(2) ARIZONA 80,
Washington State 75
(3) Stanford at
OREGON STATE, inc.
(7) Syracuse 77,
SOUTH CAROLINA 74
(17)Ohio State 53,
NEW JERSEY 110,
L.A. Clippers 105
GOLDEN STATE, inc.
TAMPA BAY 4,
N.Y. Islanders 2
NASHVILLE 3 (OT)
TraokIng 'M' tickets
The Michigan Athletic Ticket Department has released
1,200 additional tickets for Sunday's men's basketball
game against No. 21 Illinois. Game time for Michigan's
Big Ten home opener is 1 p.m. CBS will broadcast live.
January 14, 2000 9
Point guard Kevin Gaines' drives to the hoop have propelled Michigan to a 10-3
record. The Wolverines return home for Sunday's Big Ten matchup against Illinois.
Crsle's erfloor leader
By Mark Francescutti
Daily Sports Writer
.Michigan's freshmen look up to
k or forward Brandon Smith a little
erently than the other veterans.
Maybe it's his strong return from a
(fnee surgery in June, a difficult time
6or Smith as he had to contribute lead-
4rship in street clothes from the
Maybe it's the immediate impact
smith has made in his first three games,
averaging nine points and almost seven
Or maybe it's because he likes to
w down crazy dunks in practice.
The younger guys gravitate to
Brandon," Michigan coach Brian
Edlerbe said. "But it's kid stuff. If a guy
an make a 360 dunk, they look up to
Smith's abilities and leadership on
the court couldn't l ve returned at a
better time for the Wolverines. After a
horrendous 17-point loss at Minnesota,
%/ichigan rebounded with an upset vic-
"We learned a lot in the Minnesota
arie because we were able to face
tdiersity" Smith said. "Against Purdue
we showed that we had matured from
one game to the next.
"I'm doing the little things we need
as far as leadership and helping the
team defense. I'm trying to be a steady-
ing factor. The offense comes and goes,
but the defense must be a constant."
The Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten, 10-3
overall), have upstart Illinois entering
Crisler on Sunday. The Fighting Illini
(1-2, 9-5), who looked to finish in the
upper echelon of the Big Ten, have lost
two in a row, but still pose a difficult
home challenge for Michigan with the
likes of Cory Bradford, Marcus Griffin
and upstart freshman Frank Williams.
Smith's continued progress can help
keep the Wolverines on the winning
track. It also sparks up a debate for
Ellerbe and his assistants. Should
Smith, a bonifide starter last season,
return to the starting lineup?
Smith already has a strong relation-
ship with many of the freshmen includ-
ing Jamal Crawford, who credits
Smith's kindness and friendship for his
entrance at Michigan. Besides extra
leadership on a youthful team, the
junior can provide that stronger defen-
See SMITH, Page 10
By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
StaceyThomas was destined to
own the Big Ten career steals
As a seventh grader at Flint
Southwestern Academy, she practiced
against 11 th and 12th grade boys.
While her father, Charles, coached
the school's football team, Stacey stud-
ied inside quietly. But the varsity bas-
ketball team often needed an extra
body for defense drills. And before she
knew it, Stacey was standing under
someone a foot-and-a-half taller and
70 pounds heavier, swinging from the
rim. But the experience proved to be
By the time Thomas reached ninth
grade, there was little question
whether or not she would play varsity
basketball. The question was if she
would earn all-city honors - a title
she earned as a freshman and every
year of her high school career.
Four years later, when it was time to
graduate, Thomas left Southwestern
with more than just a degree. She left
with three state high-jump titles, a
state indoor mile championship (in
track and field), a Gatorade Circle of
Champions player of the year award,
and two first-team all-state honors (in
basketball). In perhaps her finest
game, she registered a quadruple-dou-
ble (including 20 steals).
She also left with the intangible
experience of practicing with current
Michigan State star - and former
Southwestern standout - Charlie
When Thomas came to Michigan,
she didn't need to adjust to the higher
level of competition. She stepped in as
a starter and averaged 13 points, 6.6
rebounds and 2.7 steals per game,
along with stealing the Big Ten fresh-
man of the year award.
Fast forward three years to this past
Purdue's Shinika Parks lobbed a
pass to teammate Katie Douglas, and
like another Thomas that wore number
11, Stacey intercepted the ball. With
that steal, she set a Big Ten career
record with 12 games remaining in her
Thomas broke the mark of 326
steals set in 1997 by Wisconsin's
Isiah Thomas, who recorded 1,861
steals in his 13 seasons with the
Detroit Pistons, would have smiled.
"It's a great accomplishment,"
Stacey said. "All of the hard work that
I've put in paid off. I'm going to con-
tinue to work and put it out of reach."
Purdue coach Kristy Curry coached
Stacey on the USA Select Team.
"I tease her parents that I need them to make me another Stacey. I'm going to start a petition to get Stacey a fifth or sixth year of
eligibility," Michigan coach Sue Guevara said about Thomas, who graduates this year after breaking the Big Ten steals record.
"She's a great player and a tremen-
dous athlete," Curry said. "She's defi-
nitely one of the best defenders I've
ever seen. She's truly a special player
and as she goes, a lot of the time,
And that fact has Michigan's coach
Sue Guevara wondering how to
She was a key player in Guevara's
rebuilding of the Michigan women's
basketball program, and the coach is
not looking forward to the day
Thomas' Michigan career ends.
"I tease her parents that I need them
to make me another Stacey. I'm going
to start a petition to get Stacey a fifth
or sixth year of eligibility," Guevara
said with a smile. "For us building a
program, you need a good foundation,
and Stacey is a good, solid brick in us
building that foundation."
All Guevara can do is hope that
M' fans to get first
glimpse of Blackburn
Thomas sets an example for younger
players. While that's what she's hoping
for, there is little doubt that Thomas
will come through for Guevara once
"She's a great leader who leads by
example," freshman Infini Robinson
said. "She's always putting forth the
extra effort. A lot of times in practice,
when we need help, she's pushing us
and telling us to do the extra work."
And the extra effort is being noticed.
"Stacey has a lot of potential," said
Nancy Lieberman-Cline, coach and
general manager of the WNBA's
Detroit Shock. "We really like how she
plays. She's had a solid season. She's
what I consider an all-around player.
She has a great basketball body, a good
attitude, and I think she'll have every
opportunity to go to the next level."
But Thomas has to worry about her
last season at Michigan before she
worries about her WNBA career.
And so far, the Wolverines' season
has gone about as well as anyone could
Michigan's win over defending
national champion Purdue bumped
the Wolverines' record to 11-4, tied
with last year's mark for the best 15-
game start in school history.
The Wolverines resume their sched-
ule Monday in Champaign against No.
12 Illinois. Ideally, Thomas will hold
Illinois' Alison Curtin below her 18
points per game average, third best in
But Thomas, who leads the
Wolverines in scoring with 15 points
per game, isn't worrying about what
her stat sheet says. She's more con-
cerned about the team's record.
"I try not to focus on my numbers
too much, because then (I might) lose
focus on winning the game," Thomas
said. "I would like my numbers to .be
high enough to be recognized, but my
focus is on being a team leader, and
making sure that everyone is on the
same page. The bottom line is winning
That's her focus while she's on the
basketball court. When she's away
from it, Thomas concentrates on her
"I'm able to separate the twoYthe
Business Administration student sail
of juggling athletics and academics.
"When I'm on the court, my focust
on the court. And when it's time for
school work, my focus is there."
But it wasn't always that easy for
Thomas. When she first enrolled,
Thomas struggled academically.
"My first semester (in the Business
school) was difficult," she said. "I had
to adjust to the work load. I was taki
16 credits and I wasn't used to tak
that much work. It frustrated ne-at
times. It took up a lot of time and it
took sleep away, but I adjusted a jd
learned to manage my time better.
After nine years of stealing passes,
Thomas just recently made her biggest
steal of all: Time.
inside: A preview of Michigan's
matchup against Illinois on Monday.
By Geoff Gagnon
Daily Sports Writer
Call it a homecoming of sorts for the
Michigan hockey team as it returns to
Nost- Ice Arena tonight to host its first
'!ae there in over a_
month. But for Josh THIS WEEI
B ackburn, tonight's.......WEE
conference show- g Who: Mihigan(8-
wn with Miami is 12-5 overall) vs. Mia
e but. (6-4-2 CCHA 9-72
A debut that has Where: Yost Ice Ar
been a long time in When:7:35 p.m. to
coming 7:05 p.m. Saturday
B3iackburn, who Latst:In the lastr
led -the Wolverines Michigan stunned ti
past Michigan State a withmtoir
week ago will take l
his place between the
pipes at home for the first time since last
nd nobody could be more pleased
Sn Blackburn himself.
"I can't wait to finally get back in
here," Blackburn said. "It's the best rink
around, and it's really been a while since
I've played here."
Blackburn's return home is made
sweeter since it comes on the heels of
last week's 23-save showing in his first
game back. In knocking off the fifth-
ranked Spartans in East Lansing last
ay, Blackburn helped Michigan to its
rst share of the CCHA lead this season
- a feat his teammates say will warrant
a warm reception for the Oklahoma
native as he takes the ice tonight.
"Knowing that Yost crowd, Blackie
ought to get quite a nice welcome,"
sophomore Mike Comrie said. "He's a
great goaltender, and the fans
here know that."
END Hoping to spoil Blackburn's
CHA, home debut, Miami enters
iOh ) tonight's game with a six-game
verall) CCHA road winless streak and
a a nine-game skid in Ann Arbor.
ght, Nevertheless, Enrico Blasi's
RedHawks, currently seventh
eting, in the CCHA, carved out their
econds sixth conference win last week
ord as they upended Bowling
After Michigan State's 4-3
overtime loss to Nebraska-Omaha, the
Wolverines now have the opportunity to
take the CCHA lead with a victory and a
Northern Michigan loss or tie.
Michigan was certainly the case when
the two teams met earlier this season.
Falling behind 2-0 on the road, Michigan
used a score from Comrie in the game's
final minute to tie the game. Later, the
Wolverines expired all but four seconds
of the overtime period before a Geoff
Koch shot found its mark and broke the
"I'm sure they got some confidence
out of that weekend which will carry
See ICERS, Page 10
4 Stacey Thomas
a Robin Hood
f Billy the Kid
Merry Men of
Big Ten steals
Stole from rich,
gave to poor
Stole a lot of stuff
'Please seh, can I
have some mor?'
a Butch Cassidy & Partridge Family
the Sundance Kid 'we", ady)~v
a Oliver Twist
The 40 thieves
The Advisory Committee on
Labor Standards and Human
will sponsor a public forum
to discuss its
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1Tw The University of Michiaan