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March 11, 1999 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-11

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14A -The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 11, 1999

HER LAST HURRAH

BY STEPHANIE OFFEN

DAILY SPORTS WRITER

he Michigan women's basket-
ball team almost went into the
1999-2000 season losing no
players.
Michigan's lone senior, Ann
Lemire, almost stayed an extra year.
"It was seven games into the sea-
son," Lemire recalled. "The Big Ten
season had not even begun, and I tore
my ACL in practice. I lost my whole
freshman year."
Lemire spent the rest of that sea-

son and some of her sophomore year
petitioning for a redshirt. But
because of technicalities her peti-
tioning was in vain. It turned out that
Lemire had played one more game
then was permitted in order to
receive the redshirt.
Even though it was upsetting, the
experience just made Lemire
stronger.
The Frankenmuth native has
always dreamed of playing for a

Division I school. She would spend
hours shooting hoops out in the dri-
veway with her father, who played
basketball for Central Michigan.
Basketball was an important part
of her high school career as well. It
was a tradition at her high school,
but the team had never won a state
championship until Lemire's senior
year when they went undefeated to
win the Class B title.
Staying close to home was an
important factor in Lemire's decision
to come to Michigan. She had always
been close to her family, who still
comes to every home game, and tries
to follow the team on the road.
"I have really good family sup-
port," Lemire said. "My parents, sis-
ter, aunt, uncle and grandparents try
to come to all of the games. It feels
good to know that someone is out
there."
But Lemire had to give up her
other passion, skiing, in order to pur-
sue basketball.
She used to love to downhill ski,
but chose to give it up for risk of any
further injury.
"It was not the coaches' decision
as much as my own," Lemire said.
"My mother saw how upset I was by
my first injury and she suggested it."
Lemire was recruited by former
Michigan coach Trish Roberts, who
coached Lemire for her freshman
year, before current coach Sue
Guevara took over.
And the transition from Roberts to
Guevara was not an easy one for
Lemire.
"It was tough when you are
recruited thinking you are going to
play for a certain coach and then you
end up playing for another one,'
Lemire said. "They just had different
coaching styles."
But the coaching change did not
seem to affect Lemire's abilities on
the court.
The team's first year under
Guevara was a trial period for the
Wolverines, but the change proved to
be a step in the right direction as the
team had its first winning season in
six years.
Because of the season-ending
injury, Guevara's first year was also
Lemire's first year to really prove
herself with the team, and she did.
She averaged almost 10 points a
game, and proved to be a team leader
from behind the arc.
Lemire's junior year proved to be
the season that she would truly shine.
She started all but one of her 29
games, and improved in almost every
category.
But with her final year here at

Michigan came some problems for
the senior. Lemire endured injury
and two suspensions this year which
led her to a loss of her starting posi-
tion.
"Ann had to earn a starting posi-
tion," coach Sue Guevara said. "One
of her punishments for the suspen-
sion was losing that."
But the frustration of a loss of a
starting position did not seem to
affect Lemire's play. She continued
to climb in the record books, despite
finding a new role as coming off the
bench.
This season, Lemire has came
through when it counted. She record-
ed her season high of 20 points in
one of the season's biggest games
against the current No. I team in the
nation Purdue.
She also recorded a team high 20
points in the Big Ten Tournament
loss to Illinois. But those stats can be
expected, considering Lemire's
favorite place to play is on the road
in front of big crowds.
"I think Purdue was probably my
favorite game," Lemire said. "It gave
me an experience that I will never
forget. I'll never forget the magni-
tude of that crowd. It was unbeliev-
able."
But even though those high points
of her career will always stand out in
Lemire's mind, the difficulties she
had to endure while here at Michigan
has made Lemire ready to move on.
"I'm ready for my career here to
be done," Lemire said. "I was sad for
my last game at Crisler (Arena), and
I will miss my friends. I'm not quite
sure why I'm happy to be done,
maybe under different circumstances
I wouldn't be."
She has aspirations of becoming a
teacher some day, and has already
applied to the school of education at
Michigan.
Lemire also hopes to keep basket-
ball as part of her life.
"The WNBA is really saturated
with players right now because the
ABL folded," Lemire said. "But I
would love to go overseas and play.
Some former Michigan players went
and they loved it."
Lemire's Big Ten career may be
over, but the WNIT still awaits her
for her final game(s) of the season.
There is some disappointment of not
making it into the NCAA
Tournament for her last season, but
Lemire says that she will take what
she can get.
"This is not the end I had hoped
for," Lemire said. "But it does give
us another chance to prove our-
selves."
WNIT
Continued from Page 12A
victory was Big Ten foe Penn State, who
will compete in the NCAA tournament
this season.
This season also marks the first time
the Wolverines have competed in back-
to-back postseasons. Last year Michigan
made it's second-ever NCAA appear-
ance, but left early, making a first-round
exit losing to UCLA.
But Michigan is hoping for a longer
stay in this year's postseason. Even
though the Wolverines had been aiming
toward a second-straight NCAA appear-
ance, they will take any chance they can
to extend their season.
"It gives you a chance to play more
games," senior Ann Lemire said. "It's
not necessarily the end I would have

DANA UNNANE/Daily
ICIAnne Thorius
has helped
the Michigan
freshman to
beome an
important fac-
tor in recel-
ing the WHIT
berth.
Four freshman have
em--erged for Blue

Sl

16

LOUIS BROWN/Daily
Senior Ann Lemire dream was always to play for a Division i school. She has been
plagued with injuries and a coaching change, but also success. Lemire will make
her second post season appearance tomorrow against Western in the WNIT.

By Geoff Gagnon
Daily Sports Writer
The conference tournament
seems hardly the place to begin
making fashion statements. Not
with a season's worth of work and
NCAA Tournament chances on the
line.
Nevertheless, there they were,
Michigan's heralded quintet of
freshmen shrugging off fears of
playing in their first conference
tournament by subtly proclaiming
their unity - with their socks
pulled to their knees for the first
time all year.
"It was just something that all
the freshman could do," guard
Alayne Ingram said. "Heather
(Oesterle) brought them in and
asked me if I would wear them, and
I said I would, and then I started to
figure out what was going on. I
saw that she had four pair, one for
each of the freshmen."
With their socks pulled high and
with their spirits equally uplifted,
Michigan started the game with
half of its freshman corps on the
court where the attention promptly
moved from the fashion statement
the freshmen were making, to the
statement they were making in the
game.
In marshaling their team past
Minnesota in the opening round of
Big Ten Tournament, Michigan's
freshmen, sparked by Ingram's 14
points, delivered the type of per-
formance that made people forget
that they were watching first-year
players.
And in a topsy-turvy season that
has played witness to a Michigan-
best nine-game win streak while
suffering through coach Sue
Guevara's worst losing skid ever,
the freshmen have come together
to mature in ways that few would
have thought possible, while offer-
ing a bright hope for what the
futureholds.
But two weeks ago, little thought
was being paid to next year, as the
Wolverines made their tournament
return while their talented fresh-
men unit made its debut.
"Coming in I felt relaxed, ready
to play. In the locker room coach
was giving her pre-game talk and I
was moving around a lot, I was
really just excited," Ingram said.
"Before we got here, I was asking
people what the tournament was
like, if it was fun. Now that I'm
here, I'm excited to play."
And as the Wolverines rolled to
their seventh win in eight tries over
Minnesota, Guevara said she was
thankful that the win came for the
freshmen, who will use their new-

found tournament savvy as they,
face Western Michigan in tomor-
row's WNIT opener.
"I'm just glad to get this first
win over for the freshmen,
Guevara said. "They all got in the
game, it was their first time in the
RCA Dome and it was a tourna-
ment atmosphere which can be dif-
ficult."
Yet Michigan's freshmen have
been taking the difficult all season
long and making it look easy. In
amassing a combined 43 starts this
season for the Wolverines,
Guevara's freshmen have all been
called on to contribute and they've
responded.
On the strength of nearly an
eight point average from Kipping,
82 percent season free-throw
shooting from Oesterle, 10 points
per game from Ingram, and Raina
Goodlow's 15 blocks this season,
(good enough to finish 10th in the
conference), the freshmen have
made their presence known while
striving to grow as players.
While injuries forced Kipping,
Oetserle and Goodlow to shoulder
more of the burden in the post ear-
lier this season, Ingram took hold
of the reins at point guard and with
enthusiasm as potent as her play,
the Lansing native staked her claim
as the play-making foundation on
which the Wolverines could build
upon.
And.if her performance in des-
perately trying to salvage a victory
against Illinois last weekend is any
indication, that foundation is a
strong one. Netting 17 points to go
along with 5 assists and 5 three-
pointers in 36 minutes, the gritty
guard tried to outmuscle the Illini
almost unaided.
But the attention that comes
with her heroics is something that
seems new to Ingram - who
couldn't seem to contain her grin
as she noticed a name card posi-
tioned in front of her as she
addressed the media after the
Minnesota win.
"It's a new experience and
Alayne's coming in here saying
'wow, it's the big time,' because
she sees her name in front of her at
a press conference," Guevara said.
But the first-year phenom, who's
getting a glimpse of the "big time"
showed that she's only just begun,
and with one stellar regular season
under their belts Michigan's
returning sophomores would be:
well-served to get used to name
tags media attention as the
Wolverines set their sights on
what's sure to be a promising
future.

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