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November 16, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

michigadai'ygc/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

M' season
starting with
high hopes
By Chris Buke
Daily Sports Writer

'M' faces Wisconsin in critical Big Ten tilt

When last year's women's basketball
season started, there were high expecta-
tions for Michigan, coming off of a 22-
11 season in 1999-2000. It took just one
game for the Wolverines' to gain some
momentum to go along with those
expectations.
In the opening game of the year, the
Wolverines pounced on a major upset
opportunity and knocked off then-No. 8
Louisiana Tech, 69-66 at Crisler Arena.
It was Michigan's first win over a top-
10 team and it sparked a season that
concluded with a 19-12 record and its
first victory in an NCAA Tournament
since 1990.
Now jump ahead to 200 1-02. The
expectations from the beginning of last
year pale in comparison to the hopes the
Wolverines are expected to meet this
year. For the first time in its history,
Michigan is ranked in the preseason Top
25 -- No. 17 in the AP
poll. M
Seven experienced play- RUSTc
ers return to don the Who: No. 17
Michigan uniform and an vs. No. 6 Lou
impressive four-member (0.0)
recruiting class will give when: 7 p.m
the Wolverines talent that latest: The W
coach Sue Guevara has look to upset1
dreamed of having since Techsters fort
being named coach in straight seas
1996. 66 victory Ia
And as this season begins, a familiar
foe awaits the Wolverines. Tonight,
Michigan will be in Ruston, La. to once
against battle with No. 6 Louisiana
Tech.
"We literally have to get this team
redy.to - I'm dead serious - go to
-war because we're going to be in a very
hostile environment against some big
aggressive post players," Guevara said.
In the preseason, Guevara has
stressed the importance of her inside
players being as big of a factor as
possible.

B
'ON
Mi
isi
.
Wol
th
th
on
ist y

BRANDON SEDLOFF/Daily
Heather Oesterle (30) and the Wolverines
begin their season tonight.
Centers LeeAnn Bies and Jennifer
Smith combine with forward Raina
Goodlow and freshmen Katrina Mason
and Brianne McPhilamy to give Michi-
gan one of the most intimidating front-
courts in the Big Ten.
But Louisiana Tech also prides itself
on playing well in the paint. The Lady
Techsters return all five
starters from last year's
s, LA. 31-5 team, and in last
chigan(0-0) year's game, the two
ana Tech teams tied with 40
rebounds apiece.
"I think it'll be a real
verines will good evaluation of where
e Lady we are," Guevara said. "I
e second think our post players are
after a 69- pretty tough but I think
year they're really going to be
challenged."
The Wolverines will conclude the
weekend by traveling to Detroit on Sun-
day afternoon. But for now, Michigan's
attention is on Louisiana Tech.
"I don't even know anything about
Detroit yetThe focus is on Louisiana
Tech," Guevara said. "I want to see how
we react under pressure - under the
stress of being in another environment
with a hostile crowd against a pretty
good basketball team - because that's
exactly what happens in the NCAA
Tournament."

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Editor
Things never get easy in the Big Ten; nothing is
predictable.
Michigan (5-1 Big Ten, 7-2 overall) has seen the
truth of this notion countless times since the begin-
ning of the season. Who could have expected that
John Navarre would perform as one of the Big Ten's
top passers for the first few weeks? And once he
showed his potential, who could have expected him
to fall back to earth recently?
Who could have thought that Michigan State's T.J.
Duckett would run for 212 yards against the best
rush defense in the nation?
Wisconsin (3-3, 5-5) is a perfect example of the
notion that unexpected does not mean impossible.
The Badgers boast the Big Ten's second best run-
ning back in freshman Anthony Davis and the con-
ference's best wide receiver in junior Iee Evans --
who is averaging nearly 30 more yards per game
than his nearest competitor, Michigan's Marquise
Walker.
But the Badgers are still putting up just 26.5
points per game, while they allow 28.4.
"Statistically, it is not a great defense," said,
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. "However, when I
looked at the film last night and this morning I see a
team that is well coached, disciplined and plays
hard."
No doubt, this has been a disappointing season for
Wisconsin. But that doesn't make the game any eas-
ier for Michigan - the Badgers may be surprising
people with their poor record to date, but they can
just as easily surprise Michigan with an upset victo-
ry.
The Badgers' weak defense still has weapons, the
most prominent of which is lineman Wendell
Bryant. Michigan State's defense is injury-depleted
and weak this year, but it had no trouble stopping
Michigan's offense. Wisconsin can do the same.
"Wendell Bryant is a threat on the defensive line
because he plays the one-technique, defensive tackle
and defensive end at different times in the game,"
said Michigan offensive lineman Tony Pape. "We
need to keep an eye out for him and you have to be
ready to perform at your highest level when you are
lined up across from an All-American."
If Ohio State beats Illinois tomorrow and Michi-
gan wins, the Wolverines will clinch at least a share
of the Big Ten title. If such a situation should arise,
then next week's rivalry matchup with Ohio State
would be for the Big Ten's BCS bowl berth. Should
Illinois win out, Michigan will get a share of the
title and the BCS trip if it wins its last two games, as
well.

DAiVID KATZI/Daily
Victor Hobson's eyes - and those of the entire Michigan team - are focused on the Big Ten championship it
can secure this weekend with a win and an Illinois loss.

- -----

Wolverines, Badgers make for an even match

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By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports Writer
With two games left in the season,
Michigan can see the light at the end of
the tunnel.
If the Wolverines (5-1 Big Ten, 7-2
overall) can win their final two games,
they will claim the Big Ten champi-
onship. But Michigan has a few big
roadblocks standing in its way, starting
with tomorrow's game at Wisconsin.
For the last four years, Wisconsin (3-
3, 5-3) has been one of the elite teams
in the Big Ten, winning a pair of confer-
ence titles.
But the Badgers still have many
detractors who all point to one thing -
Wisconsin has lost four straight games
to Michigan and hasn't looked especial-
ly good in any of those losses.
MICHIGAN RUSH OFFENSE VS. WIScON-

SIN RUSH DEFENSE: Heading into last
week's "Little Brown Jug" game against
Minnesota, there were a lot of questions
about Michigan's "iffy" running game.
The Wolverines responded by piling up
300 yards on the ground.
Tomorrow's contest presents another
opportunity for Michigan to post
impressive rushing totals, because Wis-
consin's run defense has been porous.
Despite the presence of All-America
defensive tackle Wendell Bryant, the
Badgers have surrendered 172 rushing
yards per game.
Edge: Michigan
MICHIGAN PASS OFFENSE VS. WISCON-
SIN PASS DEFENSE: It seems like Mike
Echols has been around forever, doesn't

i

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