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January 29, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-29

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Carney providing 'M' with Horton-like leadership

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer
Since her first collegiate start 16 days ago, fresh-
man point guard Rachael Carney has been the spark
the Michigan women's basketball team needed.
After contributing a total of just 90 minutes over the
course of the team's first 13 games, Carney has played
94 minutes over the last four, starting every game.
Michigan has gone 2-2 over that span, with the two
losses coming against No. 12 Purdue and No. 13 Penn
State - third and second in the Big Ten, respectively.
Like Carney's minutes, her confidence running the
point has also been soaring.
"At the beginning of the season, I was a little nerv-
ous coming in as a freshman," Carney said. "But now
I've gotten to know the team, I've gotten more com-
fortable with the girls and being on the court."
For a freshman, Carney has tremendous poise. And
she needed it most during her first career start, which
came in West Lafayette - home to one of the rowdi-
est basketball crowds in the country at Mackey Arena.

"Making her first start in front of 11,000 people and
holding her own mentally, I thought was a big sign,"
Michigan coach Sue Guevara said.
Since then, Carney has left her mark on the team,
contributing more than the box score gives her credit
for. Sure, she has compiled 14 assists and 11 steals
over the past four games, but Carney's true contribu-
tion has been her leadership.
Whether the Wolverines need to be calmed down
or fired up, Carney has been there to keep the team
in line.
"She has been very vocal," Guevara said: "She has
been, I think, able to get the respect of the other play-
ers on the team, and I think that helps (her leadership)
Carney's leadership was evident before she even set
foot on Michigan's campus. During her junior and
senior seasons at Powers Catholic High School in
Flint, she led her team to Class B state championships.
Guevara has gone so far as to compare Carney's
leadership to that of another Michigan freshman -
men's point guard Daniel Horton.

"You look at a Daniel Horton, and how Daniel has
really emerged," Guevara said, "And I think you need
your point guard to be that way.
"Your point guard has got to be the floor general."
Carney showed her ability to direct the team Sunday
in Michigan's heartbreaking 72-70 loss to Penn State.
She finished the game with a career-high seven points
and tied another career-high with five assists. At the
top of Michigan's zone defense, Carney was effective
with her active hands and feet, reaching in and knock-
ing the ball loose en route to her four steals.
Her 3-pointer with 4:25 to go in the game - the
only one thus far in her career - pulled Michigan to
within one point before its eventual loss.
"I haven't scored too many points so far in my
career," Carney said. "They were just kind of playing
off me a little bit, so the shot was there, and it went in."
If Carney can continue to improve her scoring pro-
duction - she went without a point in two of her first
three starts before pitching in seven on Sunday - she
may be able to give Michigan the lift it will need
against Michigan State and Wisconsin later this week.

Rachael Carney has taken hold of the point guard spot for Michigan, playing 94
minutes over the last four games, all of which she started.

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Blue ends
curse in
By Jake Rosenwasser
Daily Sports Writer
After a 4-3 loss to Tennessee on Sun-
day, the Michigan women's tennis team
could have easily given up on its
extremely challenging road trip. Instead,
the Wolverines kept on pushing and
came away with a big upset win on
The 37th-ranked Wolverines edged
No. 14 Kentucky 4-3 in a highly com-
petitive match in Lexington. Things
looked bleak for Michigan after falling
behind 2-0, dropping the doubles point
and the first singles point rather quickly.
But instead of packing it in, the Wolver-
ines stormed back against the talented
Wildcats. Michigan took four of the
next five matches - all in three sets -
to take the competition.
Michigan No. 2 singles player
Kavitha Tipirneni found herself down 3-
0 in the third set to Nathalie Roels, the
No. 48 player in the country. Tipirneni
started Michigan's remarkable come-
back by winning the last set 7-5.
"Kavitha really stuck to her game,"
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said. "She
knew what this match meant for the
After Tipirneni's victory, teammate
Chrissie Nolan evened the match with
a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Jill Buckley.
With this win, Michigan was back
from the dead.
Leanne Rutherford then upped her
dual match record to 4-0 and added to
the Wolverines' momentum with yet
another three-set win. Her 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
win over Amy Trefethen gave Michigan a
3-2 match lead in the team competition.
The match that clinched the win for
Michigan was at No. 5 singles. With the
team watching and rooting her on, Kim
Plaushines delivered with an exciting 6-
4, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Shannon
"Players try not to focus on the team
score during individual matches," Ritt
said. "But (Plaushines) knew.that the
match was on the line. Kentucky is a
very emotional team, and it was hard
not realize the magnitude of her match."
This win was an even bigger upset
because of how poorly Michigan has
faired against the SEC and Kentucky in
the past. With the win, Michigan upped
its record to 4-20 against the SEC. The
Wolverines also ended a six-match los-
ing streak to the Wildcats, which includ-
ed losses in each of the past five
Continued from Page 8
sports, but rather by average score, and
Alabama's 196.856 is second only to the
score of No. 1 Utah, which is 196.900.
The Tide are led by junior Jeana Rice,
who is currently the No. 2 all-around
gymnast nationally. There are also sev-
eral other gymnasts who are All-Ameri-
cans this year in Alabama's lineup.
"Alabama is a fantastic team," Plocki
said. "They've scored 197's on several
occasions already this year. They're
going to be one of the nation's premier
teams. Right now we don't have a line-
up that, I think, if they hit, is going to be
able to overtake them."
Plocki's comments touch upon what
seems to be an early theme for this
year's group of Wolverines. Having

already competed in two of its first
three without five scholarship athletes,
it's no wonder that Plocki is unsure of
what will happen this weekend.
The Wolverines have missed junior
Elise Ray most this season. Ray, the
defending national champion on beam
and U.S. Olympic team member in
2000, adds another dimension to the
Wolverines' arsenal. Plocki hinted that
Ray might be back sooner than people
think after going through two beam rou-
tines in practice on Monday.




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