The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 26, 1998 - 7B
basketball hopes to improve visibility
By Stephanie Offen
Daily Sports Writer
CHICAGO - In a letter from Michigan
Women's basketball coach Sue Guevara to prospec-
tive players, she wrote, "As a potential women's
basketball player, you will be participating in the
ig Ten Conference, the nation's leading confer-
nce in attendence. You will be competing against
the top players in the country, game in and game
And it seemed that any of the women's basket-
ball coaches yesterday at the Big Ten's preseason
media day would have said the same thing to their
The Big Ten led the nation in women's basketball
attendance for the sixth straight season last year.
The attendence has continued to grow for the past
17 years, and last season the conference saw a 10
ercent increase over '96-97.
The overwhelming support for the Big Ten is not
'going unnoticed. The conference will have at least
27 of its games broadcast on television this year.
The Wolverines will make their first-ever CBS
Sports appearance on Jan. 9 when they play
Louisiana Tech, a typical power in women's bas-
ketball. While this game will take place at Crisler
Arena, the Wolverines have two other televised
matchups on the road against Purdue and Michigan
'"Television loves the atmosphere of the Big
en," Ohio State coach Beth Burns said. "They
love the fact that the fans are excited and jumping
on each other."
It is this national exposure that helps the Big Ten
land the quality players that it does year after year.
It is becoming one of the premier conferences in
women's basketball, allowing it to recruit premier
"The more we keep pushing the Big Ten, the
more we will be able to retake the ACCs of the
world," Penn State coach Rene Portland said.
The conference is on its way to doing just that.
Wisconsin, which reached the first round of the
NCAA tournament last year, led the conference in
attendence. It is no coincedence that the Badgers,
who are also ranked third nationally in attendence,
have the 10th best recruiting class in the nation.
And the recruiting class plus the fan support has
given Wisconsin a No. 3 preseason ranking in the
"The fans are like our sixth man," senior Amy
Wiersma said. "We have such a great fan base that
we couldn't do without."
Another team looking to build a solid fan base is
Ohio State. The Buckeyes are moving into the new
Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein
Center this season. It is the largest venue for a Big
Ten women's basketball team, and the Buckeyes
are hoping an enthusiastic Big Ten crowd will fol-
low them to their new home.
The Big Ten's televised games aren't the only
ones potentially bringing the athletes to the confer-
ence - the WNBA is helping as well.
"It's great to have women's basketball going on
through the summer months as well," Minnesota
coach Cheryl Littlejohn said. "We are getting a
WNBA team in Minnesota and I think it will real-
ly help with exposure. It will help with recruiting
when people realize they have a WNBA team in
No teams needed the recognition of the Big Ten
name in the offseason as much as Iowa did. The
Hawkeyes lost four starters, and have just three let-
terwinners remaining on the team.
"We basically have to rebuild," Iowa coach
Angie Lee said. "This is nothing that is new to
Iowa, it will just take time for the team to learn,
grow and process everything."
With just three returning players, the newcomers
will have to adjust quickly to the intensity of the
"The freshmen will have to understand and
experience the different level that the Big Ten is
at," Lee said. "They will have to develop a new
intensity and work ethic."
And don't forget about the Wolverines. The
national exposure will help Michigan this year as
well. The Wolverines have their three televised
games, and hope such national exposure will lead
to an increase of fans in Crisler Arena. The team
also has five new players in transfer student Alison
Miller and freshmen Raina Goodlow, Alayne
Ingram, Heather Oesterle and Ruth Kipping.
Michigan made its second NCAA appearance last
year, and with three starters returning, the
Wolverines are hoping for a repeat.
"The team is really upbeat and competitive at
scrimmage," Guevara said. "I think this is the first
time I've smiled coming out of practice."
Michigan women's basketball ranked fourth
The"Michigan women's basketballteamwas ranked fourth by the coaches at the Big
Ten's annual Tipoff luncheon yesterday in Chicago. Michigan may have been fourth in the
media poll, but the media ranked only the top three teams. The Wolverines open their sea-
son with an exhibition against the Swiss National Team on Nov, 3.
oa he ' too five n' Iedla'stop thr git
1. Purdue (9) 52 Purdue (53) 175
2. Penn State (1) 39 ilinois (9) 72
3. Wisconsin 17 Penn State 52
4. Michigan 15 -
5.Ohio State 14
rm votes ine eses
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Notre Dame cloves its way past Blue
soccer in double-overtime thriller
By Josh Borkin
Daily Sports Writer
The battle lasted 113 minutes, but
in the end the Michigan soccer team
was defeated in heartbreaking fashion.
Fifth-ranked Notre Dame arrived in
Ann Arbor on Friday to face what may
turn out to be its most challenging task
f the year. In addition to the bitter
alry that exists between the two uni-
versities, the national spotlight was
focused on the Michigan squad, since
tis was potentially their toughest
opponent of the season.
' The Michigan Soccer Field's
bleachers were filled to capacity. A
Michigan soccer record 1,092 fans
were in full support, cheering on the
Notre Dame has been ranked sec-
d. nationally all year long, while
ichigan has improved rapidly to earn
the 19th spot in last week's poll.
Both squads battled back and forth
for two halves and the first overtime,
but were unable to net a goal. Seven
minutes into the second overtime,
Notre Dame point leader Jenny Heft
scored off an assist from forward Jenny
Heft is one of the best forwards in
B3ig Ten standings:
Final conference results through
Saturday, Oct. 18.
the country. She is fourth in the nation
in points per game with 2.93 and third
in the nation in goals per game, averag-
"She is an amazing player,"
Michigan's Emily Schmitt said. "We
were able to contain her for almost the
entire game, but we just couldn't stop
her in the end."
Michigan did have several chances
to win the game. In the 22nd minute of
the first half, Jessica Limauro and
Amber Berendowsky attacked on a
two-on-two, but Limauro's cross went
wide and Berendowsky was not able to
"I was disappointed a couple of
times that I was not able to score,"
Limauro said. "But I still kick myself
when I think about missing that oppor-
tunity with Amber."
The Wolverines had a chance to end
the game in regulation when Stephanie
McArdle headed a corner kick from
Emily Schmitt off the crossbar.
But to say this game was a complete
disappointment would be an insult to
the fans that attended and all the
women who suited up to take on Notre
"Of course we were disappointed
with the final outcome," Schmitt said.
"But I have never been so proud of my
teammates. We played the best we ever
have as a team."
While Michigan failed to score,
they showed they could contend with
one of the country's most elite teams.
"This game showed that we could
play against anyone in the country,"
Schmitt said. "It also proved to a lot of
people that we are not afraid of any
Last year's game was a 5-0 romp by
Notre Dame. Michigan played "a
defensive ballgame and never forced
the ball upfield," Schmitt said.
This year, though, the Michigan
defense and offense made countless
attempts to establish a lead while keep-
ing the Irish off the board.
"We knew what talent they had, and
played appropriately," Limauro said.
"We dropped several people back on
defense and tried to control the mid-
field. This only left me and Amber as
The defense was led by former high
school sprinter Vanessa Lewis. Lewis
used her speed and athleticism to turn
away numerous Notre Dame forwards.
Michigan goalkeeper Carissa
Stewart kept the Wolverines in the
game, making seven saves for the
"We are so proud of our play,"
Limauro said. "We played very well,
but we are still working to reach the
peak of our potential."
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Big Ten conference
ed on Oct. 18.
Michigan has secured a berth In
the Big Ten tournament, to be
held Nov. 6.8 at Penn State.
Michigan defeated Northwestern
1.0 in the finals of last year's Big
Dr. Ellen Zimmermann
Asst Professor of
Gastroenterology, U of M
for an informal discussion
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