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February 22, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-22

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FEBRUARY 22, 2002

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mw I

Cagers' road woes:
When will they end?

Late mistakes trip up
Wildcats' upset hopes

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
A quick multiple-choice question for.
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker: Why
have the Wolverines faired so poorly on
the road?
Is it due to: A) A lack of confidence;

how Iowa lost seven of its final eight
games to close last season before run-
ning the table at the Big Ten Tourna-
ment and earning a NCAA Tournament
"It shows you how fragile things can
really be and shows you that it doesn't
take long for it to ignite and rise to the

B) inexperience; C)
lack of toughness in
critical moments or
D) bad breaks?
"I think we've
been able to sub-
scribe to all of the
above for our team
in regards to (our
road woes)," said
Amaker, whose
team is 1-8 on the
road this season and
has won away fromt

Who: Michigan (5-8 Big Ten, 10-14 overall)
vs. Iowa (4-10, 15-13), Wisconsin (10.5,
17-11) and Ohio State (9-4, 18-6)
When: 7 p.m. tomorrow, 7 p.m. Wednesday
and 8 p.m. Saturday
Latest: Iowa has been one of the Big Ten's
biggest disappointments this year.

top or sink to the
bottom," Amaker
said. "You're dealing
with a bunch of egos
and issues. "
Amaker has sent
the same message as
Alford, benching
LaVell Blanchard
and Bernard Robin-
son for lack of con-
sistency and effort in

Crisler Arena just

three times in the past 398 days.
Luckily for Amaker, tomorrow his
Wolverines will face a team on the road
with many of the same problems -
maybe even more.
Iowa (4-10 Big Ten, 15-13 overall), a
preseason pick to win the conference,
has nearly hit rock bottom. Coach
Steve Alford has admitted that he lost
his team, and the Hawkeyes have
responded by losing their last five
games. Alford has benched star players
Luke Recker and Reggie Evans for rea-
sons such as missing class, not produc-
ing on the floor, not showing proper
leadership and complaining about
pregame meals.
Suddenly the optimism of a 12-3
start and Final Four aspirations have
turned into turmoil and a team that is
clinging to a possible NIT bid.
Afniaker is quick to remind people

But the biggest similarity between
the two teams, other than a failure to
live up to preseason expectations, is the
fact that Iowa is 0-8 on the road in the
Big Ten this season.
In fairness, playing on the road in the
Big Ten has been a nightmare all sea-
son. Conference teams were 5-34 on
the road from Jan. 14 to Feb. 11.
But Alford chalks up his Hawkeyes'
road problems to not having the tough-
ness in key situations and not being
able to buckle down and stop big runs
by opponents. Alford says that his
Hawkeyes are a "great practice team,"
but can't transfer the same intensity to
Sound familiar? It should, as the
Wolverines have faced the same prob-
lem. "Energetic" and "spirited" work-
outs haven't necessarily been visible on
"A lot of it is mental," Michigan

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - Susana Jara may
not score often, but her only lay-up last
night could not have come at a better
Jara, who 4 MICHIGAN 63
has scored
just six NORTWESTERN 59
points during
the entire Big Ten season, drove the
lane and scored with 1:26 remaining to
put Michigan up by three. This gave the
Wolverines just enough to escape from
Welsh-Ryan Arena with a 63-59 victo-
ry over Northwestern.
"I'm just happy to get out of here
with a win' Michigan coach Sue Gue-
vara said.
The Wildcats fought their way back
into the contest after the Wolverines led
by as many as 11 points late in the first
Coming out of halftime down by
nine, the Wildcats (0-15 Big Ten, 4-22
overall) went on a 10-2 run at the
beginning of the second stanza to give
them hope of finally pulling out that
elusive conference win.
Thanks to some poor Michigan
shooting, Northwestern took the lead
and extended it to as many as five
points before Stephanie Gandy, who
scored 17 points, hit big shots on back-
to-back possessions to give the lead
back to Michigan (6-9, 16-10). The two
teams then traded baskets before the
Jara layup put Michigan up by three
with just under two minutes to go.
On Northwestern's next possession
LeeAnn Bies blocked a big shot that
seemed to put the game out of reach.
But the ball fell right into the hands of

the Wildcats' towering 6-foot-5 fresh-
man center Sarah Kwasinski, which left
Gandy with no choice but to foulr
Kwasinski and put her on the line.
Kwasinski made just 1-of-2 free
throws to trim Michigan's lead to two.
But she followed that up with a block,
giving the Wildcats the ball with 23
seconds to go, down by two.
But with time running out, another
Northwestern freshman, Melissa Cul-
ver, was called for traveling after she
slipped and fell in the corner.
Alayne Ingram then buried two free
throws to kill Northwestern's upset
Gandy 40 8-19 1-2 3-8 2 1 17
Smith 35 4-10 1-2 2-7 0 2 9
Bies 35 7-13 1-2 6-9 5 4 15
Jara 26 1-1 0-0 2-4 2 2 2
Ingram 40 6-16 4-4 0-1 4 1 18
Pool 16 1-5 0-0 0-2 0 0 2
Oesterle 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 2 0
Mason 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 27465 70 16.36 15 12 63
FG%: .415. FT%: .700 3$polnt FG: 2-14_ 143 (Ingram 2-7,
Gandy 0-3, Pool 0-2, Bies 0-1, Oesterle 0-1). Blocks: 2
(2ies, Pool). Steals: 13 (Gandy 3, Bies 3, Ingram 3, Smith
2, Jars 2). Turnovers: 13 (Jars 3, Ingram 3, Oesterle 2,
Bies 2, Gandy, Smith, Pool)). Technical fouls: none.
Northwestern (59)
Russell 13 0-4 0-0 2-2 0 0 0
Dolland 20 4-4 2-3 3- 0 2 10
Kwasinski 36 6-14 1-2 2-7 3 4 13
Culver 31 4-11 0-0 0-2 6 3 9
Will 38 4-6 2-3 3.8 3 2 11
McComb 21 1-5 0-0 0-1 0 1 3
Walker 17 3.8 2-2 0-2 1 0 10
Morrison 24 1-4 1-2 1-1 0 1 3
Totals 200 22-54 9-147-28 12 18 60
FG%: .411. FT%: .667. 3-poInrt FG: 5-16,.313
(Walker 2-5, Will 1-1, Mccomb 1-4, Culver 1-5). Blocks: 3
(Kwasinski 2, Will). Steals: 6 (Walker 2, McComb, Will,
Culver, Dolland). Turnovers: 22 (Culver 7, Walker 4,
Kwasinski 4, Dolland 3, Will 2, Morrison 2). Technical
fouls: none.
Michigan.....................35 28 - 63
Northwestern...............26 33 - 59
At: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston
Attendance: 855

Bernard Robinson and the rest of the Michigan guards not only need to create, but
also must hit their perimeter shots for the Wolverines to amend their road problems.

assistant coach Chuck Swenson said.
"When you're coming off a losing sea-
son, guys are hoping that they can win.
But they're not always sure that they
can win and get it done in tight games."
Michigan should have some confi-
dence against Iowa as the Wolverines
beat the Hawkeyes twice last season,
including a 70-69 win in Iowa City.
But the Wolverines don't have much
time to cure their road woes, and their
performance away from home will
determine whether they improve on last
season's dismal 10-18 record. After

Iowa, Michigan travels to Wisconsin on
Wednesday before returning home for
its Big Ten finale next Saturday against
first-place Ohio State.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines are just
as clueless as the Hawkeyes are about
finding an instant road fix.
"I don't know what to say," said sen-
ior tri-captain Chris Young, who has a
career 7-33 road record in his four
years as a Wolverine. "I don't know if it
could be something as simple as how
we travel or what we eat. I really don't
know what could make it better."

Senior icers
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan hockey team honors its depart-
ing players every year on senior night, which is
usually on the last home game of the year. But
for this year's class of Josh Blackburn, Kevin
O'Malley, Craig Murray and Jay Vancik, the
significance of the event never set in until now.
The four seniors will take part in the festivi-
ties following the conclusion of Michigan's two-
game series against Ohio State this weekend.
"For the past three years we've watched
Senior Night and pretty much counted our lucky
stars that it wasn't us that had to move on,"
O'Malley said. "It's tough to think of having to
leave this great lifestyle that we have of hockey
and school and go in to the real world."
In its three years with the Maize and Blue, this
current crop of seniors captured a CCHA playoff
title in 1999, a CCHA regular season title in 2000
and a Frozen Four appearance last year.
But, there's one goal that has eluded them.
"You're never going to be remembered as a

hoping to bo
Said Vancik on the hopes for the rest of the
year: "(We want to win) another regular season
championship, a playoff championship and an
NCAA championship - that's the goal for our
class and for'every guy on this team."
Blackburn has been a starter in goal since he
arrived as a freshman, posting 82 wins. But the
rest of the class has been relatively unheralded.
O'Malley, the backup goaltender, has had limit-
ed playing time - currently holding a 9-5-0
career record.
Meanwhile, Vancik was benched for the sec-
ond half of his freshman year, but has since bat-
tled his way up the ladder to become Michigan's
most reliable defenseman this year. Murray, too,
missed a large number of games early in his
career due to injuries, but he has also become a
steady fixture in Michigan's lineup.
"It's been a good class," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "They took some hits with
(Mike) Comrie and (Jeff) Jillson leaving (early
for the NHL), but they've persevered."
There's little doubt that this will be an emo-
tional weekend for No. 9 Michigan and its sen-
iors, but it is also a significant weekend in the
overall scheme of things. Tied with Michigan

w out on top.

Who: Michigan (15.5- CCHA, 189-5 overall) vs. Ohio
State (11-9-4, 16-12-4), vs. Western Michigan (11-10-3,
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight, 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, 7:30 p.m. on
March 1 and 7:30 p.m. on March 2 at Western Michigan.
Latest: The Wolverines can clinch at least a second place
finish in the CCHA standings with a sweep of Ohio State.
State for first in the CCHA and ranked 10th in
the Pairwise Rankings, the Wolverines need two
victories over a pesky Ohio State team to assure
a top two finish in the conference.
Ohio State sits in sixth place in the CCHA, one
point ahead of Western Michigan - the top six
teams host first round playoff series. The Buck-
eyes had been winless in their last seven games
(0-5-2) before sweeping Ferris State.
"They've been a team that's all over the map,"
Berenson said. I think they're a lot better than
their record - they're a deceiving team."
Said Murray: "We know if we falter that one
game could cost us the title. With four games left,
we just need everyone to put it all on the line."

After struggling in a loss to Michigan State last weekend, Josh Blackburn will look to rediscover the
form that has won him 85 career games as the Wolverines host Ohio State this weekend.

class until you get a
O'Malley said.

national championship,"

Gymnasts host formidable Utes

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer

After a season full of bumps, bruises
and head colds, the No. 5 Michigan
women's gymnastics team may finally
resemble a completely healthy team.
Tonight, barring any other misfor-
tunes, the Wolverines will test their
strongest and healthiest lineup of the
season against the No. 2 Utah Utes.
"This is as good as it gets for right
now," Michigan head coach Bev Plocki
said. "(Wednesday) was the first day that
people seemed to be back to their old

selves again."
Michiganplanned on getting one of
its first looks at a consistent lineup in
last weekend's away meet in West Vir-
ginia, but a number of the gymnasts
reported feeling under the weather,
including sophomore Calli Ryals.
Ryals' head cold contributed to her
38.675 in the all-around competition,
her worst score since the season opener
in Maui.
The "bug" that affected the gymnasts
produced a sluggish team that could
only mustered a 196.10, barely manag-

ing a victory over the unranked Moun-
taineers' 195.975.
"I hope (the team) realized that even
the very best teams can have mediocre
meets if they're not totally focused and
committed to what they're doing at that
very moment," Plocki said.
The weekend did produce some posi-
tive signs for the Wolverines. Sopho-
more Elise Ray seemed back to full
speed after recovering from a bruised
heel, as she won her second consecutive
all-around competition with a score of
Ray is currently ranked No. 11 in the
nation in the all-around competition
despite the few scores she has posted.
Her best event is the uneven bars, where
she is ranked fourth in the nation, carry-
ing a 9.903 average.
The meet also saw the emergence of
freshman Chelsea Kroll, who won her
only event, the vault, after posting a 9.95
in her second collegiate appearance.
"I was surprised because it was only
my second time out," Kroll said. "I
knew I could do the vault. I had a lot of
confidence even though I've only been

Who: Michigan (11-2) vs. Utah (5-1), at
UCLA Invitational
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. on March 3
Latest: Elise Ray is back to full speed in time
for two of the best teams in the country.
training for about a month."
Kroll was just one more Wolverine
who had been hampered by injury. A
stress fracture to the navicular bone on
the top of her foot kept her from com-
peting until Feb. 10 against Georgia. She
will have an immediate impact on the
team, giving Michigan one more
weapon as it heads into its final four
meets of the season.
"We have really strong lineups this
weekend, the strongest that they've
been," senior co-captain Jodie Rosen-
berg said. "I think it should be a glimpse
of what's to come in our postseason."
The Wolverines will need all that
strength against the Utes. Utah's top
score on the season of 197.475 is three-
tenths higher than Michigan's. Their top
gymnast, Theresa Kulikowski, is the
nation's No. 1 all-around gymnast and
cannot be counted on to make mistakes.
Her average scores on the vault and bal-
ance beam also place her first in the
country in those events.

Blue struggling to
stay afloat at Big Tens.

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer

Washington Street's New Entertainment ristrict
Foam Dances PARTY 'TiL
&h t b iA~l 4:00AM

After two difficult runs in the 400-
yard medley relay and the 50-yard
freestyle, the Michigan women's
swimming and diving team currently
sits in fourth place, 85 points behind
first-place Penn State in the Big Ten
"The 400 medley relay wasn't our
best effort I felt, because we're better.
than (fourth-place in that event),"
Michigan coach Jim Richardson said.
"We're having some very good swims.
More than a couple of people had life-
time-best swims (last night), but that
relay was a relay we needed to swim
well in, and we didn't."
In the 50-yard freestyle, Laura Kaz-
necki had her best preliminary run
ever with a time of 23.24 yesterday,

but in last night's finals she found her-
self underwater a little too long on the
start and fell behind the other seven
"She just got stuck underwater on
the breakout," Richardson said. "She
stayed under two strokes too long, and
in a race that short there is no margin
for error."
Though Michigan isn't near the top
of the leaderboard, there is a tight race
for the top three places between Penn
State, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Indiana had its first taste of the lead
last night after it placed four divers in
the top eight of the 1-meter event,
including first-place finisher Sara
Reiling. Penn State reclaimed the top
spot after winning the 400-yard med-
ley relay in the final event of the night.
For the second straight night,
though, Wisconsin provided the most
dominating performance. Wednesday
it easily won the 800-yard freestyle
relay with a NCAA qualifying time of
7:14.6. Last night, freshman Carly
Piper continued the Badgers' success
in the distance events with a meet
record and NCAA qualifying time of
d-d~2 Al inth SAfree..

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