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December 12, 2001 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-12

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 12, 2001

44

Michigan's 'microwave' continues
to ignite Wolverines off the bench

Toledo, on downward
spiral, welcomes Blue

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor

Michigan certainly doesn't bring back memories
of the tough, rough and mean Detroit Pistons' "Bad
Boys" teams of a decade ago, but the Wolverines do
have their own version of a Vinnie Johnson
"microwave."
Just as the nickname was given to Johnson for
igniting the Pistons off the bench with instant
offense and a sweet stroke from the outside, Michi-
gan freshman Dommanic Ingerson has- earned the
title by fearlessly making his presence felt as a
valuable sixth man for the Wolverines.
While the shooting guard averages just 20 min-
utes per game, he doesn't waste any opportunities.
He ranks third on the Wolverines in scoring at 11.4
points per game and has reached double-figures in
four of Michigan's seven games.
But Ingerson's playing time may increase as the
Wolverines take on two more nonconference foes
before starting the Big Ten season on Jan. 1. Michi-
gan hosts Eastern Michigan on Dec. 22 and faces
San Francisco in the Pete Newell Classic in Califor-
nia on Dec. 29. After starting the season behind last
year's sharpshooter, junior Gavin Groninger, Inger-
son received more than double the minutes of
Groninger against Duke and has been inserted more
often during key situations.
"He has helped us a lot," said Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker. "Dom has given us an opportunity
to go to him off the bench. He is able to create his
own shot, and when you are playing a tough
defense like (Duke's) it's hard to run things. Then
you need an individual to break a defense down.
(Chuck) Bailey and him are giving us minutes and
they made some good plays, but they also had some

glaring mistakes like we all did."
The knock on Ingerson prior to the season was
his controversial past. Emotional meltdowns and
suspensions in high school led some to believe
Michigan's "microwave" would let his animated and
emotional past resurfabe at the collegiate level.
But the only thing visible from Ingerson's past is
his accuracy from 3-point range, as the freshman
leads the Wolverines and is second in the Big Ten
with a scorching 58-percent efficiency from behind
the arc - and sometimes even further.
Ingerson's breakout performance came in Michi-
gan's second game against Fairfield, when he
exploded for 23 points in just 21 minutes. Most of
his points came on his stellar 6-8 shooting from 3-
point range, including several he took from five feet
beyond the line.
Ever since, the Maize Rage student section has
instituted a cheer called the "Dom Bomb," in which
each fan drops from their standstill position onto
their behinds in the new student bleachers.
And Ingerson's aggressive shot selection keeps
those fans on the edge of their seats. He's never
afraid to take a shot, which sometimes leads Amak-
er to pull him aside on the court and say, "slow
down."
The streaky shooting guard has also been one of
the least intimidated Wolverines in big games and
tough road environments. When Michigan desper-
ately needs to stop a daunting run by an opponent,
Ingerson is inserted to stop the bleeding and create
some much-needed offense.
Ingerson tallied 16 points and posted a career-
high 32 minutes against then-No. 15 Boston Col-
lege two weeks ago, and last Saturday against No. 1
Duke, he notched 13 points in 24 minutes, which
included some time at point guard.

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Freshman guard Dommanic Ingerson averaged 14.5.
points per game against Boston College and Duke.
The Michigan coaching staff has wanted to slow-
ly adjust Ingerson to the point, but early on, the
freshman's shot selection and ball-handling wasn't
at its best. But with Ingerson's recent success with
post-entry passes and with his increasing ability to
create his own shot, a move to point guard may be
something that both the coaches and Ingerson can
grow comfortable with.
"It's a different mindset," Ingerson said. "But,
you know, I can bring up the ball. Whatever coach
wants."

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
Usually, beating Duke in basket-
ball is considered a good thing, but
don't tell that to Mark Ehlen.
Ehlen, the head coach of Toledo's
women's basketball team, will admit
that it was a good thing when his
Rockets upset then No. 4 Duke on
Nov. 18. But he will also point out
that the 71-65 upset of the Blue
Devils had some negative effects on
the team as well.
"It hurt us a little bit because we
thought we were better than what we
are," Ehlen said.
That thought carried over to Tole-
do's next games. The Rockets hit the
road and it has not been pretty since
then, as they dropped winnable
games to Evansville and DePaul.
The DePaul loss was especially
poignant for Toledo (3-4) because it
was a result of a failure to capitalize
on opportunities.
By stunning Duke in its home
opener, Toledo established itself as
a premier defensive team. The
Rockets have allowed just one team
(Xavier) to score more than 70
points in a regular season game.
The 105 points put up by the
Muskateers was not indicative of
the Rockets defense, as the game
went to three overtime periods and
two of the Rockets' best players
fouled out before the third overtime
expired. The Xavier loss was one of
the low points for Toledo this sea-
son.
"A three-overtime loss at Xavier
is not where we want to be," Ehlen
lamented.
Toledo, like Michigan, has been
on the road for most of its noncon-
ference schedule. This schedule has

taken its toll on the Rockets, who
have won just two out of six games
on the road this season. Fortunately
for Toledo, it will be returning home
tonight to face No. 14 Michigan (7-
1) at 7 p.m. Ehlen hopes the team
will be able to turn things around
during this four game home stint.
The Rockets must ask themselves
if they can pull out another upset at
home this week. But Toledo will not
face another shell-shocked team like
Duke. Michigan is coming off an
incredible finish in a hostile envi-
ronment against Washington.
"I think the lesson to be learned
from that is that we are a very capa-
ble basketball team of weathering
the storm, weathering the momen-
tum change, the changes in the
game and playing in front of a
noisy, boisterous crowd," Michigan
coach Sue Guevara said. "I think we
found out that we can really main-
tain our composure;"
Tonight's game will test the
Wolverines' poise. The game fea-
tures a desperate Toledo team that
has shown flashes of brilliance and
a Michigan team that has won seven
games in a row.
These wins have come in different
ways for the Wolverines. They have
blown out teams like Notre Dame
and New Hampshire and they have
won in the last minute, as they did
against Washington. One key to
Michigan's success in all of its vic-
tories has been the balance it pos-
sesses.
"I think you play a team like
Michigan,kand there is not just one
thing they do well," Ehlen said.
"They are strong inside, but if you
take that away, they are strong on
the outside. Any time you have that,
you have a good thing going."

A

Tumblin' into break
Senior All-Americans will rest until midseason for men gymnasts ...

4

By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer

The past six years have been very successful ones
for the Michigan men's gymnastics team. Since Kurt
Golder's appointment to the head coaching position
in July of 1996, the team has gone from an 0-16
record and a last place finish in the Big Ten to the
national spotlight. The Wolverines captured the
national title in 1999, and have finished in the top
four ever since.
The team will depend on the strength of its experi-
enced seniors, many of whom have participated in
national and international meets in the last year.
However, because of recent surgeries or an
exhausting year of competition, many of the seniors
need time to recover and rest before jumping back
into collegiate competition.
"That's going to take until midseason for that to
happen," Golder said of his seniors' return to action.
Getting the seniors healthy should be a priority, as
they are the main reason for the Wolverines' high
ranking. Brad Kenna, Daniel Diaz-Luong and Scott
Vetere were All-Americans last season.

The injury situation with many of the senior gym-
nasts - co-captains Justin Teman and Vetere are both
recovering from shoulder surgery - and the fact that
there are only three juniors and one sophomore on the
team means that its success will also depend on the
performance of the six incoming freshmen.
The Wolverines can place 15 men on the roster at
each meet, and for the first part of the year, the bulk
of those 15 will be freshman. In the long run, this
should benefit the new class of gymnasts.
"With a large freshman class, it reduces the pres-
sure to bring the seniors back while they're recover-
ing," Golder said. "It also gives the freshmen much
better opportunities to participate.
"We're coming into the preseason ranked No. 2
because of who's on our roster, and we're not going to
compete those guys. I think it's going to hurt our
rankings, but we're all aware of that."
To begin competition, the team will host the Maize
and Blue intrasquad meet at Cliff Keen Arena this
weekend. Golder and the other men's gymnastics
coaches will get a chance to take a good look at their
team and assess each gymnast individually, especially
the freshmen.

"For the freshmen, who are establishing themselves
and wearing the maize and blue for the first time, it's
very important for them," Golder said. "This is their
audition for their spot in the lineup."
Although the exhibition meet has no effect on
national rankings or team scoring, it is still a vital part
of the season and an excellent evaluation tool for both
the coaches and the gymnasts. Even though the team
is competing against itself, there is still considerable
pressure to perform and the results from this weekend
could affect how the lineup looks throughout the sea-
son - even at the national championships.
"There's great pressure, I'd imagine, for someone
competing for the first time in a Michigan uniform.
It's real important to start out on a good note," Golder
said. "If you impress the coaches and you impress the
crowd and so forth, it's so much better to start out
your career that way."
For the upperclassmen, this weekend's meet holds
a different purpose.
"The main thing that I'm trying to emphasize with
the more experienced guys on our team is that they're
doing shorter routines, but trying to put new elements
in," Golder said.

4

.,;

... While women mix up routine, travel to Hawaii for Maui Invitational

0

I

By Matt Kramer "We~p're verv scfronp _"PlockLi cs.ad"Tf

Daily Sports Writer

Some coaches love to downplay their
team before the season starts. They
seem to always call the upcoming year a
"rebuilding year" or say that their team
"has a lot of work to do" if it wants to
be successful.
But Bev Plocki doesn't need to do
that. The Michigan women's gymnas-
tics coach knows when she sees a solid
team early on, and she expects it to per-
form at a championship level. For Ploc-
ki, this is one of those teams.

YYG1G ~ l bull,,rimm~ b -, 11
we can stay healthy and keep the fire
burning then we could be good or better
than any other team we've ever had."
Coming off a 2001 season in which
it finished third at the NCAA Champi-
onships, behind perennial powers
UCLA and Georgia, Michigan opens its
season with the annual intrasquad meet
this Sunday at Cliff Keen Arena at 2
p.m. After that the Wolverines head to
Hawaii to participate in the Maui Invita-
tional on Jan. 4.
In recent years, the Wolverines have
opened up competition in the Super Six,

a televised meet with some of the
nation's strongest teams competing for
early bragging rights. This year, howev-
er, Plocki decided to take the team in
another direction and travel to Maui.
"This year, we aren't going to go out
and try to prove that we are No. 1 like
we do at the Super Sixes," Plocki said.
"So I decided to take a different
approach to the early season and go to
Hawaii."
The trip is a reward funded by alum-
nus Larry Johnson, who sponsored the
Leaders and Best Award for 2001,
which is given out to the athletic team at
Michigan with the highest grade point
average.
While academic problems may not
be a big concern for Plocki, health
issues are. Senior captain Janessa
Grieco will miss both the intrasquad
and the Maui Invitational while she
recovers from surgery on her shoulder.
In addition, senior Shannon MacKenzie
may be able to participate, but she is

recovering from surgery on her ankle.
Plocki has also decided to play it safe
and hold back two more Wolverines.
Senior Melissa Peterson and freshman
Chelsea Kroll, who Plocki says will
have a "big impact this year," will not
be competing.
But Plocki isn't worried because the
Wolverines still have the captain of the
2000 U.S. Olympic team Elise Ray, as
well as sophomore Calli Ryals.
"We have so many leaders on this
team," Plocki said. "And obviously the
reigning all-around champion Elise Ray
is one of them, but Ryals is also doing a
fantastic job early on as well."
The early injuries will give Plocki a
closer look at her other freshmen, Lau-
ren Mirkovich and Kallie Steffes.
"I'm expecting big things from
Mirkovich in the vaulting and uneven
bars," Plocki said. "And Kallie is going
to be a big vaulter for us. She could
really sneak in on the beam, bars and
floor exercise too."

L\

LESLIE WARD/Daily
Forward Jennifer Smith has been a driving force in Michigan's inside prowess.
lson's simp1e go-to
move difficult to, stop

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
Every world-class wrestler has "his"
move. This is a move that gets him to an
elite level and a move which he uses so
well, it is sometimes named after him.
Olympic Gold medalist John Smith had
his "Smith Single Leg" and Iowa
wrestling legend and two-time NCAA

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IS,-ave
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ater malinj
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champion Lincoln Mcllravy had his
"Lincoln McIlravy Boot Scoot."
Putting Michigan two-time All Amer-
ican 174-pounder Otto Olson on the list
along with Smith and Mcllravy may be
jumping the gun, but Olson definitely
does have "his" move - a move he
uses to great effect.
The "Inside Leg Trip" is a fairly sim-
ple takedown - simple but unstoppable.
Once the move is deep enough on the
opponent, the referee might as well give
Olson the two takedown points.
"It's definitely my favorte takedown
from neutral, and it's a really low-risk
move," said Olson, after he used the
move to score six of his 12 points
against Michigan State's Rashad Evans
last week.
.Olson and the rest of the fourth-
ranked Wolverines will take on No. 13
Lehigh on January 4. The big matches
of the evening should be at 184 pounds
and 197 pounds. At 184, No. 3 Andy
Hrovat will wrestle No. 12 Rob Rohn,
Lehigh's senior captain. At the 2000
NCAA Championships, Rohn met up
with Hrovat, and Rohn emerged the
winner, 6-5. Hrovat will no doubt be
looking for payback.
At 197 pounds, Michigan's Kyle
Smith will take on No. 3 Jon Trenge.
Trenge, a sophomore, was 34-3 last year
as a freshman but didn't compete at the
NCAA Championships due to a torn
retina. Trenge is one of the obstacles in
Smith's road to All-America status, so
this match should be a close and excit-
ina one.

9
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