10 --The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Hard work brings Oesterle back
After a knee injury, the senior is ready to help
By Allison Topp
Daily Sports Writer
When a teammate singles you out
based on performance, it is difficult
to try to live up to those expecta-
tions day in and day out.
This was the task presented to
senior forward Heather Oesterle
after her fellow teammate senior
Raina Goodlow claimed, "Heather
is the hardest worker on this team."
But Oesterle has no trouble back-
ing up the praise given by her team-
Oesterle is entering her senior
season for the Michigan women's
basketball team. She has put in the
time and earned her title as the.
workhorse of the team, and thanks
in part to those efforts, the Wolver-
ines are ranked higher in the pre-
season polls than they ever have
Last year, Oesterle tore her ante-
rior cruciate ligament toward the
end of the season. For many players
this is a career-ending injury that
requires surgery and painful reha-
bilitation. But this was only a hur-
dle, as Oesterle's work ethic helped
her clear this new challenge.
Heather went to rehab twice a
day, building up strength in her
knee by lifting and doing other
strength exercises. Her first day
back was the first practice of the
season. Before that, she had gone
out on the court and scrimmaged
lightly, but did not put her knee to
the test. A
"My knee was definitely sore
after the first game," Oesterle said.
"Right now I would say it's at 80
percent, but my strength is continu-
Osterle's knee will probably
remain sore for the next couple of
But how she played Friday night
in the team's only exhibition game
against RTU Klondaika is a tribute
to her toughness. Oesterle ran the
court for 27 minutes and had a
team-high six assists.
"I need to do whatever the team
needs," Oesterle said. "If we aren't
getting enough rebounds, I need to
women's hoops again
get in there and fight. If the ball
isn't getting to the right people,
then I have to pass."
Oesterle's unselfish play has
made her a natural leader on the
team. She shares captain duties
with point guard Alayne Ingram and
Goodlow. Oesterle is, admittedly,
not the most vocal person on the
team; she instead prefers to lead by
"Leading by example for me is
coming to practice everyday ready
to play and never giving up,"
Oesterle said. "You have to do the
little things that others overlook or
simply don't want to do."
Oesterle has made a career out of
doing the little things. Coach Sue
Guevara referred to her as a
garbage player - she does anything
that needs to be done.
"I would say Heather is the one
of the more versatile players on the
team," Guevara said. "She has the
ability to pass the ball or run the
point if Alayne becomes injured.
Nobody works harder on this team
By Daniel Bremmer
and Chris Burke
Daily Sports XWriters/
The Big Ten championship should
come down to a two-team race -
Michigan versus the winner of the
Ohio State-Illinois game. In addition,
teams will end up
in the bowl pic-
The Big Ten
Blue needs two more victories
to keep postseason dream alive
By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
After making the NCAA Tournament in three out of
the last four years, the Michigan volleyball team (8-8
Big Ten, 12-11 overall) is in danger of failing to earn a
berth this season. -
But there is one bright spot for the
Wolverines - they control their own
destiny. If they win at least three of STATE COLLEG
their last four games, they qualify an (12-11)
for the tournament., Michigan needs and o 9 o
two to even be considered for selec- When:7:30 p.m. Friday,;
tion to the Tournament.t
Teams across America will wait to
hear their names called during the
selection show, but most of the teams
Latest; micniganIneedsto w
its next four games, and pr
four to have any shot at theI
the time, because they were playing well," Rosen said.
"But things have changed since then."
When the Wolverines played the Wildcats, Michigan
fell in five games. Since beating Michigan and Michigan
State in the same weekend, the Wildcats have been dis-
mal, defeating only Indiana and Big Ten cellar-dweller
The Wolverines have also played
! spoiler against a few Big Ten teams
,COLUMBUS this season - wins over Michigan
State, Minnesota and most recently
No. 14 Penn State Penn State should earn the Wolverines
p.m. Saturday respect in the eyes of the selection
win at least two out of committee.
obably three of its last The Wolverines' have a good chance
NCAA Tournament. for significant victories this weekend,
when they travel to face No. 14 Penn
State and No. 9 Ohio State. Michigan swept the Nittany
Lions at home on Oct. 20, after having their perfect
home record snapped by the Buckeyes the previous
"We have to win two of the last four to even be con-
sidered, and at least one would be a significant win,"
The Wolverines will not settle for just two wins in the
last four. They know that with three victories, they can
pack their bags and kneepads and begin preparing for
"We win three of the final four (games) and it is a
done deal," Rosen said.
No. 12 ILLINOIS (5-1 BIG TEN, 8-1
OVERALL) AT OHIO STATE (4-2, 6-3),
NooN, ESPN: In a game that has
huge conference championship
implications, the 12th-ranked Fight-
ing Illini travel to Columbus to take
on the Buckeyes. Ohio State still con-
trols its own destiny in the Big Ten,
and could take the conference cham-
pionship with wins over Illinois and
The Illini also have a chance at
winning the Big Ten, but they need
help. Currently, they would lose the
first-place tiebreaker to Michigan
because of a 45-20 loss on Sept. 29.
But with an Illinois victory Saturday
and a Michigan loss, the Illini would
take the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes are coming off a
momentum-building 35-9 win over
Purdue last Saturday, where quarter-
back Steve Bellisari played his best
game of the year. The Buckeyes'
defense was also strong, intercepting
three passes and forcing two safeties.
Unlike Bellisari, Illinois' quarter-
back Kurt Kittner has been among
the top passers in the nation this sea-
son and leads the Big Ten in passing.
The Fighting Illini come into Colum-
bus having won five of their last
seven games at The Horseshoe, but
look for that trend to come to an end.
Bellisari will come out firing as he
did last week and lead the Buckeyes
to victory, setting up a matchup with
Michigan for the Big Ten title.
Ohio State 35, Illinois 24
INDIANA (3-3, 3-5) AT PENN STATE
(2-4, 3-5), NOON: In a game that fea-
tures two 3-5 teams, the losing team
will beeliminated from bowl con-
tention. Indiana has won two games
in a row for the first time all season,
with an impressive 56-21 romp over
Northwestern and a 37-28 victory
over thenno. 23 Michigan State.
Penn State. is the hotter of the two
teams, however. The Nittany Lions
have won three of their last four, with
their only loss coming to No. 12 Illi-
nois last week on an Illini score with
less than two minutes to go.
The quarterback situation at Penn
State is like night and day. Sopho-
more Zack Mills has been playing
well, completing 23 of 33 passes for
277 yards and two touchdowns
against Southern Mississippi two
On the other hand, backup Matt
Senneca was 6-for-23 for 52 yards in
Mills' relief on Saturday, throwing
three interceptions in the process.
Still riding the high from coach Joe
Paterno's breaking of Bear Bryant's
record, Penn State should pull off the
victory at home.
Penn State 27, Indiana 24
MICHIGAN STATE (3-3, 5-3) AT PuR-
DUE (3-3, 5-3), NoON, ESPN2: Pur-
due has been struggling as of late,
after jumping out to a 4-0 start to the
season. Since then, the Boilermakers
are 1-3. In its five wins, Purdue is
averaging over 28 points per game
compared to just over 10 in their
Despite its loss to Indiana last Sat-
urday, Michigan State has been play-
ing well lately. Its offense has been
led by running back T.J. Duckett, who
is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this
season. Duckett rushed for 97 yards
and a touchdown on 16 carries
against Indiana and 212 yards and a
touchdown on 27 carries against
The Michigan State defense should
be able to hold off the Boilermakers'
struggling offense, and look for
Duckett to continue his recent suc-
cess on the ground.
Michigan State 28, Purdue 14
MINNESOTA (1-5, 3-6) AT IOWA (3-
4, 5-4), 1 P.M.: For the second
straight week, Minnesota will have to
face an offense that will feature two
very different quarterbacks.
After Michigan surprised the
Golden Gophers by playing Jermaine
Gonzales at the quarterback position
as a change of pace from John
Navarre, the Hawkeyes will attempt
to do the same with starter Kyle
McCann and backup Brad Banks.
With a win, Iowa would become
bowl eligible for the first time since
1997. The Hawkeyes put themselves
in position for postseason play last
week when they trounced Northwest-
ern 59-16 on the road.
Minnesota will attempt to counter
Iowa's attack with running back Tellis
Redmon and wide receiver Ron John-
son, but it's unlikely that the Golden
Gophers will be able to do much in
Iowa 41, Minnesota 17
Quarterback Kurt Kittner and the Fighting Illini are looking to storm into
Columbus and knock the Buckeyes out of contention for the Big Ten title.
already know if they have met the requirements to be in
"In general, I think the things (the selection commit-
tee) looks at are significant wins and significant losses,"
coach Mark Rosen said. "You have to maximize your
significant wins and minimize your significant losses."
Michigan's up-and-down season has been highlighted
by both significant wins and significant losses. The
Wolverines have knocked off top-25 teams in Minnesota
and Penn State, but Michigan has also lost some matches
it should have won, such as those against Iowa and
"The match at Northwestern didn't look very big at
Belli-sorry no longer
After two inconsistent seasons as Ohio State's quarterback, it appeared Steve Bellisari
was finally going to be benched after a 20-17 loss to Wisconsin. Bellisari was only 10-21
for 132 yards, with one interception and the Buckeye fans heckled him throughout. But
coach Jim Tressel stuck with Bellisari, and now the quarterback is leading the team to a
possible BCS bid.
(wins in bold)
'V t:: ~ifl 41
15-24 for 246 yards, l TD, 0 INT
5-23 for 45 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT '
15-21 for 194 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
4-10 for 109 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
10-21 for 132 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
15-28 for 198 yards, 0 TD, 1INT
8-21 for 209 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
12-17 for 203 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
14-20 for 263 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Ohio State 28, Akron 14
UCLA 13, Ohio State 6
Ohio State 27, Indiana 14
Ohio State 38, Northwestern 20
Wisconsin 20, Ohio State 17
Ohio State 27, San Diego State 12
Penn State 29, Ohio State 27
Ohio State 31, Minnesota 28
Ohio State 35, Purdue 9
Brady still starter over Bledsoe
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Former Michigan quarterback will
BOSTON (AP) - Drew Bledsoe's doctors have
cleared him to return to the field. Now all he needs is
permission from his coach.
"I'm itching to get back in," Bledsoe said yesterday
at a news conference with his doctors. "I'm going to
do everything in my power to be on the field on Sun-
day. Ultimately, that's not my decision. But I can't
Bledsoe was injured on Sept. 23 by a crushing - but
legal - hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. The New Eng-
land Patriots quarterback returned for another series,
but was taken out again after teammates told the coach-
es he looked woozy.
Since then, backup Tom Brady has led the team from
an 0-2 record to 5-4. Coach Bill Belichick has said he
would start whoever looked better in practice, and so far
"We expect Tom to start against St. Louis," Belichick
said Monday. "I think if we had lost the last seven
gam1es, that probably would look a little different than
winning five of the last seven. But until I see it, I just
continue to lead New England
don't know. I'm going to play the guy who gives us the
best chance to win every week."
But Bledsoe said he would do his best to change the
"From the time I was a rookie, I've been a starter on
this team, and I anticipate being a starter again. That
being said, I have to go prove it again," Bledsoe said. "I
have great confidence in my ability to play this game,
and J intend to make it hard for Brady to stay on the
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, speaking
for the first time since the injury, disputed previous
reports that Bledsoe had a concussion and a collapsed
Treating physician David Berger said Bledsoe arrived
by ambulance the night of the Jets game with his left
side of his chest filled with blood. Doctors inserted a
chest tube that allowed them to give Bledsoe back his
The turning point in Bledsoe's treatment was when
the blood vessel healed on its own within a few days,
making season-ending surgery unnecessary. Berger said
that Bledsoe stayed informed on all treatment, and did
not pressure doctors one way or the other regarding sur-
"I think he understood the gravity of his injury,"
In fact, doctors said Bledsoe probably was healed two
weeks ago, but because he was still weakened they
decided to wait to OK his return.
"We feel a lot more confident about him coming back
now," Berger said, noting that five specialists were con-
sulted on the case. "It's the opinion of all of them that
the injuryhas healed."
Berger also said because of the scar tissue that will
keen the blood vessel in place against the ribs, Bledsoe
;, Y ., :