
emption, a storybook end to a story-
k career.
Oichigan coach Sue Guevara, the Big
roach of the year, is supposed to be
ing for the school's first-ever
et sixteen game.
tut someone forgot to inform UCLA,
1FTiday night, reality carte crashing

down on the 10th-seeded Wolverines .
Instead of a glorious end to a great
career, Johns' exit was quieter than
Crisler Arena on an average game day.
The senior scored just nine points in the
65-58 loss, giving her just 28 in her last
three games.
The Wolverines' problem was simple
- they ran into a better team.
UCLA was the best defensive team
Michigan has faced all season, and
although the Bruins weren't great offen-
sively - their 65 points was their sec-
ond-lowest output of the season - their
defense more than made up for it.
The game was over before the clock
even started running. Stacey Thomas hit
a jumper 12 seconds into the contest, but
the referees had never started the clock.
After the problem was corrected, the
Bruins ran off an 8-0 run, and UCLA
never looked back.
It wasn't supposed to happen, was it?
Not in this dream season. Michigan was
supposed to go on the eight-point run,
not UCLA. The Wolverines were sup-
posed to win. Weren't they?
Oh, the Wolverines made a game of it.
They avoided what could have been an
embarrassing blowout. But in the end,
they just couldn't come all the way back.
The Bruins went up by six early in the
first half, then Michigan cut the lead to

one. But the Bruins didn't even blink,
and scored seven straight points.
The Wolverines made their best run
toward the beginning of the second half.
After trailing by tO at halftime and by 12
two minutes into the second half, a 10-
point run cut the Bruin lead to just two
with 11:45 to play. But again, the Bruins
didn't flinch. An 11-point run put UCLA
right back in the driver's seat.
The Wolverines were frustrated, and it
showed. They committed fouls. They
committed turnovers. Kenisha Walker
even exchanged words with UCLA's
Erica Gomez.
And they couldn't get over the hump.
Molly Murray, Michigan's career 3-
point leader, made the last long-range
shot of her career with 46 seconds to
play, cutting the Bruins' lead to four and
giving the Wolverines some life.
But it wasn't enough.
All good things must come to an end.
But for the Wolverines, the end came
way too soon.
The storybook season didn't have a
storybook ending. There was no valiant
comeback. There was no last-second 3-
pointer. Instead, while the Bruins were
celebrating their first NCAA
Tournament victory in six years, the
Wolverines were starting to plan their
summers. t

Akisha Franklin and the rest of Michigan's senior class had theiridream season
cut short by UCLA in the program's second-ever NCAA Tourname t appearance.

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