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April 01, 2002 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-01

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 1, 2002 - 3B

Flawless Huskies hold off
Oklahoma for national title


SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Not even an imperfect
game could keep Connecticut from a perfect season.
Surviving an uncharacteristic rash of turnovers and
poor outside shooting with strong inside play, the
Huskies beat Oklahoma 82-70 last night for their
third national championship.
The frontcourt trio of Swin Cash, Asjha Jones and
Tamika Williams led the Huskies (39-0) to an over-
whelming rebounding advantage - and on this night,
they sure needed it.
Connecticut won by big margins all season by
wearing down opponents. Oklahoma (32-4) refused
to let that happen.
"This was without question the most difficult game
we have had to play," Connecticut coach Geno
Auriemma said. "Oklahoma was unbelievably good.
They were unbelievably good."
Trailing by 16 early in the second half, Oklahoma
got to within six with a little more, than two minutes
left. Things like that did not happen to the Huskies
this season, but they responded as if it were an every-
day occurrence.
Diana Taurasi converted a key three-point play and
player of the year Sue Bird wrapped it up with six
straight free throws. With 18 seconds left, Bird was
able to dribble out the clock and the Huskies had their
"My team did a great job tonight," Bird said.
"That's why we're the greatest - well, not the great-
est, but one of the greatest."
Connecticut committed 21 turnovers, two short of
its season high, and was 0-for-9 on 3-point shots. All
that did was force the Huskies to find another way to
win it, and they did by overpowering the Sooners
inside as 29,619 watched in the Alamodome.
Cash was the strongest presence with 20 points and
13 rebounds. Jones had 19 points, nine rebounds and
five blocks. Williams finished with 12 points and

nine rebounds.
Cash was selected the outstanding player in the
Final Four.
Oh, and don't forget the guards. Bird had 14 points
and four assists and made all eight of her free throws.
Taurasi added 13 points and got the honor of heaving
the ball into the stands when it was over.
Oklahoma showed its resiliency by making it a
game after a poor start. All-American Stacey Dales
led the Sooners with 18 points. Rosalind Ross scored
17 and LaNeishea Caufield had 14.
But the Sooners could not overcome their 39 per-
cent shooting and Connecticut's 44-25 rebounding
"Everybody has been saying this is a great team,
but what are they going to do when they got in a close
game?" Auriemma said. "Well, we got in a close
game and these kids came through unbelievably."
Connecticut asserted itself inside early, getting
eight of its first nine baskets on putbacks or layups.
The Huskies shot 60 percent in the first half and
ended the period with an 8-0 run to lead 42-30.
The Huskies kept it up early in the second half and
the lead grew to 54-38 when Taurasi scored less than
six minutes into the half. A blowout looked imminent,
but Oklahoma did not let it happen.
Dales and Ross each hit a 3-pointer, and the Soon-
ers started to battle their way back.
Jamie Talbert's rebound basket cut the lead to 66-
57 and it was 71-63 after Caton Hill's 3-pointer. And
the Sooners kept coming, twice getting to within six,
the last time on Dales' layup with 2:15 to play.
That was as close as it would get.
Taurasi muscled in a shot while drawing the fifth
foul on Dales and sank the free throw to make it 76-
67. Then Connecticut made sure that Bird handled the
ball the rest of the way, Oklahoma had to foul her and,
demonstrating the poise she had shown all season,

J takes the 'rounds,'
ends up where he started

The Huskies were a Jubilant bunch after completing a
39-0 season with an 82-70 victory over Oklahoma.
scored the Huskies' final six points with her free
As Bird dribbled out the clock, she and Taurasi
slapped hands at midcourt. Like Red Auerbach light-
ing his victory cigar, this was their way of saying this
one was over.
"We realized this was our last game," said Bird, one
of the Huskies' four senior starters. "We wanted this
very badly."
Connecticut became the fourth team to go unde-
feated since women's basketball came under the
NCAA in 1981 and was the first school to do it twice.

No. 3 Wake Forest
too much for 'M'

You can't run from whom you
are. Our destiny chooses us.
That was the last piece of
advice my friend needed before he
started betting on the NCAA Tour-
We'll call him "J.P."
J. P. watched the movie
"Rounders" a couple of times,
played a couple of midnight games
of poker, and decided he would
finally put his knowledge of sports
and gambling to use - he'd start
gambling on sports. Specifically, the
NCAA Tournament.
After all, pools are exciting, but
only for the first weekend that
you're mathematically in it. Gam-
blers need constant
excitement. The con- Maybe he los
stant buzz of win- because he sto
ning or losing close researchinggai
games. Put $50 on betting on silly
Duke in the first showed up. JaI
half, $80 on the radio, Oklahon
under in the Mary- the national tilh
land game, $109 on
UCLA ... before he knew it, J. P.
had quadrupled his bank role, going
13-2 in the first weekend of the
But more than just winning
money, watching the games became
non-stop excitement for the entire
length of the game. Indiana's nine-
point win over North Carolina-
Wilmington was a thriller,
considering the Hoosiers were an
eight-point favorite.
And it appeared that J. P.'s hot
streak was going to last through the
Sweet Sixteen - he took Duke in
the first half minus-8 against Indi-
ana, only to then double down his
winnings on the second half under, a
bet he won by one Jason Williams
free throw.
Yup, the rat took the cheese.
But the ides of March soon caught
up with him, as it does with most
gamblers - and it did so without
even reading him his rights.
Before he knew it, J. P. couldn't
pick one game right. Maybe he lost
his money because he started betting
on the NBA and the NIT. Maybe he
lost his money because he stopped
thoroughly researching games and
started betting on silly signs that
showed up; Ja Rule's on the radio,
Oklahoma's bound to win the
national title - it's a sign.
Or maybe that's just the nature of


betting on a lot of games, sooner or
later you're going to miss a few. But
whatever the reason, J. P. soon lost.
Very few gamblers are disciplined
enough to bet a little amount of
money on a tough game to pick
when they've already made a lot of
money. Considering J. P. had already
made $500, why not bet $44 on Ken-
tucky to beat Maryland. It pays 2-1,
and it will make the game fun to
watch. It didn't take too many $44
losses to dissolve the bankroll he'd
built. Typically, a gambler has to pay
10 percent extra to the bookie just to
place the bet.
Soon the House was up. J. P. had
forgotten that the House always
wins, except when
his money that perfect bet
ped thoroughly comes along. That's
ies and started when, and only
igns that when, you take the
ule's on the House. J. P.
's bound to win believed he was
- It's a sign. always going to
take the House.
Soon, he'd lost money. Desperate
to get back the money he'd lost, he
continued to place more and more
bets, losing more and more money.
Finally, he bet all the money he had
left on Maryland minus=4.5 in the
first half against Connecticut. The
first half was back-and-forth, and
when the Huskies had the lead with
less than three minutes left in the
half, his chances of winning looked
slim. But a Maryland rally left the
Terrapins up four with seconds left
on the clock.
"What are these fools doing?!?" J.
P. screamed at the TV
But they knew what they were
doing. They were setting up a play
for their backup center Tahj Holden
to shoot a 40-foot 3-pointer at the
buzzer - all net.
Rather than leave, J. P. bet again
on the second half over.
As Mike McDermott says, "You
can't lose what you don't put in.
"But you can't win either."
So after he paid a few bills, he
was back where he stairted - though
with a little less than three stacks of
high society.
Raphael Goodstein wishes Oklahoma
had found a way to win the national
title. He can be reached at

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer
After suffering a heartbreaking 4-
3 loss to Michigan State on Thurs-
day, the Michigan women's tennis
team had to rebound and face the
nation's No. 3 team yesterday.
The Wolverines (1-4 Big Ten, 7-8
overall) took on Wake Forest in
Winston-Salem, N.C. and dropped
their first nonconference match
since February 16, falling to the
Demon Deacons, 6-1. Wake Forest
(3-0 ACC, 17-2) boasts three players
ranked in the top 120 nationally, and
the top doubles team as well.
"I was very proud of the team,"
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said. "I
think they were able to put their dis-
appointment behind them and look
ahead to their next match."
Michigan's lone victory in the
match came at No. 3 singles, as
sophomore Chrissie Nolan defeated
Wake Forest's Maren Haus, 6-3, 6-2.
Nolan has accumulated at record of
5-2 at No. 3 singles this season, and
is tied among Michigan's active
players for winning percentage.
"I didn't feel any pressure," Nolan
said. "I won some crucial games at
the beginning of the first set, and
(the confidence) carried over into
the rest of the match."
The Demon Deacons' Bea Bielik
- the No. 1 singles player in the
nation in singles as well being part-

nered with Janet Bergman on the
top-ranked doubles team - demon-
strated her talent as she and Bergan
breezed past Michigan's No. 1 dou-
bles team of freshmen Michelle
DaCosta and Leanne Rutherford 8-
1. Bielik then defeated sophomore
Kavitha Tipirneni 6-2, 6-1 in singles
"Bielik was outstanding," Ritt
said. "The entire team is solid."
Yesterday was the third match that
junior Jen Duprez sat out due to a
hip injury. She injured her hip dur-
ing the match against Marquette in
her No. 5 singles match, and it is
unclear if she will be ready for this
weekend's action.
Filling in for her at No. 2 doubles
was senior Jen Vaughn, who missed
the beginning of the season with a
hip injury of her own. Although she
has returned to doubles action,
Vaughn has yet to compete in a sin-
gles match.
Michigan wrapped up a two-week
stint away from the Varsity Tennis
Center, playing four road matches in
three different cities. The road has
neither helped nor hindered the
team's performance this season, as
the Wolverines are 3-3 away from
Ann Arbor. This past trip also
resulted in a split record of 2-2. The
Wolverines won twice in Milwaukee
against Marquette and Tulane, but
lost in East Lansing and Winston-

Michigan freshman Michelle DeCosta and her teammates struggled through the
weekend, dropping a 6-1 decision to a tough Wake Forest squad.

"I think we've responded well to
the travel," Ritt said of the longest
stretch away from Ann Arbor this
Michigan returns home this week-
end for three matches at the Varsity
Tennis Center. The Hurricanes of
Miami come to town Friday as the
final nonconference matchup of the
season, and then the Wolverines
resume their Big Ten schedule by

taking on Ohio State and Penn
Despite the team's ninth-place
standing in the Big Ten, Nolan is
optimistic about the rest of the sea-
"We still have half the Big Ten
season left," Nolan said. "I don't
think we should be discouraged
already. We still have all of April, so
we don't need to feel bad about our


Simms, Jazwinski lead Blue at Stanford Invitational

By Reese Ballas
For the Daily
The Michigan women's track team
brought its talent out West this weekend
as it competed in the Stanford Invita-
tional in Palo Alto, Calif. The meet fea-
tured thousands of top high school and
post-collegiate athletes from across the
United States.
Last year, 180 athletes were either
automatically or provisionally qualified
for the Division 1 NCAA Champi-
When asked last week about note-
worthy individual performances expect-
ed for the weekend, Michigan coach

James Henry's predictions served to be
"I'm looking for a strong perform-
ance by Vera Simms," Henry said. "Last
weekend she proved just how strong she
could be, and we're expecting even
more out of her."
Simms, following in her strong per-
formance at the Florida State Relays in
Tallahassee, placed first in the B-sec-
tion long jump.
Henry's foretelling of a strong per-
formance by tri-captain Katie Jazwinksi
also proved to be correct as she landed
a first in the 800-meter. Freshman
Stephanie Hirtle also placed in the top-
three of her event, finishing in the B-

section of the 1500-meter run, finishing
just behind Nikole Moster of Loyola-
Along with the Wolverines, Southern
Cal proved to be a strong contender in
the Invitational, capturing three of the
top five places in the 200-meter. The
Trojans also nailed down first place in
the 100-meter hurdles and second-place
in the 400- 'and 800-meter races.
"Traveling to and competing in these
invitationals are practices and time-
testers for our team," junior April
Phillips said of competing against
strong teams, "Everyone knows what
times they need in order to be competi-
tive in the Big Ten."

Phillips and fellow member of the
field events team, Michelle Bickett,
illustrated that Michigan track is not
only about running by displaying out-
standing performances in Palo Alto.
Bickett scored a pair of provisional
marks in the Elite section of discus,
while April Phillips had a provisional
throw in the shot put.
"I get nervous against the top throw-
ers;' Phillips said. "But if you can beat
them, that is good motivation for
Michigan will need to continue with
its momentum when they head to
Oxford, Ohio next Saturday for the
Miami Invitational.



Resilient 'M' golfers surge too late

By Matt Kramer
Daily Sports Writer
Things were not going so well for the Michigan
men's golf team on Friday night. Just hours
removed from shooting a team total of 302 - 18
shots over par, including an eight-over par 79
from the team's No. 1 player Andrew Chapman
- Michigan found itself sitting in 11th place out
of 20 teams at the Johnny Owens Invitational in
Lexington, Ky.
But like the Wolverines have done so many
times before, they regrouped after their rough
first day to fire consecutive rounds of 285 and
292 to slide into a sixth-place finish yesterday at
the University Club of Kentucky Golf Course.
Michigan's overall score of 879 was 22 shots
behind tournament winner Purdue, but just seven

Carras said that the team's poor start was prob-
ably because the Wolverines had not been able to
practice for two weeks before the tournament due
to the bad weather in Michigan.
Matthews and Chapman were followed by
David Nichols (74-74-75-223) and Scott Carlton
"I was really pleased with the play of David
and Scott," Carras said.."With these guys all
playing well, I really believe we are on the
The tournament was marred by weather prob-
lems. It was scheduled for 36 holes on Friday, fol-
lowed by 18 on Saturday. After playing 24 holes
on Friday, a thunderstorm hit the area and delayed
the completion of the second round. Because of
the delay, Michigan had to get up at 4:15 a.m. on




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