-6B ,- The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 16, 1998
Experience will lurk in the
backcourt for '98 Blue season
By tephanie Oft
Daily Sports Writer
Last year, experience led to a
breakout season for the Michigan
5 women's basketball team.
Four seniors, led by current
WNBA player Pollyanna Johns, took
the team to the semifinals of the Big
Ten tournament and led it to its sec-
ond ever NCAA tournament.
But this year's outlook is quite
; different. While the ultimate goal
remains the same, the team will have
to take another path to get there.
f Because the team has eight
underclassmen in the Il-member
squad, inexperience will describe the
c Wolverines this season.
Most of the youth lies in
Michigan's frontcourt. Three fresh-
men started for the Wolverines in
their exhibition game against the
Swiss national team, adding athletic
t ability and quickness. But coach Sue
Guevara noted that they "have a long
way to go."
The little experience Michigan
has lurks in the backcourt, with
junior Stacey Thomas and sopho-
more Anne Thorius leading the way.
Thomas is one of the team's
strongest defensive players and one
of the quickest and most athletic
players in the league. She holds
Michigan's single-season record for
steals and was Michigan's second-
leading rebounder and scorer.
Though Thomas' natural position
is shooting guard, she will also see
time at small forward.
Thorius is a floor leader who can
play either the one or two spot. As an
experienced player on the perimeter,
she will be looked upon to shoot the
ball and score more, instead of dis-
tributing the ball as much as she did
"There is a lot of pressure when
people keep talking about how we
are the ones with the experience, but
we aren't supposed to win the game
for us," Thorius said.
Ann Lemire, the lone senior on
the team, will also add to the experi-
ence of the backcourt when she
returns. Lemire was suspended for
the first three games of the season
for breaking a team rule, but is eager
to be put back in the lineup.
"We really need Ann's leader-
ship," Throrius said. "She is bummed
that she is not playing, and as soon as
she is able to she will add to the
perimeter defense. She is also a great
shooter and penetrator."
With the loss of Johns, the weak-
ness of the team will be the lack of
But the Wolverines have many
new faces to prove that statement
wrong. They hope that sophomore
Katie Dykhouse and freshman Raina
Goodlow will step up and produce in
the post position.
The two are not expected to
replace Johns' rebounding and
defensive abilities, but Guevara will
look to them to lead the frontcourt.
"We didn't see a rebounder like
Pollyanna tonight," Guevara said
after the exhibition game. "But we
are really working on our defense,
and looking for that animal."
Goodlow and Dykhouse weren't
wild animals, but they did score in
double digits against the Swiss. The
duo also contributed on the other
side of the ball.
The guards are not looking to
lead the team to another NCAA
berth on their own. Guevara noted at
the beginning of the season that this
was a team with good chemistry, so
every member of the team is looked
on to contribute.
"We are trying to get everyone
involved," Thorius said. "We don't
have specific plays to get the ball to
Stacey and 1. Everyone has the green
light to shoot."
Despite the inexperience, the
Wolverines don't feel that they have
any setbacks this season. They are
optimistic about the freshmen, who
are eager about playing a large part
in what they hope will be another
"We don't really have any weak
positions, just less experience"
Thomas said. "As long as they learn
and work hard, they will play."
The starting lineup is not yet set,
but it is almost certain that some
freshmen will start.
-The experience may lie in the
backcourt, but the frontcourt is wait-
ing to prove that there is no weak-
ness on this team that will prevent it
from taking another trip to the Big
This is a rebuilding year for the Michigan women's basketball team. An experienced backcourt, led by Stacey Thomas and
Anne Thorius, looks to return Michigan to the NCAA tournament.
'M' frontcourt to fill large void this year
With the departure of Pollyanna Johns, Wolverines must rediscover the post
By Josh Borkin
Daily Sports Writer
Instability lies ahead for the Michigan women's
What do the Wolverines have to do to make up
for a player that scored 1,251 career points and
was Michigan's first all-Big Ten selection?
Pollyanna Johns, the 6-3 center who was the
centerpiece of the Michigan offense for the past
three years, graduated last May, and her 17.5
points and 9.5 rebounds per game are also gone.
The question now is: Can anybody step up and
assume the role that Johns played?
"There is no way anyone can take the place of
Pollyanna," Michigan sophomore Katie Dykhouse
said. "There is no one now that can score 20 points
and pull down 10 rebounds a night on this team."
Since Johns can't be replaced by an individual,
the entire frontcourt must focus on working as a
unit to put up the numbers that Johns was able to
But several Wolverines feel that they will be
better this year with a platoon of forwards instead
of one force in the middle.
"I believe that our frontcourt can be even better
than last season's," Dykhouse said. "We will miss
a dominant scorer in the middle, but we will be a
better frontcourt since we will all factor (in)."
The biggest weakness that the frontcourt must
face is its lack of size and experience. Height
obviously cannot be altered, but with more playing
time and practice, experience will become less of
"We are not meaty girls," Dykhouse said. "We
might not be big, but we are very quick, and we
are able to shoot, dribble and play defense."
This year's responsibilities in the frontcourt will
fall mainly on the shoulders of Raina Goodlow,
Ruth Kipping, and Stacey Thomas.
The supporting cast will consist of Kenisha
Walker, Alison Miller, Dykhouse and Mandy
Alison Miller, a sophomore transfer from
Bowling Green, is slated as the lone center on the
Michigan roster. Miller will be a key player off the
Michigan coach Sue Guevara signed a stellar
group of recruits in forward/guard Heather
Osterle, Kipping, Goodlow and guard Alayne
Ingram. All three forwards were recognized a@
three of the top forwards in the Midwest.
"The freshman have done a really good job,"
bench, inserted to help on the
key points in the post.
Michigan's frontcourt is
known for its versatility.
Kipping believes that "any of
them can play the three, four
or five positions."
Thomas - who spent her
freshman and sophomore
years as a shooting guard -
will be rotating into the small
forward position periodically.
Thomas is fourth on
boards and provide
"There is no way
Dykhouse said. "Everyone
was very skeptical at first, but
they have really worked hard
Michigan's field goal percentage list with .469
and is the all-time steals leader.
She spent last summer playing in Europe on the
USA Select Team. The1998 all-Big Ten second-
team selection led the Select Team in rebounding
twice with seven-and 13-rebound performances.
Thomas' experience on the Select Team will
help her lead an inexperienced frontcourt.
Though she is primary known for her scoring,
she will also be called upon to rebound for the
Wolverines. She will be a key factor in the triple-
The triple-post is the perfect offense for a team
with no dominant center. This offensive requires
athletic and mobile forwards.
Also, this offense does not firmly establish any
player in a particular role. Thus, no frontcourt
player will ever be known as the primary scorer.
"This offense lets us be creative," Dykhouse
said. "We play a high-low and our offense will
allow us to improve as a frontcourt."
Due to the nature of the team, this season there
will be a lot of pressure on the freshman to per-
ta take in practice and with time they
should become important
Sof players in the frontcourt."
The experienced backcourt
will be required to produce
most of Michigan's offense. 0
Katie Dykhouse The frontcourt's major duty
Michigan forward will be to step it up defensive-
ly and box out for rebounds.
"Defense is our main focus in the frontcourt,"
Dykhouse said. "We will be better offensively in
time, but we must improve on our rebounding and
Michigan's frontcourt players are characterized
by their speed and agility, which will be important
on defense. But the boards tell a different tale.
"We need to improve our boxing out," Kipping
"The Big Ten is very physical, and we need to
learn to box out better if we want to be success-
Although the Wolverines have set their goals on
returning to the NCAA tournament, they all admit
that this year is a rebuilding year. Dvkhouse. how-
ever, feels that this is a different kind of rebuild-
"This year we are definitely rebuilding,"
Dykhouse said. "Since we lost Pollyanna and we
have a lot of young players we must expect that.
"But we expect to do very well this season and
only improve. It's not so much a rebuilding year as
a season of improvement and learning."
With the loss of star Pollyanna Johns, forward Ruth Kipping will be one of the
freshmen who will step up to try to fill her shoes.
-capsides by Stphme Offen and Ura Submnian
At the dawn of the 1998-'99
season, the Big Ten conference
looks to once again be one of the
NCAA ' elite. Purdue, the No. S
team in the nation, leads the way.
Though the premier teams in the
conference are basically
established, there are many that
could ulofnfTan unt
1997-98 REcORD: 104 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Carolyn Peck
KEY PLAYERS: Stephanie
No. OF REURNING
This is a team that
could be on its way to
not only a Big Ten champi-
onship, but an NCAA one as
well. Ranked first in the Big Ten
preseason poll - fifth in the AP
poll - Purdue is looking to
make a statement in 1998.
The Boilermakers are coming
off a Big Ten tournament cham-
pionship and a trip to the
NCAA's round of eight, and
evervone's comin hack.
! PENN STATEj
1997-98 RECORD: 8-8 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Rene
KEY PLAYERS: Helen Darling,
No. OF RETURNING
A WNIT cham-
pionship in 1998 wasn't good
enough for the Nittany Lions.
This year they have bigger and
better things in mind. Last
year's team was young and
But this year, the Lions
return nine letterwinners.
Garner, who led the team in
points and rebounds returns at
center. and noint nard Darling
5 F INDIANA
1997-98 RECORD: 9-7 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Jane Albright-
KEY PLAYERS: LaTonya Simms,
No. OF RETURNING
At the end of the
1997-98 season, the Badgers
lost their leader, guard Katie
Voigt, but this year Wisconsin
has the best recruiting class in
the Big Ten.
The four newcomers 'on the
team are led by Tamara Moore -
the Minnesota Player of the Year
- hopes to capture one ofthe two
spots in the sta lineup.
The team is ridinp a streak of
1997-98 RECORD: 124 Big Ten,
KEY PLAYERS: Alicia Sheeler,
Melissa Parker, Lisa
No. OF RETURNING
1997-98 RECORD: 10-6 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Jim Izard
KEY PLAYERS: Kristi Green,
Cindy Kems, Summer Maines,
No. OF RETURNING
With four of five
starters returning, the
Hoosiers could be a threat m the
he strong ardypofGreen
- last ear'sN. f-ee throw
shooter in the country - will to
lead the Hoosiers to the Tory
days of last year's 21-12 finish.
She will get help from fresh-
man Heather Cassady, who was
hailed as one of the ton-ve high
This may not be the year
when the Illini drink cham-
pagne in Champaign. With the
loss of All-American Ashley
en to graduation, the
ng Illin have a huge void
In their freshman class, they
may have found just what they