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January 17, 2001 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-17

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Clean sweep
The Michigan women's swimming and
diving team boasts both the Big Ten
Swimmer and Diver of the Week. (Jo
online to see how the Wolverines won
the awards.
michigandaily.com/sports

SPORTS

WEDNESDAY
JANUARY 17, 2001

8

Searight
confused}r
on bench
BY Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer"

Door to the CCHA
title still wide open

Maurice Searight thought he would
join the Michigan basketball team (1-2
Big Ten, 7-7 overall) and make an
immediate impact. Those thoughts have
not come to fruition, as the freshman
has averaged less than five minutes a
game in Michigan's last five games,
down from the 14 minutes a game he
averaged after nine games.
Against Eastern Michigan, Searight sat
out the game for "undisclosed reasons,"
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said.
Searight said he thought he would
come to Michigan and play a big role.
"Its been real tough sitting on the
bench. I'm not used to that," he said.
Searight starred on the 28-0 Orchard
Lake St. Mary's team that won the
Michigan state title a year ago. He began
the season expecting major minutes on a
team that lost Jamal Crawford and Kevin
Gaines, last year's starting guards.
But that hasn't happened.
"There's a reason for (not playing
him)," Ellerbe said. Playing him "does-
n't help our team win basketball
games."
Instead Searight is trying to play well
when the opportunity presents itself in
order to impress the coaching staff. This
forced play has often resulted in missed
shots and turnovers.
Searight said he's been trying to
impress the coaching staff when he gets
an opportunity to play. "I just want to go
out there and be the leader every time
I'm out there on the court," he said.
Since Searight has seen less playing
time, freshman guard Avery Queen has
seen most of the minutes, though he too
is a freshman and has struggled at times.
Searight said that he's played more
tentatively because of the meager game-
time time and that if he makes a mistake
Ellerbe will "put Avery back in there."

JEFF IHURVITZ/Daily
Freshman Maurice Searight has averaged 12.3-minutes-per-game as a backup to
fellow freshman point guard Avery Queen.

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Writer
Suiting up for Michigan can't be easy.
There are obviously a boatload of rea-
sons for this. The media spotlight is as
big as any in the country, the tradition is
nearly unparalleled and the expectations
are through the roof.
The last item is one that hounds the
hockey team these days. Sitting in second
place, four points behind Michigan State
- the country's No. I team - people
can't stop talking
about opportuni-
ties missed. HOCKEY
"It would be Commentary
easy right now for
people to pick on us and say we're ander-
achieving, because we are, and I would-
n't blame them," Michigan assistant
coach Billy Powers said.
Perennial CCHA bottom-dwellers
Notre Dame and Alaska-Fairbanks
should be so lucky as to underachieve the
way that Michigan does.
But it's naive and ignorant to assume
that Michigan is competing the way that
it should this season, and the Wolverines
are hanging very uneasily on the ledge
between greatness and mediocrity. There
are impressive weekends such as the
College Hockey Showcase, when
Michigan beat two high-quality WCHA
teams - Wisconsin and Minnesota --3-
2 and 4-I, respectively.
Of course, such wins are overshad-
owed by losses to Ferris State, Alaska-
Fairbanks, Michigan Tech and most
recently, Ohio State this past Friday night.
"That's one of the troubling things -
why our team turns it on and off a little
bit too much," Powers said.
Some of his players are frustrated, too.
"A lot of people are just as puzzled as
we are' junior forward Craig Murray
said. "Some nights we'll come out and
not have it and the next night we'll come
out and look like a-team that's one of the
tops in the country. We know we have a
good team in here, it's just whether or not
we put the effort in."
A 16-6-3 record to date is certainly

impressive, but as one of the nation's top
programs year-in-year-out, that much
and more is expected.
If Michigan's inconsistency persists
and it misses the NCAA tournament this
year, the Wolverines will know where to
look for answers.
"If we finish second, we'll look back,'
Murray said. "We talk about how we have
to win the games we should win. We came
out and we lost a few games that we real-
ly should have won. Those games will
hopefully not cost us. But if we finish sec-
ond, we'll definitely look back and say
those are games we should have had"
On top of that, Wolverines' fans will
forever be haunted by what-ifs.
What if last year's scoring-leader Mike
Comrie had chosen to stay at Michigan
rather than follow the money?
What if the Wolverines hadn't lost to
teams in the bottom half of the CCHA?
And what if Michigan had accepted the
CCHA gods' scheduling gift?
The upcoming schedule will deter-
mine which team takes home the CCHA
crown. Michigan is tied with Western
Michigan and will face the Broncos in a
home-and-home series this weekend.
The Wolverines also have three games
left against the top-ranked Spartans, after
losing 1-0 in the first meeting.
Truly, the upcoming weeks should be
seen as a chance to atone for the team's
mistakes all season. At the same time,
Michigan must prove that its eyes are
finally open by beating the good teams as
well as the less-than-intimidating ones-
the two upcoming games against Notre
Dame being a fine example.
"Unless we turn it around real quickly,
we could be just a team that people say,
'They had enough talent that they could
have been a real contender but they did-
n't show up every night.,"' Powers said.
"There have been enough inconsistencies
on this team that I can't sit here right now
and say how they're going to compete
this weekend. I like to think I know, but
it's up to the guys now.
"The message is loud and clear. We'll
find out what this team is made of really
quickly."

Searight's lack of playing time may
have stunted his maturation. He said that
playing-wise, he's unhappy and wishes
the coaching staff would tell him what
he needs to do to get more playing time.
"Things aren't going the way I
planned," Searight said.
Yesterday in practice, Searight ran
some formations with the "Soul Patrol,"
the third-string unit composed mainly
of walk-ons.
"Maurice has to earn playing time,"
Ellerbe said. "He's got to earn it every
day and he hasn't done that. His learn-
ing curve has been a little more difficult
than some of the other players'."
Searight is not alone in feeling con-
fused about his role. Junior guard Leon
Jones said: "Everybody's trying to press
and everybody's a little tight. I don't
think my role on this team has been
defined - I don't think anybody's role
on this team has been defined."

BIG TEN STANDINGS
Conference Overall
Team W L W L
Iowa 3 1 14 3
Michigan State 3 1 14 1
Illinois 3 1 13 4
Purdue 3 1 11 4
Penn State 2 2 11 3
Ohio State 2 2 11 5
Minnesota 1 2 13 3
Indiana 1 2 13 5
Michigan 1 2 7 7
Wisconsin 1 3 10 4
Northwestern 0 4 7 9
Yesterday's results:
WISCONSIN 67, IowA 54,
Today's games:
Penn State at INDIANA, 6 p.m.
Illinois at NORTHWESTERN, 8 p.m.
Purdue at MINNESOTA, 8 p.m.

Badgers deal Iowa 0
first Big Ten defeat
MADISON (AP) - Roy Boone
and Mike Vershaw each scored 18
points and Mike Kelley shut down
Luke Recker in No. 19 Wisconsin's
67-54 victory over No. 14 Iowa last
night.
The Badgers (2-3 Big
Ten, 11-4), victims of
three straight last-
minute road losses,
made 29 of 35 free
throws in winning for the ninth con-
secutive time at the home.
The Hawkeyes (3-1, 14-3) had a
double-digit lead early but were
outscored 42-35 in a sordid second
half that included just three points and
two rebounds from Reggie Evans,
who finished with 10 points and nine
boards, well below his averages of
14.9 points and 12.7 rebounds.
Doctors optimistic
for Williams recovery
BOSTON (AP) - Doctors remained
optimistic Tuesday even as baseball
great Ted Williams was back under
sedation in intensive care a day after he
underwent a lengthy operation to repair
failing heart valves.
Doctors at New York Presbyterian
Hospital's Weill Cornell Medical Center
were encouraged by Williams' response
to doctors commands immediately after
surgery, The Boston Globe reported.
The 82-year-old Hall of Famer, base-
ball's last .400 hitter, could not speak
when he awoke from surgery because he
was still intubated, but he did respond to
doctors' commands, said Dr. Jeffrey
Borer, the cardiologist overseeing the
Williams case.
Puckett and Winfield
new kids in the Hall
NEW YORK (AP) - Dave Winfield
and Kirby Puckett were elected yester-
day to the Hall of Fame on their first try,
becoming the seventh pair of teammates
picked in the same year.
Winfield, who had 3,110 hits and 465
home runs, and Puckett, whose All-Star
career was cut short by glaucoma,
played together on the Minnesota Twins
in 1993-94.
In fact, Winfield's 3,000th hit drove in
Puckett.
"We've already talked, and we con-
gratulated each other," Puckett said from
the Metrodome. "It will be very, very
special going in with him."
Red Wings' plane
loses engine power
SACRAMENTO (AP) - The
Detroit Red Wings used a different
plane yesterday to fly to Canada hours
after their chartered jet lost engine
power and made an emergency land-
ing in Sacramento.
None of the 46 passengers were
injured Monday night during the 6
unscheduled landing on a flight from
San Jose to Vancouver, British
Columbia.
The loss of power in an engine on
the DC-9 prompted calls of a "major
in-flight emergency.
The crew was able to restart the
engine mid-air and the plane safely
landed at Sacramento International
Airport around 9:45 p.m. Monday, air-
port spokesman Gregg Weissenfluh
said.

}

Are You Questioning Your
Sexual Orientation?'
We have two programs just for you!
New Beginnings:
"Exploring Same Sex Attraction"
The two-session informational workshop is for students who might
be questioning their sexual orientation or are in the early stages of
acknowledging their same sex attractions. Each session has
different material; you may attend either one or both of them.
Monday, 1/22/01, 6:00-8:00 p.m., LGBT Office, 3200 Michigan Union
Tuesday, 1/23/01, 6:00-8:00 p.m., CAPS Office, 3100 Michigan Union
Coming Out Support roup
Starting January 30th the group will meet every Tuesday from
4:00-6:00 p.m., To register call Holly at the Office of Lesbian
Gay Bisexual and Transgender Affairs at 763-4186 or email
her at nanette@umich.edu.
If you want more information
or have a disability that requires an
accommodation please call
763-4186 or email us at
lgbta@umich.edu.

Uphill battle for 'M' in the Big Ten

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Writer
When the season began, the Big Ten
looked as though it could soon become
one of the nation's elite conferences
for women's basketball.
As long as teams like Penn State and
Purdue continue their traditions of
excellence, the Big Ten never needs to
fear a lack of respect. But, recently,
other teams have emerged as threats on
the scene.
For example, Illinois received a pre-
season top 25 ranking, as did
Wisconsin after winning last year's
WNIT. Michigan, Ohio State and
Indiana have all received votes for the
AP Poll during this season.
After a second-place finish in the
Big Ten last year, Michigan thought it
could lead such second-tier teams in
the conference's growth toward nation-
al recognition. When the Wolverines
were televised nationally Dec. 30 on
CBS against then-No. 8 Purdue, com-
mentator Gus Johnson spoke highly of
the direction Michigan has taken under

coach Sue Guevara's tenure. Johnson
warned women's hoops fans that her
team was on the rise.
But the current state of the
Wolverines' union is no longer so pos-
itive. Guevara insists, nevertheless,
they are still in contention.
"You look at the rest of the confer-
ence, and I certainly don't put us out of
it with four losses," she said. "It's pret-
ty wide open. It's obvious, on any
given night, who knows who is going
to win?"
Michigan is not the only team
underachieving as the middle of the
Big Ten standings become more jum-
bled.
Both Illinois and Wisconsin lost
their rankings after mediocre records
in non-conference play, but the
Fighting Illini are reproving them-
selves with a 4-1 Big Ten showing.
Ohio State is sitting near the bottom,
but it remains undefeated in non-con-
ference games with three conference
losses by three or fewer points. Penn
State, which was supposed to prove
Purdue's only challenge, dropped two

in a row to Illinois and Michigan.
Though Guevara said her four loss-
es don't bury her team for good, much
of the remaining schedule will be an
uphill climb with six road games,
including those at No. 6 Purdue and
No. 16 Penn State. But playing scared
is no way to make a comeback.
"I don't think we fear anybody,"
Guevara said. "I think for us, if some-
body has a ranking ahead of their
name, it's a lot better for us than some-
body who doesn't."
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Conference Overall
Team W L W L
Purdue 5 0 15 3
Illinois 4 1 9 8
Indiana 4 2 13 4
Penn State 4 2 12 5
Wisconsin 3 2 8 6
Iowa 3 2 8 7
Michigan State 2 3 8 8
Michigan 2 4 9 7
Ohio State 2 4 12 4
Minnesota 0 4 7 8
Northwestern 0 5 4 11

''

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