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January 21, 2003 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-21

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SPORTS

UESDNEW

Jr 1, 2003

SECTIONB

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Eleventh

heaven

Cagers keep
rolling, grab
11th straight
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - For the second straight game,
halftime turned out to be the most important 15
minutes of the entire day for the Michigan bas-
ketball team.
After holding Ohio State to a mere 18 points
in the second half of last Wednesday's 61-50
come-from-behind victo-
ry, the Wolverines had MICHIGAN 77
inexplicably allowed
Northwestern - the Big NORTHWESTERN 70
Ten's lowest scoring
team - to put 40 points on the board thanks to
58-percent shooting from the floor in the first
half on Saturday.
Facing a 40-32 deficit at the break, the
Wolverines decided things needed to change.
"We weren't playing Michigan basketball,"
guard Lester Abram said. "That's playing with
toughness and smartness - we had to make a lot
of adjustments in the second half"
Junior Bernard Robinson echoed the senti-
ments.
"We regrouped at halftime and had to get back
to playing the way we've been playing," Robin-
son said. "We recognized a few things they were
doing and tried to get adjustments."
Those adjustments allowed Michigan (4-0 Big
Ten, 11-6 overall) to put a comeback together in
the second half. After Northwestern guard Jitim
Young threw down an alley-oop to give the Wild-
cats their largest lead at 42-32 just seconds into
the second half, Michigan - which now finds
itself in first place in the Big Ten all by itself -
took control.
The Wolverines, led by two 3-pointers from
Abram, quickly erased the Northwestern lead,
posting a 12-3 run over the next tor minutes to
knot the game at 45.
From there, it was just a matter of time until
the Wolverines got a handle on the game, pulling
away from the Wildcats for a 77-70 victory,
Michigan's 11th straight conquest.
"It .was an intense basketball game," Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker said. "I didn't think we
played a particularly good 20 minutes or smart
20 minutes in the first half, but they had a lot to
do with that.
"I thought we really took the bull by the horns
in the second half and played a smarter game and
came with a lot more passion."
Michigan stayed hot after Abram knotted the
game with 15:43 left. Senior LaVell Blanchard's
two free throws gave Michigan the lead at 47-46,
the first lead that the Wolverines had possessed
since a 28-27 advantage in the first half.
Freshman Daniel Horton then, once again,
found the touch that has made him one of the
most talked-about players in the Big Ten this
year.
Horton, who finished the game with 22 points
and five assists, forced a turnover and nailed a 3-
pointer to up the Michigan lead to 57-50. He
then was instrumental in the Wolverines' efforts
to ice the game.
The point guard hit another triple from the
corner after the Wildcats had cut the lead to two
with under eight minutes left. Just moments
later, Horton used an ankle-breaking crossover to
free himself up for yet another 3-pointer, his
See WILDCATS, Page 5B

DANNY MOLOSHOK/ Daily
Junior Stephanie Gandy missed two potential game-winning
free throws, but the Wolverines still won.
Problemsolved
for now'M' gets
conference win
By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
After junior forward Stephanie Gandy missed her pair
of free throws with eight seconds left in Sunday's
matchup against Indiana, it would have been easy for the
Michigan women's basketball
team to hang its head and figure INDIANA 77
that fate was against it. The 71-
68 lead did not appear very safe MK'HIGAN 70
against Hoosiers freshman
Cyndi Valentin, who was already 4-6 from behind the arc
in the game and finished with 21 points.
But disappointment was not the feeling in the final
huddle, and some tough defense forced the final Valentin
three wide, securing the Wolverines' first conference
victory.
"I wasn't worried," Michigan senior LeeAnn Bies said.
"I think we stayed confident the whole game and that
was a major factor in our win.
Michigan's first Big Ten win was a relief for a strug-
gling team, but it did not come without its share of mis-
cues. The Wolverines nearly surrendered an early second
half lead of 16 points thanks to their propensity to cough
up the ball. Their 28 turnovers was the second-highest
total this season, allowing the Hoosiers to chip away and
finally make a sloppy game competitive in the final min-
utes.
The difference in the game may have come from the
Wolverines' ability to finally work the ball down low to
Bies and junior Jennifer Smith, a facet of their game that
had been lacking in their three-game losing streak. Bies
led the way with 19 points off the bench, while Smith
contributed 12.
Michigan also got a helping hand from senior forward
Raina Goodlow, who knocked down the first two buckets
for the Wolverines with Bies on the bench and finished
with nine points.
"Between (Bies), Jennifer Smith and Raina Goodlow,
they did a nice job of looking for each other," Michigan
coach Sue Guevara said. "We worked on the high-low
(offense) and the double team all week."
The bruising inside game drew 25 fouls from Indiana.
Center Angela Hawkins fouled out at the 8:29 mark, fol-
lowed by forward Brigett Branson with 1:53 left.
See HOOSIERS, Page 3B

DAVID KATZ/Daily
Michigan freshman Daniel Hunter avoids the block of Northwestern's Jason Burke In the Wolverines' 77-70 win over the
Wildcats. The win was the 11th straight for Michigan, which now stands alone atop the conference standings.
Frosh Hunter developing at right time

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer

EVANSTON - With 11 minutes
left in the second half of Saturday's
game against Northwestern, Michi-
gan freshman Chris Hunter drove
baseline, pumped once, then laid the
ball in with a reverse layup. Not bad
for a 6-foot-11 center.
"I just tried to avoid the defense,"
Hunter said. "(The defender) had a
good shot at blocking my shot. So I
just had to scoop it under and use
the rim to protect the ball."
The impressive drive showed the
promise the Wolverines have been
looking for from their young center
this season.

Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
has been pleased with Hunter's
progress over the last few weeks.
After a slow beginning in which
Hunter lost the starting spot to Gra-
ham Brown, Hunter has come on
strong recently.
"I think with all our freshman play-
ers you've seen them becoming more
confident and comfortable," Amaker
said. "And I think Chris is probably as
big of a statement we can say as for
how our freshman players have devel-
oped and come along."
Hunter's combination of power
and finesse has come as no surprise
to Amaker.
"We've always known him to be a
kid who is fairly skilled for his size,"

Amaker said. "He is a very agile
player for that size."
Hunter's ability to score extends
beyond the area around the basket.
The big man is able to play facing
the basket and square up for the
mid-range jump shot.
Northwestern did not respect
Hunter's ability to shoot the ball, and
he was able to get good looks from
outside the lane. A gifted athlete,
Hunter's versatility is due in part to
the amount of practice he puts in and
his coaching.
"My versatility comes from high
school," Hunter said. "My high
school coaches made me do all the
drills, the big man drills and the
See HUNTER, Page 5B

Michigan extends its conference streak to 40

The Mysterious Driver

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
Call them the walking wound-
ed. Call them the second coming
of the cardiac kids. Heck, you
could even call them what they
really are: Undefeated.
On Friday the No. 7 Michigan
women's gymnastics team con-
tinued its dominance in the Big
Ten with a win over No. 12 Min-
nesota, outscoring the Gophers
194.7-191.85. The win extended
the Wolverines record-setting Big
Ten winning streak to an incredi-
ble 40 straight meets.
It marks the second straight
win for the Wolverines, who con-
tinue to leave other Big Ten
teams in their dust.
But as impressive as the streak
may be, it is even more mind-
boggling if you consider that

has had to do all season. Sopho-
more Lauren Mirkovich, who last
year participated in one meet
before tearing her ACL, captured
her first individual title by win-
ning the uneven bars with a score
of 9.850. In addition, sophomore
Kallie Steffes, who had been out
because of shoulder surgery
since the beginning of the sea-
son, scored a 9.7 on vault in her
first event this season.
"I'm so excited that they're
back," senior captain Janessa
Grieco said. "I've watched them
struggle. Lauren, she had a rough
freshman year, so it was
absolutely wonderful to see her
do great on bars."'
"It felt very good," Mirkovich
said. "It was very exciting. It's
definitely a confidence booster
for me to come out and hit my
routines."

really tough to sit and watch on
the sidelines (last year)."
Grieco did not do too shabby
herself, capturing the all-around
title with a personal-best score
of 39.275 and also winning the
beam with a score of 9.825.
"It was very exciting, you
know, being my senior year it
meant a lot, especially in front of
a home crowd," Grieco said. "But
more importantly than an all-
around victory was our team
doing great again. We've got
very limited numbers right now,
so I'm really proud of everyone
on this team."
Said Michigan coach Bev Ploc-
ki: "I would expect (junior) Calli
Ryals and Janessa (Grieco) to be
our leaders out there, and then
have Jenny (Deiley) jump (in)
every now and again when she has
a great meet and be in that pack of
41~ro ' f nll --A JT - - - -

Don't think you know Lloyd Carr? He's the football coach for one of the
most recognizable and scrutinzed programs in the nation, yet he seems
to find himself off the radar.
For an in depth look at the man who roams the sidelines at the Big
House. flip to the back.

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